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Can Puerto Ricans play Powerball?

Can Puerto Ricans Play Powerball?

Puerto Ricans are not able to purchase Powerball tickets or claim Powerball prizes won on tickets purchased in Puerto Rico. This is because the U.S. territory is not among the 45 participating lottery jurisdictions that sell Powerball tickets. However, Puerto Ricans can play Powerball if they purchase tickets while visiting or living in one of the participating U.S. states, Washington D.C. or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Powerball Overview

Powerball is an American multi-state lottery game operated by 45 state lotteries, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It was introduced in 1992 originally under the name Lotto America. Powerball jackpots start at $40 million and roll over if there is no jackpot winner. Players win cash prizes by matching numbers on their ticket to the winning numbers drawn. The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 292 million.

Here is an overview of how the Powerball lottery works:

Gameplay Players select 5 white ball numbers from 1-69 and 1 red Powerball number from 1-26. Tickets cost $2 per play.
Drawings Drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 p.m. ET.
Jackpot Starts at $40 million and continues rolling over until there is a winner. Cash value option available.
Prize Tiers
  • Match 5 white + Powerball – Grand prize jackpot
  • Match 5 white only – $1 million fixed prize
  • Match 4 white + Powerball – $50,000
  • Match 4 white only – $100
  • Match 3 white + Powerball – $100
  • Match 3 white only – $7
  • Match 2 white + Powerball – $7
  • Match 1 white + Powerball – $4
  • Match Powerball only – $4
Odds of Winning
  • Grand prize: 1 in 292,201,338
  • $1 million: 1 in 11,688,053.52
  • $50,000: 1 in 913,129.18
  • $100: 1 in 36,525.17
  • $7: 1 in 579.76
  • $4: 1 in 91.98

As you can see, Powerball offers huge jackpot prizes but very challenging odds of taking home the top prize. Lower tier prizes provide better chances of winning smaller amounts. Next, we’ll take a look at where Powerball is available.

Where Can You Play Powerball?

Powerball tickets can be purchased in 45 U.S. states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The participating jurisdictions are:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • US Virgin Islands
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

The 5 U.S. states that do not participate are: Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah. And now, on to the big question…

Can Puerto Ricans Play Powerball?

Puerto Rico is listed among the official Powerball participating jurisdictions. However, Puerto Ricans who purchase tickets in Puerto Rico are not eligible to win Powerball prizes. Only tickets sold in the United States can win prizes. The Puerto Rico lottery includes Powerball drawings in their games for entertainment purposes only.

Here is a summary:

Can Puerto Ricans purchase Powerball tickets in Puerto Rico? Yes
Can Powerball tickets purchased in Puerto Rico win prizes? No
Can Puerto Ricans purchase Powerball tickets in the U.S.? Yes
Can Powerball tickets purchased by Puerto Ricans in the U.S. win prizes? Yes

So in summary, while Puerto Rico sells Powerball tickets, prizes can only be won on tickets purchased in the United States. Puerto Ricans can purchase tickets and claim prizes if they buy tickets while visiting or living in the U.S. states, Washington D.C. or U.S. Virgin Islands.

Reasons Puerto Rico Powerball Tickets Cannot Win Prizes

There are two main reasons why Powerball tickets sold in Puerto Rico cannot win prizes:

  1. Powerball rules restrict prizes to tickets sold in the U.S. – The official game rules and legislation governing Powerball explicitly state that to be eligible for prizes, players must purchase tickets from a licensed lottery retailer located in one of the participating U.S. jurisdictions. Puerto Rico does not qualify as a U.S. jurisdiction for this purpose.
  2. No contribution to prize pool – Puerto Rico does not contribute ticket sales revenue to the Powerball prize pool. Only participating lotteries that contribute to the prize pool can pay out prize money to winners in their jurisdiction. Puerto Rico does not contribute any money, therefore cannot pay prizes.

In order for Puerto Rico lottery players to have a chance at winning Powerball jackpots, Puerto Rico would need to become a participating U.S. lottery jurisdiction. This would require changes to federal laws and lottery legislation. There are currently no official plans for Puerto Rico to start contributing to the game.

Puerto Rico Lottery Power Play Option

Although Puerto Rico Powerball tickets cannot win prizes, the Puerto Rico lottery does offer players a “Power Play” option similar to the Power Play add-on in the U.S. version.

The Puerto Rico Power Play costs an extra $1 per ticket. It can increase non-jackpot prize amounts by 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, or 10x.

For example, matching 4 white balls plus the Powerball normally wins $50,000. If the 4x Power Play multiplier applies, the prize would increase to $200,000.

The Power Play multiplier only applies to prizes below the jackpot level. It does not increase the jackpot amount.

While the Puerto Rico Power Play can boost prizes, those prize amounts are nominal because Puerto Rico players cannot actually win Powerball prizes. The Power Play is simply an extra component for entertainment purposes.

Where Can Puerto Ricans Legally Purchase Powerball Tickets?

Although Puerto Ricans can’t play Powerball in Puerto Rico, they do have the option of legally purchasing tickets while visiting or living in the United States or U.S. Virgin Islands.

The easiest option is likely to buy tickets while traveling to or temporarily staying in the U.S. mainland. There are over 44,000 Powerball retailers located in convenience stores, gas stations, grocery stores and more in the participating jurisdictions.

