When looking at high-paying games to play in the lottery, the shear excitement of watching the powerball numbers being chosen easily makes it one of the most popular games available. Since it’s inception, Powerball has been one of the most popular games to play. The constant modifications have created an exciting and entertaining experience for the players, causing the game to have some of the highest recorded jackpots ever.
The Powerball game began in 1992. When it first came out, Powerball was the first game to utilize two drums for drawing the powerball numbers. Using the two drums does a few things. It offers more manipulation, and simultaneously allows for high jackpot odds, numerous prize levels, and lower overall odds of winning. The two drum idea was created by Steve Caputo of the Oregon Lottery and has since been copied by games such as mega millions, Australia’s Powerball, and Thunderball in the United Kingdom.
Prior to 2008, powerball numbers were drawn in West Des Moines, Iowa by longtime radio personality Mike Pace. In 1996 powerball numbers were drawn at the Atlanta Olympic games, marking the first time they had been drawn anywhere else.
Powerball is played much like Mega Millions. The game costs each player a $2 bet with the option of adding the PowerPlay for an extra $1. In each game a player chooses five numbers from a set of 59 white balls, and one number from 35 red Powerballs. Much like Mega Millions, players can choose their own numbers, or have the lottery vendor randomly choose numbers for them, often called a “quick pick” or “easy pick”. Choosing their own numbers is part of the fun for many players because each person brings their own superstitions into it. Many people like to play “their numbers” in the hopes that eventually these numbers will bring them some sort of luck.
The power play option was introduced to the game in 2001. This option, which costs each player an additional $1, allows for players to multiply their winnings. The multiplier does not apply to games that have won the jackpot, or all 6 numbers matching. Prior to January 2012, power play prizes were determined by a random multiplier. Since the change, there are now eight lower-tier levels having “fixed” power play prizes.
The overall odds of winning anything with Powerball is roughly 1 out of every 32 games played. All of the non-jackpot prizes are fixed amounts. The secondary prizes are all paid out by each participating lottery. In other words, if you buy a ticket in a state that you don’t live it, and it is a winning ticket of a secondary prize (meaning anything other than the jackpot), then you must claim your prize from that state where the ticket was purchased. Taxes also apply to any winnings so it is important to beware of the tax laws from each participating state before playing the game. Powerball winnings in Delaware, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia are only subject to federal income tax. While there are no state income taxes in Florida, Texas, or Washington, winning games from other states will be subject to their specific state tax laws (with possible credit for taxes paid to one’s own jurisdiction, or vice versa).
While Powerball is an immensely popular lottery game for its players, it is important to remember that it is a form of gambling and should be treated as such. Only responsible adults should participate in Powerball or any other lottery game, and should know the rules, odds of winning, tax laws, and payout information before playing.