You can send questions by e-mail to
WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?
In Connecticut, profits from the state lottery drawings go to the Department
of Education (about half of the proceeds do, at any rate). Where do the Powerball
proceeds go? Dan S., via Internet
The profits from the Connecticut Lottery Corporation
go to General Fund for the State of Connecticut. The Powerball game
in Connecticut is a state lottery game. The profits from Powerball in
Connecticut and from any other Connecticut Lottery game is exactly the same.
The perception that the money leaves the state is one of the most difficult
concepts we have to deal with. Some lottery players actually refuse to play
the Powerball game (at least until the jackpot gets big enough)
because they believe that the profits go to the federal government or to some
other "outside" group. In every state, profits from Powerball sold in that
state go for the purposes required by state law. For example, mass transportation
in Arizona; economic
in Kansas; natural resources in Minnesota; school aid and crime control in
senior citizens and state parks in West Virginia; property tax relief in Wisconsin,
and on and on.
Here's how it actually works. The Multi-State Lottery Association (which administers
the Powerball game) is a non-profit government-benefit association
entirely owned and operated by the member state lotteries. Powerball
is a 50% prize payout game which means that 50 cents of every one dollar ticket
is paid out in prizes. The state lottery keeps 50% as its share and then pays
the rest out in prizes. The state lottery pays the cash prizes directly to
the players in its state and then sends the percentage share for the jackpot
back to the association where we hold it until there is a winner. Any
state that sells a ticket keeps ALL of the profit from that ticket. The only money
that is sent to the central organization is the money to pay the jackpot prize.
Sharing the cost of running a single game is very cost efficient. We know of
no other lottery game more profitable for a state lottery than Powerball.
I was wondering about the option of remaining anonymous after a win. Is this right part of the individual state's game laws or is it part of a state's right to privacy law? Which state would have jurisdiction- the state of my domicile or the state from which I bought the ticket? Do you know which states allow you to remain anonymous? I am mostly interested in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Arizona. Anonymous via Internet.
Is it possible to remain anonymous when collecting the money? Bruce & Sally B., via Internet.
The laws of the state where the ticket was sold will control the release of
your identity. Winners do not have to appear before the press or
even show up in person to get their check, but they are likely to
find that the press will search them out. Only one Powerball
member currently permits winners to remain anonymous (Delaware).
State lawmakers want the public to know that the lottery is honestly
run. To this end, most require that at least the name and city of
the winner be made public. This way, the public can be assured that
the prizes are being paid to a real person.
PURCHASE BY MAIL
I would like to purchase many tickets if available by mail. Is this possible?
Yashio H., Sapporo, Japan by mail.
tickets can only legally be purchased through a state lottery computer
system in the lottery jurisdictions that sell the Powerball
game. We cannot sell tickets by mail or over the Internet.
INTERNET PURCHASES / SUBSCRIPTION PLAYS
Can I purchase Powerball tickets legally from Internet lottery
tickets sites? M. Geisler, Switzerland
I would like to purchase an annual subscription to either LOTTO
or Powerball for my Connecticut-based parents. How can this be done?
Are "quick picks" for each game available or do specific sets of
numbers need to be chosen? What is the cost? Andrew B. via
Powerball tickets are not currently available over the
Internet. Any Internet lottery site that is not a member
of the Multi-State Lottery Association that purports to sell
Powerball tickets, or shares of Powerball tickets to purchasers
are not authorized by the Multi-State Lottery Association or
any state lottery. These sites are not regulated and are deemed
by lotteries and state attorney generals as illegal and fraudulent
and should not be trusted.
Powerball tickets are available in some member lottery
jurisdictions by “subscription”. A subscription
is an "off-line" purchase of a lotto play. It allows
a player to safely buy lottery tickets through the mail, over
the telephone or over the Internet. Government lotteries that
offer subscription plays will then enter the plays onto their
on-line system. This is often done in a secure environment
such as a locked room with video surveillance by lottery security.
This kind of security is used to reduce theft of cash that
may be mailed in by players (yes, some people stuff an envelope
with cash and mail it) and to control access to this type of "open" on-line
system. Under general lottery rules, the subscription play
becomes valid when the player receives mailed confirmation
that the subscription play has been entered. Many lotteries
that offer subscription plays will also notify the player if
he or she has won and will either send the winnings to the
player or will credit the winnings to future plays. Although
subscriptions are a "slow" way to play the lottery
since you have to wait for the state lottery to manually enter
the plays onto the system, some players prefer the convenience
of not having to leave their home and not having to keep track
Subscriptions would also be a tremendous opportunity for out-of-state
players. However, federal laws make out-of-state subscription plays
18 USC 1301. Importing or transporting lottery ticket .
Whoever brings into the United States for the purpose of disposing
of the same, or knowingly deposits with any express company or
other common carrier for carriage, or carries in interstate or
foreign commerce any paper, certificate, or instrument purporting
to be or to represent a ticket, chance, share, or interest in or
dependent upon the event of a lottery . . . or, being engaged in
the business of procuring for a person in 1 State such a ticket,
chance, share, or interest in a lottery, gift, enterprise or similar
scheme conducted by another State (unless that business is permitted
under an agreement between the States in question or appropriate
authorities of those States), knowingly transmits in interstate
or foreign commerce information to be used for the purpose of procuring
such a ticket, chance, share, or interest; or knowingly takes or
receives any such paper, certificate, instrument, advertisement,
or list so brought, deposited, or transported, shall be fined under
this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
The Powerball game is offered by subscription
by a few of its Member lotteries, but no Member sells plays to
out-of-state players because of the above and other federal laws.
