6 things to know about Powerball

Lotto fever builds as the jackpot hits $360 million, while Mega Millions climbs to $190 million.

By Kim Peterson May 15, 2013 2:20PM
Credit: © Chris O'Meara/AP
Caption: File photo of a Powerball lottery ticketMore than half a billion dollars is ready for the taking as the Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots roll over this week.

Wednesday's Powerball prize stands at an estimated $360 million, the third-largest Powerball jackpot in history. The cash option before taxes is worth $229.2 million.

Every time the jackpot has climbed this high, someone has won, according to Philly.com. No wonder people are lining up to grab tickets.

Here are six things you might not know about Powerball:

Huge jackpots are here to stay. These giant prizes we've seen lately are partly a result of the cross-selling of Powerball and Mega Millions tickets that began in January 2010, The Associated Press reports. In that expansion, the Powerball lottery broadened to 43 jurisdictions. Large jackpots are "the new normal," Iowa Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer said.

A game change makes it easier to win. A January 2012 redesign added $1 million and $2 million prizes, making it easier to win something, even if that something isn't the huge jackpot, AP reports. This Powerball chart shows all the ways to win.

Here's how to win $4: There are 35 "red ball" numbers, and any ticket with the correct red ball wins at least $4. So you are 100% guaranteed to win $4 if you buy 35 tickets, each with a different red ball number. It's kind of a way for large-group gamblers to get their own discount, or rebate, with every draw, according to the Powerball site.

Most of you can't win anonymously. Only five states let you win in secret: Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota and Ohio. The rest have laws requiring the lottery to announce the winners and their cities of residence to anyone who asks. Most states let you decide whether you want to have your photo distributed or host a press conference, according to the Powerball site.

The annuity payouts are different. The Powerball annuity payout comes in graduated amounts, increasing by 4% a year to keep up with inflation over 29 years. The Mega Millions annuity is in equal amounts paid over 25 years.

No one really wants a $1 million prize. People have told Powerball to change the system to award lots of people $1 million each instead of a mega jackpot. So Powerball started that game and what happened? No one played.

More on moneyNOW

Tags: Gambling
May 15, 2013 4:25PM
They say that no one wanted to play for just a 1 mil prize.....  Wrong, the reason it didn't work is because they never let anyone know it was offered. I'd much rather have a chance of winning a smaller piece of pie than to have no chance of winning any pie at all. The Lotto people make more money off the big jackpots so they want to keep people coming in for the greed of winning several million verses several thousand or just a million or so. GREED, then is the operative word... for both the mega players and the lotto commission....mostly the commission. I will not play if there is no chance in H3LL of winning, I would however play if they tossed me a bone of a thousand or few thousand back for all the money I've pumped into the games since they started. Having never won a penny after investing thousands in game tickets I've stopped wasting my money until they make the odds of winning at least a smaller prize obtainable.
May 15, 2013 5:06PM

If the powerball gangsters offered prizes of one million dollars sometime in the past, I would like to know when.

Silentflute is correct. It was kept a secret. Actually, it was probably never offered. Just another pack of lies by the gangsters running the powerball.

Also, almost everytime the big money is won it is east of the Mississippi.

May 15, 2013 3:37PM
The lottery is a game for people who are bad at math. I suck at math, so I'll buy a couple tickets tonight :P
May 15, 2013 3:07PM
I wouldn't take the annuity.  Take the lump sum.  That's what I plan on doing after I win tonight.
May 15, 2013 5:58PM

We are talking about 2 bucks a week to have a slim chance to change  your families lives. It's fun and long as you don't get crazy, it lets you dream. I've known 3 people who have hit it "big". My sister was one of them. Unfortunately, when her ship came in, it was only worth $396,825. She was able to buy a house for cash. Not bad for a $2 investment!

May 15, 2013 6:18PM
Lotto is only stupid until you win.
May 15, 2013 6:26PM
So, you spend $70.00 for 35 tickets and win $4.00 and you're a winner.  Who writes this crap?
May 15, 2013 6:12PM
When and what game did the lottery offer several $1 million prizes?
I would much prefer to cap the winnings at $10 mil and roll over the additional amount into another pull off the same ticket.  Meaning at $12 mil they'd pull once for $10 mil and again for the $2 mil, now I have 2 chances plus 2 chances to win one of the other prizes.  If it got say $63 mil, they'd pull 6 times for $10 mil each and once for the $3 mil. Now I have 7 chances to win something. I'd bet a whole lot more that way.
May 15, 2013 5:11PM

Winning the lotto often ruins a persons life.

I'm just giving Karma a chance to get back at me for all of those bad things that I have done.

May 15, 2013 3:18PM

Annuity would be better for me.  Even after a bad divorce losing half, or bad investments...or stupid purchases, I would still be guaranteed future money.  Even after a year or two, old relatives that come out of the woodwork with sob stories and their hand out would die down.  I could ensure I would be rich for years to come.


A single payout could be gone in two years due to a few idiotic lawsuits and/or a bad/criminal financial planner.

May 15, 2013 8:18PM
Its my chance to dream, retire early,(I am 50), and travel like I allways wanted. Its entertainment for me, like some people bowl, go to movies, etc. If you don't like it, or think players are foolish, then DONT play. I wonder though, what do the haters spend their $ on, that PB players may think is foolish? Are people ever going to get along about anything?
May 15, 2013 7:14PM

I'm extremely math deficient.  I figure, somebody eventually wins, and their odds are the same as everybody else's.  So I've got my tix for tonight. 


If I win, you can bet I'm going to Disneyland!!!!!

May 15, 2013 7:47PM
At my age (60), I would take the lump sum.  If I were in my 20's, I would go the regular route.  
May 15, 2013 3:28PM
What a sucker game Powerball is.  They double the cost of a ticket to $2, raising the odds per dollar to 350 million to one.  Then if you take the cash payment you get about 63.6 % of the prize.  Play the Mega Millions, the odds are still 175 million to one and the cash payout is 74% of the prize. 
May 15, 2013 5:41PM
Playing the Lottery makes AT LEAST as much sense as gambling in indian casinos on I-35 (and I guarantee you those places are packed right now with people spending their welfare checks and chain-smoking).........
May 15, 2013 4:36PM

Lies    Lies    Lies


You have a better chance of buying a ticket on the USS Enterprise and establishing a colony on the planet Loozar than winning the lotto with the odds as they are. Just winning a partial prize with the Lotto games would be better than winning the whole thing. But that is about the same odds as having a pleasant experience with Chase Banks Mortgage Department. The odds are stacked up so high against winning even a fraction of the jackpot is ...well, shall we say astronomical.

May 15, 2013 6:25PM

The united states, at one time was known for the American dream, That dream has been taken away and been replaced with the lottery . not only that it is a huge tax on the poor and elderly.

May 15, 2013 9:21PM
Hi  You probably don't know me, but I'm your 12th cousin, twice removed.  I'm already rich, so I didn't let you know I existed.  I was afraid you would beg for money.  I heard you won the lottery, congratulations!  My Porsche needs new seat covers, and with the new boat and house I just bought, left me a little short.  Could you see your way to................
May 15, 2013 4:07PM
Stupid is the new normal.  But in reality it is not.  As one of my former direct reports, an exemplary engineer at an engine factory in S-central Indiana once proclaimed - - - STUPID IS NORMAL.
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