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How to Play Powerball Lottery
Where and When?
The Powerball lottery is a US multi –state lottery game that began in 1987 and is run by the Multi State Lottery Association (MUSL). The Powerball is available in the following jurisdictions:
Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachussets, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, US Virgin Islands, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin.
Powerball drawings are held twice a week on Wednesdays and on Saturdays at 10:59 EST. Since January of 2009 when Florida joined the Powerball, the drawings are held at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
Powerball drawings make use of two drums. One is used to draw the five main numbers from the range of 1 to 59, also referred to as the white balls, and another is used to draw the Powerball number from 1 to 35.
In any given line, a player must choose five distinct numbers from 1 to 59, and a separate Powerball number from 1 to 35.
In order to win the Powerball jackpot a player must guess all five main numbers correctly, as well as matching the Powerball. In total there are nine prize levels, depending in how many numbers a player has matched correctly. A prize is given even to players who only matched the Powerball. Given the graduated prize levels, the probability of winning any Powerball prize is 1 in 31,8.
Powerball jackpots start at $40 million annuity. When there are no players to win the jackpot, the jackpot is rolled over and at the next draw grows by at least $5 million, making the new jackpot prize $45 million. The jackpots keep increasing until there is a winner. Players who guessed the five main numbers correctly but not the Powerball number receive the second level prize which is equal to $1 million.
Collecting the Prizes
Powerball jackpot winners have a choice to make. They can receive their prize in a cash lump sum or in annuity payments. The annuity payments are paid out in 30 payments over the course of 29 years. The payments are not equal in value but are gradually increased each year. The lump sum payment is usually equal to about half the advertised jackpot, as that number is the calculated amount over the 29 yearly payments.
Winners of the Powerball jackpot can choose cash or annuity payments only after claiming their win, but they must do so within 60 days. In Idaho, jackpot winners have 30 days following the claiming of the prize to decide. In Florida and Missouri they have 60 days from the day of the draw to make the choice between cash and annuity. Depending on the MUSL jurisdiction in which the ticket was bought, all prize level winners have between 90 days to a year to claim their prizes.
When there are multiple winners, the jackpot prize fund is shared equally by all winners.
Powerball players must be at least 18 years of age. In Nebraska the minimum age is 19, and in Louisiana, Iowa and Arizona players must be over 21.