Futures plays are available . Additionally,
Powerball future plays are available in most states. If available
in your state, they can be purchased through the retailer terminal.
You will get a single ticket good for the number of draws purchased.
BUYING TICKETS IN ANOTHER STATE OR COUNTRY.
If I live in a state not currently offering the Powerball
Game, can I still play? Kailtlin D., via Internet; E. L. via AOL.
A Powerball ticket can be purchased
only from a terminal operated by a licensed retailer in a state that sells the
Powerball game. This does not mean
that you cannot buy a ticket in a neighboring state. Laws against carrying lottery
tickets across state lines apply to persons who transport them "for the purpose
of disposing of the same" or, in other words, selling them to others for profit.
I am a Japanese lottery fan living in Japan who is fascinated with US PowerBall.
Could you please kindly advise whether I am eligible to buy PowerBall
tickets and receive the prize from USA if I am a winner? Chikao H., via
The only legal way to sell a Powerball
ticket is through the terminals controlled by the state lotteries that sell
the game. If you buy tickets from a state lottery terminal, you would then be
eligible to receive the prize.
SPECIAL REQUESTS FROM PLAYERS
Chuck, love your FAQ section. It is very informative and concise. I have
a request though for your hyperlink page which reflects the winning numbers.
Is it possible to include the locale of the winning ticket when that event occurs?
It would help someone like me who checks this page for the numbers and whose
heart races if the winning purchase was made in the area I frequently travel
to play. Thanks. Kevin G. via AOL
The Powerball home page now shows the state(s)
where Grand Prize winning tickets were sold - thanks for the great suggestion!
The estimated jackpot will be increased per usual procedure when a draw doesn't
have a jackpot winner. When there is a winner, you will see us drop back to
the starting $20 million jackpot. Some state lotteries regard the store location
as a security issue and do not release the city of the winner.
PARTICIPATING POWERBALL STATES
Could you please send me a list of the states that participate in the Powerball
game? Frank S., via U.S. Mail.
A map showing the current Powerball states can be found on our
WHEN A WINNER DIES; ESTATE TAXES
What happens to prize money if the winner dies?
Lottery prizes and the right to receive future payments of lottery prizes are
like any other property. If a winner dies before receiving all of the payments,
the remainder of the prize will be paid to the persons named in the Will or,
if there is no Will, then under the laws of Intestate Succession to the winner's
There can be an estate tax problem with large prizes. As such, the IRS requires
the immediate payment of the federal estate tax since it is in many cases likely
that an estate may not have enough cash to pay the estate tax due. The tax is
based on the present cash value of the entire prize. In this case, the Powerball
game permits the estate to request the transfer of the securities held to fund
the annuitized prize.
The estate can then sell all or some of the securities and use the proceeds
to pay off the estate tax. The amount left over can then be distributed to the
heirs. Note that there are some lottery games which do limit payments "for life".
These are clearly identified in game rules and advertisements and are usually
a key feature of the game ("win $XXXX a week for life").
ANNUITIZED PRIZES; LUMP SUM PAYMENT; INTEREST EARNINGS
Why does the lottery keep the interest on the prize? Shouldn't all of the money earned from investing the prize over time be paid to the winner?
All of the prize money is paid to the winner. When
we advertise a prize of $25 million paid over 29 years (30 payments) , we
may actually have about $13
million in cash. When someone wins the jackpot, we take bids to purchase government
securities to fund the prize payout. We take the $13 million in cash and buy
U.S. government-backed securities to fund these payments. We buy bonds that
will mature in one year at $1 million, then bonds which will mature in two
at $1 million, etc. Generally, the longer the time to maturity, the cheaper
the bonds. So you can see that the "interest" earned from the time value of
the prize is, in fact, paid to the winners. When you see an estimated jackpot
prize, we are estimating both what the sales and the market's bond prices will
be. As this can be a tricky proposition, the estimated versus actual prizes
amounts can be (and usually are) slightly different.
Changes in Federal Tax law allow you to choose payment option AFTER winning.
We were part of a group lobbying Congress to change the tax code to permit
lottery winners to have the option to make their payment election after
they win the prize. Today's winners can now hire financial advisors to help
them decide which payment option is best for them. All systems will soon turn
off the requirement that a player make the payment decision before buying a
CROSS VALIDATION; TICKET CASHING ACROSS STATE LINES
I bought what turned out to be a winning Powerball
ticket in Indiana while vacationing. Can I cash in the prize in any other state
that also sell Powerball(say, Georgia)?. Saptoyo S. via Internet..
