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Is Powerball nationwide or state specific?

Powerball is a multi-state lottery game available in 45 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Powerball jackpots start at $40 million and roll until the jackpot is won. Players win prizes by matching the numbers drawn from two drums – five numbers from 1 to 69 and one Powerball number from 1 to 26. While Powerball is offered in many states across the country, it is coordinated by different lottery organizations on a state-by-state basis.

Powerball History

Powerball began in 1992 as Lotto America, a multi-state game coordinated by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL). In 1996, Powerball was created as the first national “big jackpot” game, replacing Lotto America. Over the years, more and more lotteries joined to offer the game. In 2010, after increased interest due to larger starting jackpots and faster growing jackpots, Powerball expanded from 33 to 43 participating lotteries. Today, the Multi-State Lottery Association manages Powerball operations and coordinates game rules, development, draws, and prize validation across member lotteries. So while it is a nationwide game, Powerball is administered on a state-by-state basis, with each lottery jurisdiction controlling how the game is operated locally.

Powerball Availability by State

The following are the 45 lottery jurisdictions that currently offer the Powerball game:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • 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
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Powerball is not available in the following 5 states that do not participate in any multi-state games:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada

How Powerball Works

While Powerball is administered separately by each participating lottery jurisdiction, the basic game mechanics are the same nationwide:

  • Players choose 5 numbers from 1 to 69 and 1 Powerball number from 1 to 26
  • To play the same numbers for multiple draws, players can select the multi-draw option on their ticket
  • Ticket sales close 30 minutes before the scheduled draw time
  • Drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 p.m. ET
  • Drawings are conducted at the Florida Lottery draw studio in Tallahassee, Florida
  • The drawings are powered by Smartplay Halogen II machines that randomly generate the winning numbers
  • Draw results are broadcast shortly after each drawing on local television stations and newspaper websites
  • Jackpots start at $40 million and roll over each draw until won
  • Jackpots are pari-mutuel, meaning the prize pool is shared among all top prize winners
  • Lower tier prizes have fixed payouts
  • Prizes must be claimed in the state where the winning ticket was purchased
  • Most states require Powerball winners to come forward publicly to claim their prize
  • Powerball has nine prize divisions, offering players a chance to win prizes from $4 up to the jackpot
  • The overall odds of winning a prize are 1 in 24.9
  • Powerball has contributed over $25 billion to good causes supported by lotteries, like education, senior citizens, veterans and the environment

While the basic play is the same, there are some slight differences between states in Powerball rules, such as:

  • Some states allow winners to remain anonymous, while others require publicity
  • Power Play multiplier availability and prizes vary by state
  • Some states allow online sales, while others require in-person purchases
  • Ticket purchase and prize claim requirements may vary
  • Each lottery contributes a different percentage to the prize pools
  • Laws regarding the minimum age to play Powerball differ between states

So while Powerball functions as a national game, individual lottery jurisdictions regulate certain aspects locally. Players should check with their state’s lottery for specific rules and regulations.

Notable Powerball Jackpots

Over the years, Powerball has produced some massive jackpots. Here are some of the most notable Powerball jackpots to date:

Jackpot Amount Drawing Date Winning Location
$1.586 billion January 13, 2016 California, Florida, Tennessee
$768.4 million March 27, 2019 Wisconsin
$758.7 million August 23, 2017 Massachusetts
$731.1 million January 20, 2021 Maryland
$699.8 million October 4, 2021 California
$687.8 million October 27, 2018 Iowa, New York
$590.5 million May 18, 2013 Florida
$587.5 million November 28, 2012 Arizona, Missouri
$564.1 million February 11, 2015 North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Texas
$559.7 million January 6, 2018 New Hampshire

The current record Powerball jackpot of $1.586 billion was shared by three tickets on January 13, 2016. The jackpot was hit by ticketholders in California, Florida and Tennessee after the jackpot rolled over 19 times. To date, this remains the largest U.S. lottery jackpot ever won.

