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What state won the billion dollar Powerball?

The Powerball lottery captured national attention this week when its jackpot climbed to over $1 billion for only the second time in history. Powerball is played in 45 states as well as Washington D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. With so many players across the country vying for the top prize, the question on everyone’s mind is – what state ended up winning the billion dollar Powerball jackpot?

The Winning Ticket

The winning ticket for the massive $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot on January 13, 2016 was sold at a convenience store in Chino Hills, California. The ticket matched all six numbers (4-8-19-27-34 with Powerball 10). The winners were later revealed to be John and Lisa Robinson, a modest couple from Munford, Tennessee who purchased the ticket while visiting family in California.

The Robinsons opted to take the lump sum cash payout of $528.8 million for the jackpot prize. After federal and state taxes, their final take-home share was approximately $327 million. This makes them the biggest lottery winners in U.S. history from a single ticket.

Breaking Down the Odds

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are incredibly slim – 1 in 292.2 million. This means it is far more likely for a person to be struck by lightning or be attacked by a shark than to hit the Powerball jackpot. Here is a comparison of the odds for various unlikely events:

Event Odds
Winning Powerball jackpot 1 in 292,201,338
Being struck by lightning 1 in 500,000
Being attacked by a shark 1 in 3,748,067
Becoming a movie star 1 in 1,505,000
Getting a hole in one in golf 1 in 5,000
Winning an Olympic medal 1 in 662,000

As the table illustrates, a person is significantly more likely to achieve unlikely feats like getting struck by lightning, being attacked by a shark, or even becoming an Olympic medalist than winning the Powerball jackpot. This demonstrates just how exceedingly rare it is for someone to win.

Other Powerball Jackpot Wins

While the $1.586 billion jackpot claimed in 2016 is the current record holder, there have been a few other extraordinarily large Powerball jackpots won over the years:

Jackpot Amount Date Winning State
$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 and New York

As the table shows, other top Powerball jackpots have been won in states across the country including Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Maryland, California, Iowa, and New York. But so far, none have surpassed the epic $1.586 billion prize claimed by the Robinsons in California in 2016.

State Lotteries

Powerball is unique in that it is a multi-state lottery game operated jointly by all participating state lotteries. Revenues from Powerball ticket sales are used to fund public projects approved by each state. Some examples of programs funded through lottery revenues include education, environmental protection, senior citizens services, and infrastructure improvements.

The advantage of multi-state lottery games like Powerball is that the pool of players is much larger across state lines. This enables the jackpot to grow quite large compared to in-state only lottery games. Powerball sales start at $2 per ticket, with the first $1 going to the jackpot pool. The remaining $1 funds public programs in the state where the ticket was purchased.

The following states currently participate in Powerball:

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

The next time a major jackpot grabs headlines, keep in mind it takes the combined populations of all participating states to create such enormous prize pools.

Taxes on Winnings

One downside to winning a mega millions Powerball jackpot is facing a hefty tax bill. Lottery winnings are subject to both federal and state taxes. Some key points on taxes:

– Federal tax rate is 37% on any amount over $12,750 for a single filer. State taxes vary but typically range from 4-8% of winnings.

– Jackpot winners have the choice between receiving 30 annual payments over 29 years or taking a reduced lump sum cash payout. Lump sum is often preferred for larger investments despite higher taxes.

– For the $1.586 billion jackpot, federal taxes were $247 million and California state taxes were $61 million. After all taxes, the final lump sum came to $528.8 million.

– Hiring a tax attorney and financial advisor is highly recommended to minimize tax liability where possible when claiming massive lottery prizes.

While no one ever wants to complain about winning hundreds of millions, the tax implications can take a big bite out of record jackpots and reduce the final amount substantially. Proper tax planning is essential.

Should You Play Powerball?

With odds of 1 in 292 million, it may seem foolish to spend $2 on a Powerball ticket. After all, the chance of winning is infinitely small. But here are some factors to consider:

– Someone eventually wins, even with long odds. Nine Powerball jackpots have been won so far in 2023.

– Besides the jackpot, there are secondary prizes worth $1 million to $2 million for matching some numbers. Odds range from 1 in 11,688 to 1 in 913,129.

– Buying a ticket provides entertainment value and an opportunity to dream for just $2. Lottery games bring family/friends together.

– Money spent on tickets funds public programs like education and seniors in your community (first $1 of each ticket).

