Powerball: The Outline

It could be argued that Powerball is not much known. Indeed, to a non-American ear, it may sound like the name of a sports game, such as football. But in fact, it’s an American lottery game offered by most US states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This is similar to other national lotteries held in some other countries. So the ball here means a numbered lottery ball that falls out of the machine. And when it comes to power, Americans kinda like that word, as in electricity or power lunch. This year Powerball hit the 30th anniversary of its establishment on April 19, 1992.

How popular are lotteries in the United States anyway? According to a June 2017 survey by Gallup, 49% of U.S. adults were buying lottery tickets making it by far the most popular gambling game in the country. Statista in turn reports that sales of state lotteries in the United States have been steadily increasing from 2009 to 2021. In 2021 they reached approximately 105.26 billion dollars. White men are more likely to buy tickets than any other group.

Powerball is considered the country’s biggest lottery both in terms of jackpots and citizens’ spending. According to bankrate.com, Americans spend an average of $1000 per person each year on lottery tickets which is $83,33 out of their monthly salary. One Powerball ticket costs $2. Since 2015, a Powerball player must choose 5 numbers out of 1 to 69 for the white balls and 1 number out of 1 to 26 for the Powerballs. This gives winning odds of 1:292,201,338. Still, these winning chances are higher than in another US lottery, Mega Million. Some players join syndicates where they pool their money with others to increase their winning odds. Drawings for Powerball are held every Wednesday and Saturday evening. The claiming period for a winning ticket is generally around 180 days, but varies slightly depending on US state. Players need to sign the back of their ticket to claim the rights to the winnings, and they have to claim their ticket in the same state where they bought their ticket even if they live in a different state.

The Powerball jackpot presently starts at $40 million and grows until it is won. Its maximum current value is $1.5 billion where the cash payout is $930 million. The rest goes to the state, city, and for federal taxes depending on the area where the ticket was bought and where the lottery winner resides. Still, the $930 million payout is huge, particularly if the winner considers a bank deposit for regular income rather than spending the prize at once. In addition to cash payout, there’s also the annuity option. In that case the winner will receive that prize in a series of 30 payments over 29 years. US powerball results are published regularly, with jackpots for every day. There are many sites where you can see lottery results. For example, this site contains most of the results including the popular Michigan lottery results.

For a non-player it’s sometimes hard to understand the lottery fever at all, let alone in the United States. But there are arguments also in favor of lotteries. Supporters say that the majority of lottery players are responsible, and a significant part of their ticket purchases goes to public-sector programs. Since 1967, more than $234.1 billion of U.S. lottery revenues has been given to various beneficiaries, such as education.  Supporters also state that such revenues for state governments benefit both smaller businesses and larger corporations participating in advertising and marketing. Additionally, lottery winners have a positive impact on their communities, and a healthy economy for all. US states can regulate the proceeds from a lottery by regulating the amount of tickets they sell. In fact, many US states require the sale of tickets to raise funds. So, all in all, dabbling in a lottery may not be as bad as it seems.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan