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Is Powerball going international?

Powerball is one of the most popular and well-known lottery games in the United States. The multi-state lottery game is coordinated by the Multi-State Lottery Association and currently offered in 45 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Since its inception in 1992, Powerball has awarded some of the biggest lottery jackpots in history, including the world record $1.586 billion jackpot in January 2016.

As Powerball has continued to grow in popularity over the past three decades, there has been increasing interest in expanding the game beyond the United States. Lottery officials have explored the possibility of taking Powerball international to allow even more players around the world to take part. While no concrete plans have been announced yet, the prospect of an international Powerball game is an intriguing one.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Powerball and whether it could really go global in the future. We’ll cover the key questions around how Powerball could work internationally, the potential benefits and challenges, and what an international Powerball game could look like.

The Popularity of Powerball in the US

To understand whether Powerball could successfully expand overseas, it’s helpful to first look at what makes the game so popular in the United States. Some key facts about Powerball include:

  • Powerball is played in 45 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • There are over 48,000 Powerball retailers across all participating jurisdictions.
  • Strong sales regularly lead to jackpots of $100 million or more.
  • The overall odds of winning any Powerball prize are 1 in 24.9.
  • Powerball draws occur twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
  • Players choose 5 main numbers from 1-69 plus a Powerball from 1-26.
  • Various prize levels are awarded for matching different numbers.
  • Powerball has awarded some of the biggest lottery jackpots in the world, including:
Jackpot Amount Date
$1.586 billion January 13, 2016
$768.4 million March 27, 2019
$758.7 million August 23, 2017

As these facts demonstrate, Powerball has many of the key ingredients needed for lottery success, including simple game mechanics, regularly giant jackpots, strong brand awareness, and convenient availability for players. These factors have contributed to sustained popularity over time and strong revenue generation.

Revenue and Growth

Powerball sales and revenue figures also speak to the game’s popularity. Some key stats:

  • Fiscal year 2021 sales: $4.48 billion
  • Record annual sales: $7.85 billion in FY 2016
  • Total revenue returned to participating jurisdictions since inception: over $24 billion

Powerball has achieved impressive year-over-year growth at times. For example, from FY 2015 to FY 2016, annual sales jumped by over 84% following major jackpot runs. While Powerball does see fluctuations from year to year, the overall long-term growth trend is positive.

Based on Powerball’s proven success in the US market, expansion to new countries could theoretically tap into brand recognition and pent-up consumer demand for the game. Of course, an international rollout would still need to be carefully planned and executed. But the domestic popularity of Powerball is a positive sign for its global potential.

How Could Powerball Work Internationally?

For Powerball to succeed globally, the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) would need to consider several key questions:

Which Countries?

The most logical starting places would be countries that already have established lottery markets and consumers familiar with similar games. Some potential target markets could include:

  • Canada – Adjacent major market, already sells lottery products.
  • Mexico – Large market right across the border.
  • UK – Existing lottery culture and inclination for playing big jackpot games.
  • Germany – Strong economy and lottery sales.
  • Australia – Familiarity with American culture.
  • Japan – Affluent consumers who often enjoy American imports.

Of course, in-depth market research would be needed to identify and prioritize the best country markets for launch. But these examples give a sense of where Powerball may have the highest chance of success initially.

Distribution Model

Powerball would need to determine the best model for distribution and operations in new countries. Some options could include:

  • Integrated multi-country game – Lotteries sell a common Powerball game across multiple countries with a shared jackpot pool. This is the simplest and likely the preferred approach.
  • Individual country partnerships – Partner with lottery providers in each country to offer localized Powerball games. Jackpots could be linked across countries.
  • Online sales – Offer Powerball tickets directly to consumers online in regulated markets.

MUSL would need to evaluate tradeoffs of control, risk, technology needs, and other factors to land on the optimal model.

Jackpot Management

With multiple countries in the mix, Powerball would need strategies to manage jackpot risk and continuity across borders. Options could include:

  • Shared jackpot pool – All sales go into one international jackpot with common rollover rules.
  • Currency risk sharing – Jackpot funds held and paid out in local currencies to hedge exchange rates.
  • Backup jackpot reserves – Allocate reserves that could be deployed if another country awards the jackpot first.

Careful projections and risk assessment would be required to enable uninterrupted jackpot continuity.

Prize Payouts

Powerball would need to determine prize payout structures tailored to each new market. Factors to evaluate:

  • Taxes – Variable by jurisdiction.
  • Payout percentages – Balance player appeal and profit.
  • Number of prize tiers – Impact complexity and chances to win.
  • Annuity vs lump sum – Match local preferences.