Biggest Individual Winners

Here are the biggest individual Powerball jackpot winners to date:

  • $731.1 million – January 20, 2021 (Maryland)
  • $699.8 million – October 4, 2021 (California)
  • $758.7 million – August 23, 2017 (Massachusetts)
  • $564.1 million – February 11, 2015 (North Carolina)
  • $559.7 million – January 6, 2018 (New Hampshire)

Frequent Winning States

Some states have had more luck winning Powerball jackpots than others. Here are the states with the most jackpot wins to date:

  • Indiana – 39
  • Missouri – 31
  • Minnesota – 22
  • Wisconsin – 17
  • West Virginia – 16

Odds of Winning Powerball

The odds of winning any Powerball prize are 1 in 24.9. The odds for the various prize tiers are as follows:

Prize Tier Odds
Match 5 white balls + Powerball 1 in 292,201,338
Match 5 white balls only 1 in 11,688,053.52
Match 4 white balls + Powerball 1 in 913,129.18
Match 4 white balls only 1 in 36,525.17
Match 3 white balls + Powerball 1 in 14,494.11
Match 3 white balls only 1 in 579.76
Match 2 white balls + Powerball 1 in 701.33
Match 1 white ball + Powerball 1 in 91.98
Match Powerball only 1 in 38.32

As we can see, matching all 5 white balls and the Powerball offers the best odds of winning the jackpot, but is still highly unlikely, at 1 in almost 300 million. Players have the best odds of winning a smaller prize, like $4 for matching just the Powerball. But Powerball’s huge jackpots keep players coming back for a chance to win it big.

Strategies for Winning Powerball

While Powerball outcomes are entirely random, some players do have certain strategies they employ to try to win:

  • Number Selection Strategies – Using same lucky numbers, significant dates, number patterns, etc. However, all combinations have equal odds.
  • Pooling Tickets – Joining an office or lottery pool to buy more tickets and increase chances.
  • Buying Consecutive Tickets – Buying tickets with consecutive numbers to cover more possibilities.
  • Playing the Most Common Numbers – Using hot numbers most frequently drawn.
  • Mixing Odd and Even Numbers – Ensuring you have a mix of both to cover more combinations.
  • Spreading Out Numbers – Selecting numbers across the whole field to avoid overlaps.

While these strategies may help organize one’s play, the random nature of Powerball means they have no actual impact on the probability of winning. The only way to definitively increase your chance of winning is to buy more tickets.

Where Powerball Revenue Goes

Powerball ticket sales fund big jackpot prizes, but the game has also raised billions for good causes across participating states. Here is a breakdown of how Powerball revenue is distributed:

  • 50% goes to jackpot prizes
  • 24.8% goes to other prize amounts
  • 5.5% goes to retailer commissions
  • 10.4% goes to operations expenses
  • 9.3% is transferred to other lottery games in the state

The percentage of sales contributed to state funds for public programs varies by jurisdiction, but averages around 30%. Billions have gone to support causes like:

  • Education
  • Environmental protection
  • Senior citizens
  • Veterans Health Care
  • Children’s programs
  • General state funds

So while most players are attracted by the big jackpots, Powerball ultimately gives billions back to communities across the country.

Key Takeaways

  • Powerball is a multi-state lottery game available in 45 states, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • The Multi-State Lottery Association coordinates Powerball at the national level
  • Individual state lotteries control Powerball operations and rules locally
  • Powerball jackpots start at $40 million and roll until won
  • Tickets are $2 per play
  • Players choose 5 numbers from 1 to 69 and 1 number from 1 to 26
  • Drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday night
  • Odds of winning the jackpot are around 1 in 292 million
  • Powerball has awarded over $25 billion in prizes since 1992
  • Powerball ticket sales have raised billions for good causes


In summary, while Powerball functions as a national game, it is ultimately run on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis. This state-specific administration means Powerball tickets and prizes are localized, while the game’s basic structure and rules are consistent nationwide. With giant jackpots driving ticket sales across the country, Powerball generates substantial funding for special programs and causes at the state level. So both multi-state coordination and independent operation allows Powerball to succeed as a nationwide lottery offering.