Powerball Offers Long Odds, But Big Wins

Powerball is a lottery game originally developed in the United States of America, but which is now available under that name in several other countries, including Australia and South Africa. There are also lottery variations in a number of countries that are not called “Powerball”, but which nevertheless use the Powerball format or one very similar to it, like Germany’s “6 of 49” national lottery. Standard lotteries require players to match the numbers they have bet on against balls drawn randomly from a barrel containing anything from 35 to 49 balls; six matching numbers are generally required to win the Division 1 jackpot. US Powerball, on the other hand, only pays out the top jackpot if players match five numbers drawn from a pool of 69 white balls, and one number drawn from a barrel of 36 “powerballs”.

Quite obviously, the odds against an exact match to win the Division 1 jackpot are much higher, and this is reflected in the enormous prizes that Powerball pays out to those rare winners. South Africa’s highest Powerball payout to date has been ZAR 91-million (about US$7-million), while the biggest Australian Powerball jackpot was AU$80-million (around US$59-million), in 2009. US Powerball, on the other hand, had a record win of more than US$590million, in 2013.

Powerball Availability

US Powerball is sold in 44 US states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Depending on their registered home base, a number of online casinos are also able to offer US Powerball to players worldwide, subject to local online gambling regulations. The six US states in which Powerball cannot be played are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah. US players are also subject to the gambling and tax regulations of their specific state, which may affect their payouts.

In Australia and South Africa, for example, the Division 1 Powerball jackpots are paid immediately, in full, as a lump sum. This is not possible in the USA; if a player wants to be paid the full amount of the Division 1 jackpot, they can receive it only as an annuity over 30 instalments. This is to help prevent people with little experience in managing large amounts of money, which have suddenly become very rich, blowing their entire fortune on reckless spending. If the player prefers a lump-sum payment, the amount will be reduced to a sum calculated, if it is invested wisely over 30 years, to grow to the equivalent of the full First Division jackpot.

The choice the winner makes will also depend on local regulations. For example, Florida does not levy personal income tax, so the Florida winner of the 2013 record jackpot chose to receive around US$371-million in a lump sum to invest herself, rather than the US$590-million paid as an annuity.

Two Powerball Chances per Week

The US Powerball is drawn twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, in Tallahassee, Florida. At US$2.00 per line bet, it’s affordable to most players. Keen lottery fans can play relatively modest stakes and never miss a draw, all the time standing the chance to win a truly life-changing jackpot.