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What is the starting Powerball jackpot?

The Powerball lottery is one of the most popular lottery games in the United States. The multi-state lottery game is coordinated by the Multi-State Lottery Association and players select five white ball numbers from 1 to 69 and one red “Powerball” number from 1 to 26. To win the jackpot prize, players must match all five white balls and the Powerball number. But what is the starting jackpot amount for the Powerball lottery? Keep reading to find out the details on the Powerball starting jackpot.

Powerball Basics

The Powerball lottery draws are held every Wednesday and Saturday evening. Players can purchase Powerball tickets, choose their numbers, and then wait to see if they match the winning numbers selected at the draw. Powerball tickets cost $2 per play.

The overall odds of winning any Powerball prize are 1 in 24.9. The odds of winning the jackpot prize are much steeper at 1 in 292.2 million. This is why the jackpot prize can grow into the hundreds of millions of dollars before someone finally wins it.

How the Jackpot Grows

The Powerball jackpot starts at a guaranteed $40 million and continues to grow from there. The jackpot prize rolls over and increases each time there is no jackpot winner for that draw. For each draw without a winner, the jackpot amount increases based on Powerball ticket sales and interest rates.

This rollover process is how the Powerball jackpot can grow to such monumental amounts. In January 2016, the Powerball jackpot reached a record $1.59 billion when it continued to roll over for months without a grand prize winner.

Starting Jackpot Breakdown

So how does the game arrive at that original starting jackpot amount of $40 million? Here is a breakdown:

– $15 million is the guaranteed starting amount provided by the Powerball member lotteries.

– $25 million is added to the starting amount from Powerball ticket sales.

This adds up to the guaranteed minimum starting jackpot prize of $40 million.

The member lotteries that participate in Powerball include:

Arizona Arkansas Colorado
Connecticut Delaware District of Columbia
Florida Idaho Indiana
Iowa Kansas Kentucky
Louisiana Maine Minnesota
Missouri Montana Nebraska
New Hampshire New Mexico North Carolina
North Dakota Oklahoma Oregon
Pennsylvania Puerto Rico Rhode Island
South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee
Texas U.S. Virgin Islands Vermont
Virginia Washington West Virginia
Wisconsin Wyoming

These lotteries collectively contribute $15 million to ensure the Powerball jackpot starts at $40 million and can continue growing from there.

Changes to Starting Jackpot

While $40 million has been the standard opening jackpot amount for years, Powerball has tweaked the starting amount from time to time.

In 2015, the starting jackpot was raised to $50 million in response to declining interest in the game. Having a higher guaranteed starting jackpot was intended to generate more excitement.

For a brief period in 2020, Powerball lowered the starting jackpot to $20 million due to reduced revenue during the coronavirus pandemic. Lower ticket sales meant the game could not support a $40 million starting amount. After a few months, the starting jackpot returned to the regular $40 million prize.

So while $40 million is the standard amount, Powerball can adjust the opening jackpot as needed based on ticket sales and interest in the game. But regardless of any temporary changes, you can generally expect the Powerball jackpot to start at around $40 million for each draw.

Jackpot Wins and Resets

Once the Powerball jackpot is won, the prize amount resets to the starting value for the next draw. All jackpot prize amounts are advertised as annuity amounts paid out over 29 years. Winners can instead choose a reduced lump sum cash option.

For example, if the jackpot is won at $150 million, the prize will reset to $40 million for the next Powerball draw. This process repeats each time the jackpot is awarded. The game will build back up from the starting amount until there is another jackpot winner.

Over the life of the Powerball game, there have been some notable jackpot wins:

Largest Powerball Jackpots

Amount Date 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

After each historic jackpot win, the Powerball prize resets to the starting amount of $40 million (or the current opening jackpot amount). Part of what makes Powerball so exciting is seeing the jackpot grow bigger and bigger until someone finally wins!

Odds of Winning Powerball

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338. This long shot is why the jackpot has the ability to grow into such staggering amounts. With odds like that, it’s no wonder the grand prize can go months without a winner.

Here are the overall odds of winning any Powerball prize:

Prize Level Odds
Jackpot 1 in 292,201,338
$1 million 1 in 11,688,053.52
$50,000 1 in 913,129.18
$100 1 in 36.95
Overall 1 in 24.87

As you can see, even the second prize $1 million prize has tough odds of nearly 12 million to 1. But Powerball only needs one jackpot winner to reset the top prize and start building again.

Record Jackpots and Lottery Fever

When the Powerball jackpot reaches astronomical heights without a winner, lottery fever takes over. The lottery dominates the news and social media, all driven by the idea that one lucky ticket could win a life-changing fortune.

Record-setting jackpots stir up huge interest and drive Powerball ticket sales. For example, the $1.5 billion jackpot in January 2016 set a frenzy in motion over who would finally win the insane grand prize. Total sales reached $963 million just for that one roll sequence leading up to the historic draw.