Balancing operational feasibility, profit goals, and player attraction would be critical in setting prize payouts for each country.


Powerball has strong brand equity in the US, but would need fresh branding and marketing overseas. Considerations could include:

  • Adapting graphics, slogans, and ads for local cultures.
  • Leveraging the base Powerball brand along with country specifics.
  • Celebrity endorsements to establish credibility.
  • Investment in digital marketing and social media.

Strategic brand positioning would be key to cutting through cluttered lottery markets abroad.


Any global expansion would need to navigate and comply with regulations in target countries covering:

  • Gambling policy
  • Taxation
  • Currency and prize payouts
  • Data privacy and security
  • Responsible gaming
  • Licensing

Navigating diverse regulations would add complexity but be essential to operate legally and responsibly.

Potential Benefits of an International Powerball Game

Expanding Powerball internationally could offer significant benefits, if executed successfully:

Revenue Growth

New countries represent major markets to tap for revenue growth. Powerball may be able to generate billions in additional annual sales by expanding to large overseas lottery markets.

Higher Jackpots

A larger shared jackpot pool with more players worldwide could enable Powerball jackpots to reach new record levels. This added jackpot “reach” would create more consumer excitement.

Brand Awareness

International growth provides a way for the Powerball brand to significantly expand its global footprint and awareness.

Player Convenience

Offering a major lottery product directly to players in their home countries adds convenience and accessibility. This could increase play frequency.

New Capabilities

Expanding operations overseas would build organizational experience and capabilities to enable future growth in additional countries.

On balance, the market opportunity appears to outweigh the risks – if executed thoughtfully and strategically with the nuances of each country in mind.

Key Challenges and Risks

While the benefits are appealing, an international Powerball game also faces substantial hurdles and risks:

Fragmented Markets

Navigating diverse regulations and lottery systems country-by-country adds layers of complexity versus dealing with US jurisdictions.

Exchange Rates

Fluctuating currency values impact jackpot rolls, reserve funds, and prize payouts across borders. Hedging tools could mitigate but not eliminate currency risk.


Powerball could displace existing lottery game sales rather than generating all net new revenue. A thorough understanding of market dynamics is essential.


International expansion would require major investments in supply chain logistics, payment systems, and likely a larger sales force.

Tax Complexities

Taxes on winnings and lottery revenues vary widely and reduce net profits compared to the uniform US tax treatment.

Unknown Factors

Despite best efforts, some level of demand and operational uncertainty is inherent in any new country market.

Thoughtful risk mitigation strategies and market-by-market analysis would be imperative to smooth the expansion process.

What Could an International Powerball Game Look Like?

Conceptually, what might an expanded global Powerball game offer players? Some possibilities:

  • Jackpots starting at $40 million+ and faster growing with more players.
  • Rollovers every 2-3 draws on average.
  • Odds of winning the jackpot: 1 in 292 million.
  • Overall odds of winning any prize: 1 in 24.
  • Drawings held 3 times a week.
  • Tickets sold online and in authorized retail locations.
  • Mobile apps for checking numbers and redeeming winnings.
  • Prizes paid out in local currency within each country.

While the product would be tailored by country, the game could leverage the strong core equity of the Powerball brand. This hypothetical example demonstrates one model for how Powerball could be adapted globally while retaining familiar elements.

The Bottom Line

Introducing Powerball across multiple country markets would be a major strategic endeavor for the Multi-State Lottery Association. While promising in its revenue potential, global expansion would also entail significant complexity and execution risks. Any plans would require careful deliberation and groundwork in identifying target markets, negotiating partnerships, adhering to regulations, and mapping out operating logistics across borders.

However, Powerball’s runaway success and growth in America does suggest strong international demand potential if the game can resonate similarly abroad. The lottery’s brand and jackpot reputation could differentiate it from other options in many foreign markets. Despite the challenges, Powerball’s future seems bright – perhaps even beyond U.S. borders. With meticulous preparation and strategy, the game could retain its magic worldwide.


In summary, while no specific plans are in place yet, the prospect of Powerball expanding internationally is an intriguing possibility. Powerball’s popularity in America combined with careful market research to identify promising countries could make it a hit globally as well. But significant work would be required to navigate complex regulations, tax policies, currency dynamics, and operational logistics across borders. If executed thoughtfully with these challenges in mind, Powerball could potentially see its brand and jackpots grow worldwide. But the Multi-State Lottery Association would still face risks and uncertainties in any global expansion. While the door seems open for Powerball to go international someday, only time will tell if and when that vision becomes a reality.