Five numbers and a little red ball have the power to change lives. Since 1992, Powerball has been making millionaires out of hard-working, day-dreaming lottery players throughout the nation, Pennsylvania included.
Powerball is a draw game offered in 45 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) is a nonprofit organization formed by US lotteries. The group manages the national Powerball operations. The Pennsylvania Lottery manages tickets sales and payouts in the Keystone State. It is also one of few states where you can purchase Powerball tickets online in addition to through live retailers statewide.
Powerball’s minimum advertised jackpot is $40 million. That amount continues to increase until the jackpot hits. So, just how tall is $40 million?
According to the Powerball website, $40 million worth of stacked $100 bills would be as tall as the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Now you know.
When Powerball sales dipped due to coronavirus-related closures throughout the country in spring of 2020, the Lottery instated a temporary reduction of the base jackpot to $20 million, with roll increases based on ticket sales and interest rates.
How to play the Powerball
Powerball players select five white ball numbers from 1 to 69 and then choose one red Powerball number from 1 to 26.
Each ticket costs $2, or $3 when choosing to add the $1 Power Play option.
Power Play is a Powerball feature that multiplies non-jackpot prizes up to 10 times. The Power Play is randomly selected just before each drawing.
Are you a player that chooses the same sentimental numbers every time you play? Well, the Powerball has a fun feature that allows a player to see if their favorite numbers have ever won.
Players indicate their numbers by filling out a play slip found at any of the over 9,000 Pennsylvania lottery retailers. Not particularly sentimental about a group of numbers? Well, then, the lottery terminal can randomly choose the numbers for you.
The Powerball and Power Play fine print:
- There are nine ways to win
- The 10X Power Play is only possible with jackpots of $150 million or less
- The Match 5 Power Play prize is always $2 million
Your odds of winning the Powerball
The odds of winning the big jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338. The overall odds of winning any prize are 1 in 24.87. Those odds do not change based on the jackpot size or the number of tickets sold.
All prizes except for the grand prize are set amounts. Here are the odds for a standard $2 ticket:
|Numbers Matched||Prize Amount||Odds of Winning|
|5 + Powerball||Jackpot||1 in 292,201,338.00|
|5 w/o Powerball||$1 million||1 in 11,688,053.52|
|4 + Powerball||$50,000||1 in 913,129.18|
|4 w/o Powerball||$100||1 in 36,525.17|
|3 + Powerball||$100||1 in 14,494.11|
|3 w/o Powerball||$7||1 in 579.76|
|2 + Powerball||$7||1 in 701.33|
|1 + Powerball||$4||1 in 91.98|
|Powerball||$4||1 in 38.32|
Power Play prize chart
|# of matching white balls||# of matching red balls||2x Power Play||3x Power Play||4x Power Play||5x Power Play||10x Power Play|
The Power Play odds
|Power Play||Odds with 10x Power Play||Odds without 10x Power Play|
|2x||1 in 1.79||1 in 1.75|
|3x||1 in 3.31||1 in 3.23|
|4x||1 in 14.33||1 in 14|
|5x||1 in 21.5||1 in 21|
|10x||1 in 43||N/A|
Weekly Powerball drawings
Drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 p.m. ET. Ticket sales end at 10 p.m. ET on drawing days although some state lotteries close down ticket sales earlier. Pennsylvania Lottery stops selling tickets at 10 p.m. ET.
Most drawings take place at the Florida Lottery’s studio in Tallahassee. The draw produces five out of 69 available white balls and one out of 26 red balls, or the Powerball.
How to find out if you are a winner
The PA Lottery app is available in iTunes and the Google Play store. The app includes the Ticket Checker feature, which allows a player to scan tickets, except for Xpress Sports tickets, to determine if they are winners.
Simply find the barcode which is located at the bottom corner, or under the “Scratch to Cash” area on scratch-offs. Another benefit of Ticket Checker is it automatically enters the player into eligible second-chance drawings.
The Ticket Checker’s hours of operation are 6:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. daily. Ticket Check is unavailable from midnight until 5:59 a.m. for system checks and upgrades.
