|Minimum jackpot||$ 40 000 000|
Powerball is an exceptionally popular lottery. Its history dates back to 1988, when it was founded as Lotto*America. It was renamed four years later to its current (catchier) name Powerball. The game concept has also changed in order to allow unlimited jackpots.
The principles of Powerball
The lottery principle remains the same, more or less. To win the First Prize, you need to guess 5 numbers + 1 bonus number (the Powerball). However, its specific rules have changed recently. Until November 2015, you had to guess 5 numbers out of 59. Now it's a little bit harder. You still need to guess 5 numbers (plus a bonus number) but you now have 65 options to choose from. The bonus number is chosen from 26 (previously 35) numbers. The chance to win the Jackpot has therefore "slightly" decreased to 1:292,201,338.
The so-called Power Play is a highly attractive feature and a good way of increasing your winnings. It is basically a bonus multiplier for your win. However, it does not apply to the Jackpot. When submitting your ticket, you need to decide whether you want to play for a Jackpot or if you want to pay one dollar more for the chance to multiply your win on lower positions.
In this system, your win is multiplied by a specially drawn multiplier (2 to 5) that has been assigned to the position of your win (the multiplier may differ for different winnings). Another limitation is that if you win the second prize, even with a multiplier of 5 your maximum prize is still 40,000,000 dollars.
The biggest lottery win – a Guinness World Record
Powerball is also a holder of a Guiness World Record. In particular, it paid out the highest Jackpot in history. On 13 January 2016 three winners shared a main prize which amounted to an unbelievable 1.5864 billion USD.
By the way, the lucky winner can choose if they want their win paid out as a one-off payment (subject to 35% tax) or paid in installments for 30 years.
Difference from Mega Millions
Powerball is quite similar to Mega Millions but there are nonetheless some differences. You need to guess 5 numbers and 1 bonus number in both games. In Powerball you choose main numbers from 69 numbers and the bonus number is selected from 26 numbers, whereas in Mega Millions you choose the main numbers from 75 possibilities and the bonus number from 15.
The main difference (which is why Powerball is more popular) is the value of the minimum Jackpot. In Powerball it is 40 million USD, significantly higher than the 15 million USD in Mega Millions.