While the jackpot starts at $40 million after a win, if there is a streak of no jackpot winners, the hysteria and hype will quickly build again as the top prize climbs higher once more. Lottery players are always eager to see just how high the Powerball jackpot can go until someone beats the long odds.

Changes After Big Jackpot Wins

After particularly large jackpot runs, the Multi-State Lottery Association will often look at tweaking the game to make it harder to win. Adjusting the game’s parameters can help control the rate at which the jackpots grow and provide better control over Powerball payouts.

For example, after the record $1.5 billion jackpot in 2016, Powerball changed to require players to pick from 69 white balls (up from 59) and only allowed players to win the jackpot if they match all five numbers plus the Powerball. This instantly made the odds of winning the jackpot even more remote.

Powerball also put a cap in place after the $1.5 billion drawing so jackpots will not exceed the $1.5 billion amount from 2016. So now if another epic roll sequence occurs without a winner, the excess prize money will be rolled down into the game’s lower tier prizes rather than continuing to raise the jackpot.

Shared Jackpots

With the long odds of Powerball, it is not uncommon for multiple players to match all five white balls and the Powerball to share the jackpot. When the record $1.5 billion prize was won in 2016, it was shared by three ticket holders in California, Florida and Tennessee. Each received around $528 million as their share of the grand prize.

Shared jackpots simply split the prize evenly among all winning tickets. For example, if four players win the $400 million jackpot, each ticket holder would receive $100 million. Shared wins occur frequently, especially during periods of Powerball mania when ticket sales surge.

Multiple winners may dilute the prize a bit, but sharing hundreds of millions is still an incredible life-changing event. To maximize your chance of winning against the long odds, it can make sense to join an office pool or lottery group. Even with shared payouts, Powerball can instantly put you on easy street if you beat the odds.

State Winners

Which states have had the most luck winning Powerball jackpots? Here are the states with the most jackpot wins to date:

State Jackpot Wins
Indiana 39
Missouri 31
Minnesota 22
Kentucky 19
Louisiana 14

Given the random odds, states with more players and ticket sales unsurprisingly often have more winners. ButCluster luck can also play a role, with certain states getting hot and hitting multiple jackpots in a short span.

State lotteries like California and New York have also had big Powerball wins. But players from all over the country hope to hit it big whenever the jackpots roll to monumental levels.


Here are some frequently asked questions about the Powerball starting jackpot amount:

Why does the jackpot start at $40 million?

The $40 million starting jackpot consists of a $15 million guarantee from member lotteries and an additional $25 million beginning amount from Powerball ticket sales. This starting amount ensures there are ample funds to pay the jackpot.

Can the starting jackpot change?

Yes, Powerball has adjusted the starting jackpot a few times based on interest and ticket sales. But historically it has been $40 million for most draws. Temporary changes have ranged from $20 million up to $50 million openings.

What if nobody wins the jackpot?

If there is no jackpot winner for a draw, the prize simply rolls over and increases based on interest and ticket sales. This rollover process is how the jackpot can grow to such staggering amounts over multiple draws without a winner.

What is the average jackpot win?

The average Powerball jackpot win is around $100 million to $120 million. Huge jackpots of $500 million or more are rare events driven by lengthy streaks without anyone hitting the jackpot. Most jackpots are won at amounts far below record settings.

How long do jackpots roll for?

There is no set duration for a jackpot roll. It’s random based on the odds of 1 in 292 million to win the jackpot. Some jackpots are won after just a few rolls, while others like the record $1.5 billion prize took months of rollovers to grow so large. Each draw is an independent event.

Where does the jackpot money come from?

Powerball jackpot prizes are funded by Powerball ticket sales. A portion of each ticket sold goes to the prize pools. Jackpots grow based on sales and interest earned on the money during each roll sequence.

The Thrill of the Jackpot

While the odds are stacked against winning Powerball’s top prize, the chance at hundreds of millions in instant wealth drives interest and ticket sales, especially when the jackpots escalate. Even a modest ticket purchase has the potential for life-altering returns if the purchaser’s numbers align with the winning draw.

The starting $40 million Powerball jackpot provides the foundation for jackpot chases, and with each successive rollover the anticipation builds. Will the rolling jackpot finally top the previous world record amount? Lottery players across the country closely follow the ever-increasing prize totals, dreaming of the possibilities should they defy the odds and hit the elusive jackpot.


In summary, the Powerball jackpot starts at a guaranteed $40 million and can grow to epic proportions based on the game’s long odds of 1 in 292 million and rollover process. The starting $40 million amount consists of member lottery contributions and additional funds from Powerball ticket sales. While temporary tweaks have occurred, the standard $40 million opening jackpot provides the baseline that fuels lottery fever as players watch the top prize grow over weeks and months without a winner. Hitting the jackpot, whether at the starting amount or hundreds of millions higher, represents a life-changing swing for any lucky player willing to spend $2 and hope to beat the very long odds.