Options include:

  • Visiting the U.S. mainland – Puerto Ricans can purchase Powerball tickets while vacationing, traveling for work, or visiting relatives.
  • Temporarily living in the U.S. – Those staying for an extended time for school, work, or other reasons can buy tickets in their state of residence.
  • Permanent U.S. residents – Puerto Ricans who establish permanent U.S. residency in one of the participating Powerball states or districts can play with the same rights as other residents.
  • U.S. Virgin Islands – fellow U.S. territory where Puerto Ricans can purchase tickets.

Some key requirements:

  • Must be physically in a participating Powerball jurisdiction to buy tickets.
  • Must be 18 or older (19 in some locations).
  • U.S. residency not required, aside from being located in a participating jurisdiction when purchasing ticket.

So in summary, Puerto Ricans have full access to purchase Powerball tickets and claim prizes if they buy entries while located in the United States or U.S. Virgin Islands.

Taxes on Powerball Winnings for Puerto Ricans

What are the tax implications for Puerto Ricans who win Powerball prizes with tickets purchased in the United States?

Powerball jackpots and prizes won by Puerto Ricans are subject to the same federal and state tax rules as any other winner located in the U.S. This includes:

  • Federal taxes – All Powerball prizes over $599 are subject to 24% federal tax withholding at the time the prize is claimed. Winners receive a W2-G form reporting the win to the IRS.
  • State taxes – State taxes vary based on the rules of the state where the ticket was purchased. State tax rates on lottery winnings range from 0% to 8.82%. Some states have no lottery winnings tax.


  • Florida – No state tax. 24% federal tax only.
  • California – 8.84% state tax plus 24% federal.
  • Texas – No individual income tax. 24% federal tax only.
  • New York – 8.82% state tax plus 24% federal.

In addition to taxes, winners may be subject to debt offsets if they owe back taxes, child support, or other debts eligible for state and federal offsets.

Prizes may also impact eligibility for public assistance programs, Medicaid, SSI benefits, and other means-tested programs. Consult a tax planner.

There are currently no specific Powerball tax withholding rules that apply differently to Puerto Rican winners versus other U.S. residents or citizens winning while in the United States. They have the same tax liability as any other winner purchasing a ticket in the same jurisdiction.

Powerball Winners from Puerto Rico

Although rare, there have been a handful of documented Powerball jackpot winners from Puerto Rico:

  • $1 million – In 2015, Puerto Rican tourist Haydee Mendoza won $1 million while visiting her son in Melbourne, Florida. The ticket was purchased during the trip at a local supermarket. She opted for the one-time cash payout of $780,000 after taxes.
  • $50,000 – In 2013, Puerto Rican man Leonardo Colon won a $50,000 prize after purchasing a ticket while visiting family in Pennsylvania. “I never expected to win any money!”, he remarked at the time.
  • $10,000 – A woman from Puerto Rico won a $10,000 prize in 2008 with a Powerball ticket purchased while temporarily working in Texas.

These real world examples demonstrate that Puerto Ricans can indeed play and win Powerball prizes when purchasing tickets in the United States. While winning the jackpot remains extremely rare, lower tier prizes get hit more frequently.

Over the years, it’s almost certain that many other players from Puerto Rico have won smaller Powerball prizes that went unreported in the media. But with the right luck, even the elusive grand prize jackpot remains possible.

FAQs – Puerto Rico and Powerball

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Powerball in Puerto Rico:

Can Puerto Rico residents legally purchase tickets online?

No. Powerball tickets must be purchased from authorized lottery retailers located within the U.S. jurisdiction where the ticket is sold. Puerto Rico does not have any authorized retailers. Online ticket sales from offshore websites are illegal and invalid.

Where do proceeds from Puerto Rico Powerball sales go?

Ticket revenue stays in the Puerto Rico lottery system. As Puerto Rico does not participate in the game, no money goes to the Powerball consortium for contribution to prizes or administration. Puerto Rico ticket buyers are essentially just betting on the outcomes of the drawings.

Can winning tickets be claimed in Puerto Rico?

No. Tickets can only be purchased and redeemed within the U.S. jurisdiction they were sold. Puerto Rican residents would need to claim any winning U.S. ticket within the specific state that sold the ticket.

Do Puerto Rico lottery winnings get taxed by IRS?

No. Prizes won on Puerto Rico lottery games are U.S. territory source income, not subject to IRS taxation. Puerto Rico does tax gambling winnings over $600 at a rate up to 15%.

Has Powerball ever been won in Puerto Rico?

No. There have been no jackpot or any other prizes won with tickets purchased in Puerto Rico, as they are not eligible. Only tickets bought in the U.S. can actually win Powerball prizes.


In summary, the official Powerball game is not legally accessible to players purchasing tickets in Puerto Rico. While Puerto Rico does sell Powerball tickets, they are just for entertainment purposes and cannot win prizes.

The good news is Puerto Ricans can play and win Powerball prizes when buying tickets while visiting or living in the United States or U.S. Virgin Islands. Although no one from Puerto Rico has hit the jackpot yet, there are documented examples of residents winning lower tier prizes.

With the right circumstances, even the astronomical grand prize remains up for grabs to Puerto Rico residents who play Powerball within the authorized U.S. jurisdictions. They have the same chances as any other players when buying tickets in one of the 45 participating lotteries stateside.