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The single biggest jackpot every offered in American lottery history was offered by the American Powerball game in February, 2006 – an unbelievable $365,000,000. But where did the Powerball game originate? Was it always called Powerball? The answer to the first question is actually a world away – the Powerball concept was first created in Australia and was imported to the United States later on.

The second question is also interesting in that the Powerball game was originally called Lotto America since it was to be a national lottery game rather than a local, state lottery game (most lotteries in the United States are run by local, state sanctioned authorities rather than by a national organization). A new organization, the Multi State Lottery Association, was set up to run the Powerball Lottery game and states were invited to become members of it back in 1988. It took a few years, but today, most Americans are able to purchase tickets for the Powerball game since it’s sold in 44 states and the District of Columbia.

Game Type

Powerball was one of the first lottery games to create a double matrix style lottery game. In essence, the way it works is that you pick 5 numbers out of a pool of 59 possible choices. Then, you pick a secondary power ball which is chosen from a pool of 39 possible choices. In order to win the jackpot, you need to guess all five numbers plus the power ball number correctly.

Power Play

A secondary game, sold together with the Powerball ticket is the Power Play game, which does not involve picking numbers. Instead, it works kind of like a raffle game in that a number is automatically picked for you and if your number comes up, you win a secondary prize.

Secondary Prizes

Speaking of secondary prizes, there are a number of such prizes in the Powerball game, including 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th prizes for getting various combinations of the numbers correct.

How to Play

The Powerball game was initially open only to American citizens in the states where it was sold, however, today it is open to anyone over the age of 18 who would like to purchase a ticket. You don’t even have to physically go to the United States to do so since the tickets are sold online through a number of sites which specialize in selling lottery tickets.

Odds of Winning

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 195,249,054. However, the odds of winning the second prize are much more reasonable – 1 in 5,138,133. The odds of winning the third prize are 1 in 723,145 and the odds of winning the fourth prize are 1 in 19,301. 5th prize odds are 1 in 13,645 and 6th place odds are 1 in 360. 7th place odds of winning the Powerball game are 1 in 360, 8th place odds are 1 in 788 and 9th place odds are 1 124.


Game information
Game type 1/59 + 1/39 PB
Schedule Wen 11:00 pm, Sat 11:00 pm
Jackpot type jackpot paid in 29 annual installments
Cash option About 50.00%
Taxes About 36.00%
Participating Arizona , Arkansas , Colorado , Connecticut , Delaware , Florida , Georgia , Idaho , Illinois , Indiana , Iowa , Kansas , Kentucky , Louisiana , Maine , Maryland , Massachusetts , Michigan , Minnesota , Missouri , Montana , Nebraska , New Hampshire , New Jersey , New Mexico , New York , North Carolina , North Dakota , Oklahoma , Oregon , Pennsylvania , Rhode Island , South Carolina , South Dakota , Tennessee , Texas , Vermont , Virginia , Virgin Islands , Washington , Washington, D.C. , West Virginia , Wisconsin , U.S.A.
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