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How does Powerball in Colorado work?

Powerball is one of the most popular lottery games in the United States, with jackpots that can grow into the hundreds of millions of dollars. But how exactly does Powerball work, specifically in the state of Colorado? Here is a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about playing Powerball in Colorado.

The Basics of Powerball

First, let’s go over the basics of how Powerball works in general. Powerball is a multi-state lottery game operated by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL). It is currently offered in 45 states, including Colorado, as well as Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

To play Powerball, players select five main numbers between 1 and 69, and one additional Powerball number between 1 and 26. The Powerball number is drawn from a separate set of numbers. Players can choose their own numbers using a Powerball playslip, or have the numbers randomly generated by a lottery terminal using a Quick Pick option.

Drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time. During the drawing, five white balls are drawn from one drum containing 69 balls, and the red Powerball is drawn from a second drum with 26 balls. To win the jackpot, players must match all five white balls and the Powerball.

The Powerball jackpot starts at $40 million and continues to grow until there is a winner. If no one matches all six numbers, the top prize rolls over to the next drawing. Jackpots have exceeded $1 billion on four occasions in the history of the game.

In addition to the jackpot, there are eight other prize levels in Powerball ranging from $4 to $1 million. The overall odds of winning any prize are 1 in 24.9. The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million.

How to Play Powerball in Colorado

The Colorado Lottery has offered Powerball since 2001 when the state became part of the multi-state game. Powerball in Colorado follows the same basic gameplay format and rules as the national Powerball game.

To play, Colorado residents can visit any Colorado Lottery retailer and ask for a Powerball Quick Pick or fill out a Powerball play slip. Players choose five main numbers between 1-69 and one Powerball number between 1-26. Each play costs $2.

Players also have the option to add the Power Play multiplier feature for an extra $1 per play. The Power Play multiplies any non-jackpot prizes won by up to 10 times, except for the $1 million prize which becomes $2 million.

Lottery terminals in Colorado will not allow players to play combinations that duplicate another player’s picks for the same drawing. All tickets and plays must be purchased by 9:00 p.m. MT on draw nights to be included in that evening’s drawing.

Powerball drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday night at 8:59 p.m. MT. Drawings are conducted at the Florida Lottery studios in Tallahassee, Florida and televised locally in Colorado on KOAT 7.

Powerball Prizes in Colorado

The prize payout structure for Powerball in Colorado is:

  • Match 5 white balls + Powerball – Jackpot
  • Match 5 white balls – $1 million
  • Match 4 white balls + Powerball – $50,000
  • Match 4 white balls- $100
  • Match 3 white balls + Powerball – $100
  • Match 3 white balls – $7
  • Match 2 white balls + Powerball – $7
  • Match 1 white ball + Powerball – $4
  • Match Powerball – $4

The jackpot is pari-mutuel, meaning it is divided equally among all winning tickets. All other prize levels are fixed amounts. Power Play can increase the value of prizes from $50,000 down to $4.

If there are multiple jackpot winners, players in Colorado have the choice between taking the annuity or cash option. The annuity pays out the full prize over 30 graduated payments over 29 years. The cash option is a one-time, lump-sum payment equal to the jackpot prize pool. Federal and state taxes are withheld from either option.

Odds of Winning Powerball in Colorado

The odds of winning a Powerball prize in Colorado are the same as the national game odds since the same draw procedure is used. The odds are as follows:

  • Jackpot – 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
  • $100 – 1 in 14,494.11
  • $7 – 1 in 579.76
  • $7 – 1 in 701.33
  • $4 – 1 in 91.98
  • $4 – 1 in 38.32

Biggest Powerball Jackpots Won in Colorado

There have been several notable Powerball jackpot wins in Colorado since the game debuted, including:

  • November 2012 – Two Colorado winners split a $587.5 million jackpot, each taking home $144.1 million cash.
  • February 2014 – An office pool of 17 coworkers from an Englewood business won a $90 million jackpot.
  • January 2016 – Fortune smiled twice in one month for Colorado. Two jackpots worth $157 million and $128 million were won in the state.
  • June 2019 – The 7-Eleven in Bailey sold a winning ticket for a massive $366.7 million Powerball jackpot.

In total, the Colorado Lottery has awarded over $760 million in Powerball prizes since 2002. Billions of dollars have been generated for state beneficiary programs thanks to Powerball ticket sales.

Claiming Powerball Prizes in Colorado

For prizes under $150, winning Powerball tickets can be cashed at any Colorado Lottery retailer. For prizes of $150 or more, tickets must be claimed at a Lottery Claims Center.

There are four Lottery Claims Centers in Colorado located in Denver, Grand Junction, Pueblo, and Fort Collins. Winners have 180 days from the date of the drawing to claim their prize.

Jackpot and grand prizes of $1 million or more must be claimed in person at Colorado Lottery headquarters in Denver. Proper identification and a valid ticket are required for all claims. Powerball prizes in Colorado are subject to both federal and state tax withholding.

Unclaimed Powerball Prizes

Millions of dollars in Powerball prizes go unclaimed each year in Colorado. Reasons prizes go unclaimed include:

  • Tickets are lost, destroyed, or expire
  • Players are unaware they have won
  • Winners miss the redemption deadline
  • Tickets are purchased by non-residents who don’t return to claim

For all unclaimed prizes, the money is returned to the prize pool. Unclaimed Powerball funds help contribute to larger jackpots and beneficiary programs supported by the Colorado Lottery.

Buying Powerball Tickets Online

Colorado residents do not have the option to purchase Powerball tickets online. Federal law prohibits online lottery sales across states. Powerball tickets can only be purchased from authorized retailers located within Colorado.

