Powerball is one of America’s biggest lottery games, both in terms of jackpots and geographic footprint. With tickets sold in 48 jurisdictions and a starting jackpot of $40 million, Powerball is famous for its quickly growing jackpots that routinely dip into the hundreds of millions of dollars if not $1 billion plus.
Today, Powerball is sold in 45 US states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The only states that do not sell Powerball tickets are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah.
Lottery players in some states can play Powerball online while players in the rest of the country can purchase tickets at any authorized retailer for $2.00 per play. Drawings are held twice a week and the jackpot grows by at least $10 million every drawing until there is a winner.
Note: Powerball reduced its starting jackpot to $20 million with a mandatory $2 million rollover in April 2020 for the duration of the Coronavirus pandemic to ensure all prize levels are properly funded amid decreased ticket sales.
- Ticket price: $2.00 + $1.00 for the optional Power Play feature
- Starting jackpot: $40 million
- Record jackpot: $1.585 billion (2016)
- Jackpot odds: 1 in 292.2 million
- Any prize odds: 1 in 24.9
- Can play Powerball in: 45 states, DC, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands
- Powerball Drawings: Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 PM ET
How to Buy Powerball Online
A growing number of states are turning to the internet to boost lottery sales amid changing demographics that value convenience. Currently, there are two major avenues by which players in some states may buy Powerball tickets online.
Straight from the Source
In some states, players may buy Powerball online directly from the state lottery. Players located in the following states may purchase Powerball tickets from the state lottery’s website or through its official mobile app.
|State||Minimum Purchase||Payment Methods|
|Georgia||1 ticket / $2.00||Debit card, ACH and PayPal|
|Illinois||1 ticket / $2.00||Debit or credit card|
|Kentucky||1 ticket / $2.00||Credit card, debit card or iGift/iFunds purchases made in-person at a retailer|
|Michigan||1 ticket / $2.00||Credit card, debit card, PayPal, ACH or online game card purchased in-person|
|North Carolina||1 ticket / $2.00||Debit card, ACH and PayPal|
|North Dakota||1 ticket / $2.00||Debit card, credit card and ACH|
|New Hampshire||1 ticket / $2.00||Debit card, ACH and PayPal|
|Pennsylvania||1 ticket / $2.00||Debit card, credit card, ACH, PayPal, Play+ prepaid card, PayNearMe and WebCash|
|Virginia||1 ticket / $2.00||Debit card, ACH and PayPal|
|Maine||26 drawings (13 weeks) / $52.00||Check or money order by mail|
|Maryland||26 drawings (13 weeks) / $52.00||Check or money order by mail|
Buy Online Through the Jackpocket App
A handful of states that have not yet launched their own online lottery platforms are served by the Jackpocket app for iOS and Android. Jackpocket is a US-based company that purchases tickets on behalf of players in a growing number of jurisdictions:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Washington, DC
Note: Unlike some unauthorized, offshore websites that purport to sell lottery tickets online, Jackpocket works with regulators in various states to ensure compliance with all state laws. For example, the NJ Lottery considers Jackpocket a “regulated courier service.”
Jackpocket does not add a premium to ticket sales nor does it keep a percentage of players’ winnings. All tickets purchased through Jackpocket are priced the same as if they were purchased in-person from an authorized retailer and all prizes are paid in full. Jackpocket instead charges a small fee on deposits, which is always disclosed up front.
Powerball is a simple draw game with nine prize levels ranging from $4 to $2 million plus the progressive jackpot.
Tickets cost $2.00 plus an additional $1.00 to activate the optional Power Play feature. Upon purchase, players select five numbers from 1 to 69 that correspond to the white balls and one number from 1 to 26 that corresponds to the red Powerball.
Players may also choose to let the lottery terminal pick numbers at random on their behalf.
Power Play Feature
Players who elect to purchase the Power Play feature for an additional $1.00 per ticket qualify for enhanced prizes at the drawing. At the beginning of each Power Ball drawing, a multiplier of 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x or 10x is drawn at random and multiplies all non-jackpot prizes by the corresponding amount.
For example, if a 10x multiplier is drawn, a player who matches the Powerball only would win $40 instead of the standard $4 prize.
Note: The 10x multiplier option is only in play when the advertised jackpot is $150 million or less and the Match 5 payout with Power Play is always $2 million.
Powerball drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 PM ET.
In each drawing, Powerball draws five white balls numbered 1-69 at random from one drum and one red Powerball numbered 1-26 from the other drum.
A multiplier of 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x or 10x is also randomly selecting during each drawing for players who purchased the Power Play feature.
