Powerball was launched in 1988 as Lotto America. It was renamed Powerball on 19th April 1992 and the first official Powerball draw was held on 22nd April. When it was launched it became the first game to use two drums which meant it offered more manipulation by simultaneously allowing high jackpot odds and numerous prize levels. Since Powerball’s use of two drums, this system has also been adopted by Mega Millions as well as Australia’s Powerball, and the UK’s Thunderball, Eurojackpot and EuroMillions. On 2nd November 1997, the annuity payout option was changed from 20 to 25 annual payments and the cash payout option was added. The annuity now comprises of 30 gradual payments, increasing by 5% annually.
America’s Powerball is played by selecting five numbers from a pool of 69 white balls and one number from a pool of 26 red Powerballs. You may choose your own numbers or allow the terminal to randomly select for you via a “quick pick” or “easy pick” option. It costs $2 for a regular ticket and $3 if you’d like to activate the Power Play option. Power Play multiplies lower-tier winnings of $50 000 or less by up to 5, or 10 if the jackpot is under $150 million. If Power Play is activated then the 5+0 prize is automatically doubled to $2 million. The dilemma here is to choose whether to increase your lower-tier winnings or maximize your chance at the jackpot. Jackpots start at a guaranteed $40 million.
Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.
Over the years Powerball has seen some of the biggest wins in lotto history with the biggest win being a $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot on the 13th January 2016. Here are the top 5 biggest Powerball jackpot winners:
- $1.586 billion
Won on the 13th January 2016 by three lucky ticket holders – John and Lisa Robinson from Tennessee, Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt in Florida, and Marvin and Mae Acosta in California. They had the option of choosing $533 million before taxes as an annuity or a lump-sum payment of $327.8 million
- $758.7 million
Won in August 2017 by Mavis L. Wanczyk, a 53 year old clerical worker from the nursing department at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield. She took the cash payout of $480.5 million.
- $590.5 million
Won on 18th May 2013 by Gloria MacKenzie, an 84 year old woman from Zephyrhills in Florida. She too opted for the cash payout and walked away with $370.8 million.
- $587.5 million
Won on 28th November 2012 by two ticket holders – Matthew Good from Arizona, and Mark and Cindy Hill from Missouri. Both winners opted to take the pre-tax cash option of $192.3 million.
- $564.1 million
Won on 11th February 2015 and another three-way-split win between Marie Holmes, a single mother from North Carolina; an anonymous citizen in Puerto Rico, and an anonymous trust in Texas.
Powerball has made many, many millionaires with some of the biggest jackpots in lotto history. Go on, enter now to stand a chance of becoming one of the biggest Powerball Jackpot winners!
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