Powerball is an American lottery game offered by 44 states, along with Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands. The game is not available in 6 states. Launched in 1992, Powerball was the first of its kind because the game is played by using two machines, as opposed to other lottery games that only use one device. To play Powerball, hopeful players pay either $2 or $3 to select five numbers from a set of 69 white balls and 26 red “Powerballs.” Drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 p.m. EST. The winning numbers are selected from the two identical machines, one containing the white balls, with the other providing the red balls.
Payouts for Powerball are higher than the average lottery, ranging from $40 million to $1.586 billion, the record for the largest lottery jackpot in history, set on January 13, 2016. This payout was split by three fortunate winners in California, Tennessee, and Florida. These winners beat the odds – the average odds of winning Powerball are 1 in over 292 billion. Winners have the option to receive their payout in two ways: they can either receive 30 payments over 29 years, or a lump sum, which provides the winner with the instant gratification of winning, but they end up taking home less money at the end of the day as this amount is subject to the state tax.
As stated earlier, the game is not available in six states. Nevada does not have any lotteries, as it is a strictly gaming state. Alabama formally does not participate in any lotteries as it is in the Bible Belt. However, recent efforts have been made to allow residents to vote for a lottery, as many go to border states to play. Mississippi has seen an increase in casino-style gaming in cities like Gulfport and Biloxi. Utah was founded in Mormonism, and its state constitution bans all forms of gambling, but many residents buy tickets along the border with Wyoming and Idaho. Alaska is sparsely populated, so there is a concern that a lottery would not pay off. However, smaller gaming options, like bingo and dog mushers’ contests, are readily available. Hawaii has the same problem as Alaska. Lawmakers have often proposed a lottery, but the idea always fails. There is no state lottery allowed on the island.
However, even states where Powerball is played can be unlucky. Not all states have ever had a winner, including Maine, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming. With over 10 percent (or 39) of all Powerball winners, Indiana has been home to the most winners. Missouri has the second-highest number of winners (31), with over 8 percent.