Powerball prizes are determined by the number of matches on each player’s ticket and range from $4 for matching the red Powerball number only up to the grand prize jackpot for matching all five white numbers and the red Powerball number.
|$1 Million||$2 Million||$2 Million||$2 Million||$2 Million||$2 Million|
Odds of Winning
|Matches||Prize||Odds of Winning|
|Grand Prize||1 in 292,201,338.00|
|$1 Million||1 in 11,688,053.52|
|$50,000||1 in 913,129.18|
|$100||1 in 36,525.17|
|$100||1 in 14,494.11|
|$7||1 in 579.76|
|$7||1 in 701.33|
|$4||1 in 91.98|
|$4||1 in 38.32|
|Odds of winning any prize||1 in 24.87|
Annuity vs. Lump Sum Payout
Powerball jackpot winners have the choice of receiving their prize as an annuity paid out over a course of 30 years or as a one-time, lump sum payment.
Anyone fortunate enough to be facing this decision should speak to a qualified financial advisor as the choice has major tax, legal and practical implications.
Winners who choose the annuity payout option receive are paid in 30 payments over a course of 29 years, beginning with an immediate initial payment. Each annual payment thereafter increases by 5%.
When this option is chosen, Powerball invests the entire cash value into various government-backed securities to secure payments for the next 29 years.
The advertised value of each jackpot is calculated based on interest rates and the expected return from the annuity option. Thus, choosing the annuity option results in the winner receiving a bigger payout than he or she would have received with the lump sum option but paid over a much longer time frame.
If the winner dies before the annuity has been paid, the remaining payments go to the winner’s estate or heirs.
Lump Sum Payout
Winners who choose the cash option receive an immediate lump sum payment. Choosing the lump sum payment option results in a payout that is significantly smaller than the advertised jackpot amount because the amount that would have been invested in interest-bearing securities with the annuity option is instead paid to the winner all at once.
The lump-sum option gives winners more control over their money, including the freedom to (potentially) invest in higher-yield investments. However, stories abound of lottery jackpot winners going bankrupt just a few years later due to poor money management.
Powerball Numbers and Results
Powerball numbers are drawn twice a week (Wed & Sat at 10:59 PM ET) and results are published immediately. Players can view the numbers from the latest drawing at the official website here:
Players may also view past Powerball results at the same website linked to above. Just select a start date and an end date to view results from a specific drawing or from all drawings held over the selected date range.
States Where Powerball Tickets Are Sold
Lottery players may buy Powerball in 45 US states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
In some states, players may buy Powerball online from the official website or through the Jackpocket app (scroll up for more on that). However, in most states today, Powerball tickets are only sold in-person through authorized retailers.
The full list of jurisdictions in which Powerball is sold:
- District of Columbia
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- US Virgin Islands
- West Virginia
Powerball Jackpot Records
Unlike many lotteries, Powerball is subject to no rollover limit or jackpot cap. If a drawing is held and no one is able to match all five numbers plus the Powerball number, the top prize rolls over to the next drawing, and to the next after that until someone hits the jackpot.
Occasionally, by random chance, enough drawings come and go without a winner that the jackpot reaches new heights. Thus begins the positive feedback loop in which news coverage of the record jackpot initiates a buying frenzy, which in turn spurs even more ticket sales and even more press as the looming jackpot balloons out of control.
This continues until some lucky winner makes the perfect pick and a new record Powerball payout is set. Sometimes, the jackpot is paid entirely to a single winner and sometimes multiple people just happen to pick the same winning numbers to split the jackpot equally. In all cases, the end result is a massive payout.
Here’s a look at the 10 biggest Powerball jackpots of all time:
|Jackpot Amount||Drawing Date||Winning Numbers|
|$1.585 Billion||13 January 2016||4-8-19-27-34 (10)|
|$768.4 Million||27 March 2019||16-20-37-44-62 (12)|
|$758.7 Million||23 August 2017||6-7-16-23-26 (4)|
|$687.8 Million||27 October 2018||8-12-13-19-27 (4)|
|$590.5 Million||18 May 2013||10-13-14-22-52 (11)|
|$587.5 Million||28 November 2012||5-16-22-23-29 (6)|
|$564.1 Million||11 February 2015||11-13-25-39-54 (19)|
|$559.7 Million||6 January 2018||12-29-30-33-61 (26)|
|$488 Million||7 August 2013||5-25-30-58-59 (32)|
|$487 Million||30 July 2016||11-17-21-23-32 (5)|
Wes Burns is a co-founder of USLottery.com, bringing his nearly 15 years of expertise in the gambling industry as an author, researcher, journalist, and analyst to the US lottery market.