Here’s what you need to know about how the lottery works if you’re thinking of trying it.
When are Powerball drawings?
The draws are held every Wednesday and Saturday at 8 p.m. PT (11 p.m. ET).
How much is the jackpot currently?
The Powerball stands at $ 129 million on April 29, or a cash value of $ 89.6 million. Each time it is not awarded, the pot grows by approximately $ 10 million.
Has anyone really gained anything in recent drawings?
A lucky Florida resident won the $ 238 million jackpot after the March 27th draw. In Michigan, another player walked away with $ 150,000 after matching four white balls and the Powerball while also playing the Power Play option.
How does the Powerball game work?
The player chooses five white balls numbered 1 through 69, and a red Powerball from any number between 1 and 26. These numbers are chosen using a play slip available at most convenience stores. Each Powerball game costs $ 2. You can also choose Quick Pick, where a computer randomly selects your numbers.
While drawing, the white balls are selected from one rotating drum and the red balls from the other. When Lotto America became the Powerball in 1992, the game began with two lottery-style spinning drums – before that, Lotto America used two separate machines to draw.
These are the ways a ticket can win and the odds of winning (according to the Multi-State Lottery Association’s Powerball site):
- Match all six numbers, win the whole pot (or the cash value)
Odds: 1 in 292,201,338
- Combine all five white balls and win $ 1 million
Odds: 1 in 11,688,053.52
- Combine four white balls and the red Powerball and win $ 50,000
Odds: 1 in 913,129.18
- Match just four white balls and win $ 100
Odds: 1 in 36,525.17
- Combine three white balls and the red Powerball, win $ 100
Odds: 1 in 14,494.11
- Match three white balls and win $ 7
Odds: 1 in 579.76
- Combine two white balls and the Powerball, win $ 7
Odds: 1 in 701.33
- Combine a white ball and the Powerball and win $ 4
Odds: 1 in 91.98
- Only match the Powerball, win $ 4
Odds: 1 in 38.32
You have a 1 in 24.9 chance of winning anything at all. Why aren’t the odds of just matching the Powerball 1 in 26? Because you shouldn’t have matched white balls either. The Missouri Lottery website has an explanation here.
How the money is paid to the winner
Winners can receive the amount in installments over a number of years or receive a one-time cash payment. For example, if a winner chooses to take a lump sum from the jackpot of $ 129 million, that amount will not be real. According to the Powerball website, this is the amount it takes to be in the prize pool to fund the estimated annuity prize. However, it will still be a lot of money. A woman who won a $ 188 million Powerball jackpot in 2015 reportedly took a one-off amount of $ 126 million.
You can also choose to receive the payout in 30 annual installments over 29 years, with those annuity benefits increasing by 5%.
You must claim your lottery winnings on your taxes using the 1099-MISC form for miscellaneous winnings. Depending on where you live, state and local taxes can charge 13% of your profits. In addition, whenrolls around, you will likely be in one than you were before you won, so the highest federal tax rate of 37% will come into play.
However, Powerball winners are more likely to opt for the one-time cash payment, according to the lottery website. Only about four winners have chosen to receive their winnings as annuities since 2003. Before 2020, two jackpots were unclaimed and two were anonymous.
The odds don’t seem to be in my favor. What better way to spend my money?
In comparison, you’re more likely to be struck by lightning (one in 500,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) than you have of winning $ 50,000 or more in the Powerball. Statistically, it is not the most sensible way to gamble.
There are plenty of games under $ 2 on Steam and movies you can watch online. And if you play twice a week every week of the year, that’s about $ 208, you would wash away. If you put that money aside instead, you’ll have enough to make, say, aat the end of the year.
Qualifications to play the Powerball
You must be at least 18 years old to play the Powerball. You do not need to be a US citizen or a US resident to play. You can also play if you are not a resident of the state in which you bought the ticket.
Why is Idaho ending its participation in Powerball?
The Idaho legislature has voted to abandon the Powerball game in August, the Associated Press reported in March. The move comes as a result of Powerball’s expansion to Australia in 2021 and the UK in 2022. Idaho’s current state law only allows residents to participate in lotteries in the US and Canada, and as such, Idaho Lottery officials have a change sought to include the new lands. The bill was shot in a vote of 10-4 in the State Affairs Committee of the House of the Legislature. In response to the news, Idaho Lottery’s statement emphasized that state residents can still play Powerball for now, with the state registering two $ 50,000 winners on March 10.
“Work is continuing with the legislature to determine an alternative path forward to ensure that services to Idaho’s most popular lottery game are not disrupted, for the benefit of Idaho’s public schools and buildings,” the lottery organization said.
Can you still play Lotto America?
Yes, but not the original 1992 game that became the Powerball. You can play Lotto America – the revival of the game that replaced the fraud-ridden Hot Lotto game in 2017. The draws take place every Wednesday and Saturday at 8:15 pm PT (11:15 pm ET). Players choose five numbers between 1 and 52 along with a Star Ball numbered 1 to 10. There are also nine ways to win Lotto America, but the chance to hit the jackpot (meaning all five numbers match plus the Star Ball ) is 1 in nearly 26 million.
Only 13 states still play Lotto America – Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
Upcoming schedule of Powerball and other lottery events
Every Wednesday and Saturday at 8 p.m. PT (11 p.m. ET)
Tuesday and Friday at 8 p.m. PT (11 p.m. ET)
Wednesday and Saturday at 8:15 pm PT (11:15 pm ET)
Every night at 6 p.m. PT (9 p.m. ET)
Disclaimer: CNET is not affiliated with any organization that organizes lotteries, nor do we endorse participation. Playing the lottery is a game and your chances of winning are determined by the organization that runs the lottery. CNET may receive affiliate income from trading links; there are no comparable agreements between CNET and organizations running the lottery. This story is for informational purposes only and is not financial advice.