There are licensed courier services that allow you to place orders for Colorado Lottery products by phone or online. The courier will purchase tickets on your behalf from licensed retailers. However, sales and fulfillment must take place entirely within the state.

Is Powerball Winning in Colorado Taxed?

Yes, Powerball prizes are subject to taxes in Colorado. Federal taxes of 24% are automatically withheld from prizes over $5,000. Additional state taxes withheld vary based on prize amount:

Prize Amount State Tax Withholding
$5,000 – $9,999 4%
$10,000 – $19,999 7%
$20,000 and Over 8%

Jackpot winners have the option to choose their prize as an annuity spread over three decades or as a one-time cash payment. Taxes apply annually to each payment if the annuity is selected.

Participating Retailers

There are over 2,900 licensed Powerball retailers across Colorado. Tickets can be purchased at convenience stores, gas stations, supermarkets, and other licensed lottery retailers. Store locations with self-service vending terminals are also available.

Some of the major retailers selling Powerball tickets in Colorado include:

  • 7-Eleven
  • Albertsons
  • City Market
  • Dollar General
  • King Soopers
  • Loaf ‘N Jug
  • Murphy Express
  • Safeway
  • Tom’s Food & Liquor
  • Walgreens

Players must be at least 18 years old to purchase Powerball tickets in Colorado. Retailers receive 5.5% commission on sales plus cashing bonuses on winning tickets. Lottery revenue helps support trails, parks, and open space in the state.

Powerball Rules in Colorado

Colorado follows the standard game rules for Powerball established by MUSL. Key regulations include:

  • Players must be 18 or older to play.
  • Tickets can not be purchased in other states to play Colorado drawings.
  • Tickets must be purchased by 9:00 p.m. MT on draw nights.
  • Tickets can not be canceled once printed.
  • Liability ends when prizes are claimed.
  • Disputed tickets must be submitted for investigation.
  • Winning tickets are bearer instruments and are property of the legal owner.

The Colorado Lottery also has regulatory authority over licensed retailers, lottery equipment, and payment of prizes. Any attempt to defraud or cheat Powerball is punishable under state law.

Responsible Gaming

The Colorado Lottery wants players to enjoy Powerball while adhering to responsible gaming practices. Important things to keep in mind include:

  • Players must be 18 or older.
  • Playing within a budget and not chasing losses.
  • Balancing gaming with other activities.
  • Not playing under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Considering the odds and random nature of lottery games.
  • Playing for fun, not as a means to financial security.

Help is available 24/7 for anyone experiencing problems at 1-800-522-4700. Powerball proceeds contribute funding for gambling disorder programs in Colorado.

Odds and Probabilities

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million. This means that, on average, you can expect to win the jackpot once every 292.2 million plays.

Another way to think about Powerball probabilities is to break down the math:

  • 5 balls drawn from 69 white balls – 1 in 11,238,513 chance of matching
  • 1 ball drawn from 26 red balls – 1 in 26 chance of matching
  • Multiply for odds – 1 in 292,201,338

The more number combinations that are covered, the better your overall odds, although the cost rises significantly. Advantages of Quick Pick are the random combination and assurance that no duplicate tickets are issued.

Strategies for Playing

There is no guaranteed strategy to win the Powerball jackpot. The numbered balls are drawn randomly, so the outcome is purely chance. However, there are strategies some players employ to maximize their fun or increase their odds on the lower tier prizes.

Strategies include:

  • Playing the same set of numbers every draw
  • Using significant dates like birthdays
  • Selecting sequential numbers
  • Creating geometric patterns on the play slip
  • Splitting 50/50 between Quick Pick and same numbers
  • Buying multiple tickets
  • Joining an office or lottery pool

In the end, Powerball is a probabilistic game and the numbers drawn are random. While playing consistently, whether using the same numbers or Quick Pick, can increase your exposure, jackpot odds always remain a long shot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you buy Powerball tickets online in Colorado?

No, Powerball tickets cannot legally be purchased online in Colorado. All ticket sales must take place in-person at authorized retailers located within the state.

What time is the Powerball drawing in Colorado?

Powerball drawings are held Wednesday and Saturday nights at 8:59 p.m. Mountain Time in Colorado.

What are the biggest Powerball jackpots won in Colorado?

The largest Powerball jackpots won in Colorado were $366.7 million in June 2019, $144.1 million split jackpot in November 2012, and $128 million in January 2016.

Where does Powerball money go in Colorado?

A portion of every Powerball ticket sold goes towards the jackpot and other prize payouts. The remainder helps fund state parks, trails, recreation areas, and open space via Great Outdoors Colorado.

What happens if no one wins the Powerball jackpot in Colorado?

If no ticket matches all 5 white balls and the red Powerball, the jackpot rolls over and continues increasing until there is a winner. Jackpots have rolled over many times, even reaching over $1 billion.

Can you buy a Powerball ticket after the draw?

No, Powerball tickets sales cut off at 9:00 p.m. MT on draw nights in Colorado. All tickets must be purchased before the drawings to be eligible.


In summary, Powerball offers Colorado residents a chance to win jackpots starting at $40 million, with drawings held every Wednesday and Saturday night. Players pick five main numbers and one Powerball for a chance to win prizes ranging from $4 up to hundreds of millions of dollars.

To play, purchase a Quick Pick or Powerball playslip from any of the 2,900+ authorized retailers in Colorado. Overall odds of winning are 1 in 24.9, with jackpot odds at 1 in 292 million. Responsible play is encouraged when trying your luck playing Powerball in Colorado!