How to use Ticket Checker:
- Choose Scan Ticket inside the app
- Use your phone’s camera to scan the large corner barcode
- The results appear immediately
The PA Lottery app does more than just identify a winning ticket. PA Lottery players can also:
- Play iLottery games
- Purchase Powerball and Mega Millions tickets, up to 13 weeks in advance of drawings
- View the latest scratch-offs and prizes remaining, and demo these games
- See the remaining progressive top prizes for Fast Play tickets
- Watch Keno and determine if your ticket is a winner
- Gather all the latest Xpress Sports results
- Find the nearest PA Lottery retailer
Players without the PA lottery app can compare their numbers to the official numbers drawn on the Pennsylvania Lottery website. Several local PA television stations carry the result live, including:
- WJET Channel 24 at 11:20 p.m.
- WGAL Channel 8 at 11:20 p.m.
- WTAJ Channel 10 at 11:20 p.m.
- WTXF Channel 29 at 11:00 p.m.
- WPXI Channel 11 at 11:11 p.m.
- WNEP Channel 16 at 11:00 p.m.
How to claim your Powerball winnings
There are two key amounts that help determine the process for claiming a prize: $600 and $2,500.
A prize of less than $600 can be redeemed at any Lottery retailer or office. Prizes are usually paid immediately unless the retailer does not have enough cash on hand to pay. If that is the case, the player can go to another retailer or mail in their claim.
For prizes of $600 or more, a claim form must accompany the signed lottery ticket before the retailer pays out the prize. Forms are available online, at Lottery retailers, or at Lottery offices.
Once the prize amount reaches $2,500, the Lottery pays the prize money at a Lottery office or by mail. All Powerball jackpot ticket holders must take their winning ticket to Lottery headquarters.
A player lucky enough to win the jackpot will have to choose between to prize distributions:
- One-lump sum
The lump-sum option is just that, one lump sum that is less than the advertised jackpot. The annuity option guarantees the winner 30 payments over 29 years. Each payment increases by five percent and the sum of all payments will equal the advertised jackpot minus taxes.
Officially, the Lottery states that prize checks will arrive in four to six weeks after the claim. The time allows the Lottery to validate the winning ticket and make the necessary arrangements.
There may be a delay in processing claims submitted in December. To ensure prize money and tax forms are issued in the same year, the Lottery reserves the process some claims until January.
Check your Powerball tickets
In PA, Powerball tickets expire one year from the drawing date. After 180 days, however, lottery players must redeem tickets worth more than $100 at a lottery office and submit a claim form.
Players, including those from out of state, also have the option of claiming their prize via mail.
Sign and complete the information on your winning ticket. Make a copy of the ticket, both front and back. Complete a claim form if the prize is over $600 and submit it with your ticket.
The address for making a claim by mail is:
1200 Fulling Mill Road, Suite 1
Middletown, PA 17057
Note: The Pennsylvania Lottery will only pay prizes on tickets sold in the state of PA.
Biggest Powerball jackpots
On Jan. 13, 2016, Powerball awarded the largest lottery jackpot, not only in Powerball history but in lottery history. The $1.586 billion jackpot stayed on top even after a run towards the record by a Mega Millions $1.537 billion jackpot in Oct. 2018.
The historic Powerball jackpot was split between three lucky lottery players in:
- Chino Hills, California
- Munford, Tennessee
- Melbourne Beach, Florida
The largest Powerball jackpot in Pennsylvania hit in March 2018 for $456.7 million. The ticket was sold at a Speedway store at 675 Lancaster Road in Manheim.
The Emerald Legacy Trust came forward to claim the prize and opted for the cash option of $274 million. In total, Pennsylvania is home to 18 Powerball jackpot winners.
To date, the Powerball produced seven of the top ten lottery jackpot prizes. Mega Millions holds the other three.
The top five Powerball jackpots are:
|Rank||Amount||Date||# of winning tickets||Location|
|1||$1,586.5 billion||Jan. 13, 2016||3||CA, FL, TN|
|2||$758.7 million||Aug. 23, 2017||1||MA|
|3||$687.8 million||Oct. 27, 2018||2||IA, NY|
|4||$590.5 million||May 18, 2013||1||FL|
|5||$587.5 million||Nov. 28, 201||2||AZ, MO|