Ultimately, playing the lottery is a personal choice. But it’s worth keeping in mind the entertainment value and community benefits, not just the near-impossible odds of hitting the jackpot. Moderation and responsible play is advised.

Scams and Protecting Your Winnings

Lottery winners often face increased vulnerability to scams, predatory lending schemes, and requests for money from others. Some tips on protecting your winnings:

– Sign your winning ticket immediately and store it in a safe or bank safety deposit box. Stay anonymous if allowed in your state.

– Tell as few people as possible when you win and don’t broadcast on social media. Don’t fall for scams on “releasing winnings.”

– Hire a tax attorney, financial planner, and accountant to advise on handling your money.

– Set up trusts and corporations to keep assets and accounts private. Use lawyers and partners for major purchases so your name stays out of the public eye.

– Only make close family and friends aware of your winnings if essential. Say “no” to large money requests from distant relations and strangers.

– Invest conservatively in blue chip stocks and bonds. Avoid get-rich quick schemes that promise big returns.

By laying low and protecting your identity, hiring professional advisors, making conservative financial moves, and keeping details private, you can avoid post-winning problems and safely invest newfound wealth.

Fate of Lottery Winners

Sudden wealth from massive lottery winnings is life-changing, but does not always lead to happy endings. Some lottery winner stories:

– Jack Whittaker of West Virginia won $315 million Powerball in 2002. Within 4 years, he faced 470 lawsuits and lost his granddaughter to drug overdose.

– William Post of Pennsylvania won $16.2 million in 1988. His brother tried to hire a hitman to kill him. Post declared bankruptcy 8 years later.

– Andrew Jackson “Jack” Whittaker won West Virginia Powerball drawing on Christmas, 2002, receiving $314.9 million. On Christmas day 2016, he lost his house to foreclosure.

– In 1993, a group of 13 coworkers split $68.7 million Florida lottery. By 1999, 5 declared bankruptcy after falling into debt and ruin.

– Jeffrey Dampier won $20 million in the Illinois lottery in 1996. In 2005, he was kidnapped and murdered by his own sister-in-law and her boyfriend.

As these unfortunate cases show, sudden wealth can be mismanaged easily. Absence of money management skills, lack of moderation in spending, unrealistic expectations of happiness, and strained family/friend relationships contribute heavily to problems lottery winners face. Proper financial planning, setting limits, pursuing passions, and being generous cautiously leads to more positive outcomes.

Powerball History

Here is a brief history of the Powerball lottery game:

– 1987 – Powerball begins as “Lotto America.” 6 states participate. Jackpot starts at $2 million.

– 1988 – First $5 million+ jackpot is won. $21 million in Florida.

– 1992 – Powerball name debuts. $10 million jackpot cap removed.

– 1995 – Power Play option added for more ways to win. 26 states now participating.

– 1997 – $295.7 million jackpot won in Florida. Largest U.S. jackpot at the time.

– 1998 – Double matrix change. Odds to win jackpot go from 1 in 54 million to 1 in 80 million.

– 2003 – Powerball goes coast to coast with Oregon joining as 35th state.

– 2006 – Record $365 million jackpot shared by 8 workers in Nebraska.

– 2009 – Powerball reaches $336 million then again at $333 million three months later in 2009.

– 2012 – Format changes again. $2 Powerball ticket + $1 PowerPlay option introduced.

– 2015 – Largest U.S. jackpot of $590.5 million won in Florida on May 18, 2015.

– 2016 – World record $1.586 billion jackpot hit on January 13, 2016.

The evolution of Powerball over 30+ years shows how the game has been tweaked to continue generating larger jackpots. While odds have decreased substantially, 10-figure lottery prizes have become a reality through wider participation across states.


In summary, the billion dollar Powerball jackpot captured national attention before being claimed by John and Lisa Robinson in California in 2016. Their incredible prize of $1.586 billion still stands as the largest lottery jackpot in world history. Winning Powerball’s jackpot is extremely rare, but public excitement over massive prizes leads to more ticket sales which fund state programs. Responsible play can have community benefits despite the near-impossible odds. Powerball’s history shows how the game has been strategically tweaked over decades to create mammoth jackpots through wider participation and format changes. But sudden wealth also brings challenges, so practical money management and privacy protection is key after hitting the jackpot. Powerball provides entertainment value and fuels dreams, but smart decisions and moderation lead to the greatest benefits for winners.