A ticket must be cashed in the state it was purchased in. Although the Powerball game has a
common jackpot prize pool, it is actually a state lottery game and is run on
the separate computer systems of each state. After the drawing, all plays are
processed and winning tickets are posted to a state system validation file.
When a ticket is validated (cashed) in a certain state, it is recorded on that
state's central computer as a validated cashed ticket so that the ticket cannot
be cashed a second time and the retailer's account can be credited.
To permit validation in any Powerball participating
state, a secure network to instantly relay the validation information across
all systems would need to be created. This would have to be in place not only
to permit ticket cashing, but also to keep track of tickets that have been cashed.
The time it takes to cash a ticket would also increase since each state system
would have to be notified (and appropriate confirmations made) before the cashing
could take place. Since the majority of tickets are cashed in the state they
were purchased in (usually at the same store), it has not become a problem that
requires such a costly solution (in both time and money). To make the issue
even more complicated, there are currently three different vendor computer systems
used by the various state lotteries. Even the systems developed by the same
vendor do not use the same hardware, software, or even the same file structures.
PRIZE POOL PERCENTAGE; SET PRIZE VS. PARI-MUTUEL PRIZE
Is the jackpot paid as a fixed percentage of the prize pool or is it paid
based on what is left after all lower-tier prizes are paid? Saptoyo S.
The Powerball game is actually two
lottery games in one. It is a big jackpot game with an average prize of $33
million and a cash game with eight cash prize levels, including the second prize
of $200,000 in cash. Of every dollar played, about 30% goes to the jackpot and
20% goes to pay the cash prizes. The second half of your question identifies
the problem that a lottery has with paying set (or fixed) prizes instead of
pari-mutuel prizes. In the Powerball
game, all cash prizes are set prizes.
We may statistically expect to have 10 winners of the $200,000 prize for a
particular drawing, but we may actually get 40 winners. With a pari-mutuel prize,
the lottery simply divides the available prize pool among the winners. In a
set prize game like Powerball though,
we have to come up with the cash to pay those prizes. Although the payouts should
run pretty close to the statistical design of the game over the long term, we
do maintain a cash reserve to ensure that we can pay the winners at the set
cash prize levels. State lotteries that join in the game are required to contribute
to this reserve.
Despite this reserve, it is conceivable that unexpected wins exceed our reserves.
Please note the fine print on the Powerball
game brochure that covers this situation. It says that, in rare cases where
unexpected wins exceed our reserves (and our embarrassment at having to pay
less than the published prize amount), we may actually have to pay a prize as
a pari-mutuel prize. This has never happened to date.
How many tickets go unclaimed within a year (I think that's the required time)? Have any 2nd tier, 3rd tier, or even jackpot prizes gone unclaimed? I assume a few of the smaller prizes do because people may not think they have won by only matching a number or two. Darin H., via Internet.
Since each state lottery keeps the amount needed to pay their lower-tier prize
winners under our multi-state structure, we don't know the exact number of unclaimed
prizes. As you have guessed, the smaller the prize, the higher the percentage
of unclaimed prizes (there are still quite a few unclaimed 2nd tier prizes though).
The lotteries have reported that about 30% of the $1 prizes go unclaimed and
about 12% of the total prizes go unclaimed.
If a prize is not claimed, then each lottery will treat that money in accordance
with their state law or rules. Some lotteries are required to return the money
to the players as prizes (you may have seen such things as a special second-chance
drawing, etc.). Other lotteries can return the unclaimed prize money to the
state's general fund. The claim period is set by each state lottery. It varies
from 90 days to one year.
IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING?
How do you react to all the people out there making money off 'systems' that supposedly increase one's chances of winning the lotto? I've had enough mathematics/probability to realize that wheeling and any other strategy will not increase the expected value of a ticket and that you can expect to take in the same profits if everyone did follow some sort of strategy. Darin H., via Internet.
We work very hard to ensure that the numbers are truly random. Besides making
sure that the balls are equal in size, weight, and density, we also randomly
rotate between four ball sets (a total of eight sets for the two colors) and
two draw machines for each color. We chart the results of the drawings and the
pre- and post-draw tests to watch for any behavior that falls outside of statistical
expectations. If a ball set does fall outside of our very unreasonable standards
for randomness, we pull it and test it with a greater number of ball drops to
ensure it is random. In addition, each ball set is put through very precise
measurement by a government lab and is X-rayed at least annually.
We've listened to callers explain their theories which include everything from
star charts to communication with the microscopic living entities that exist
in their software program. One constant letter writer insists that, when properly
charted, our winning number combinations form connect-the-dot pictures of animals
(of course, he only connects certain dots). When all is said and done, we are
satisfied that the drawings are as random as a human being can make them. We
can, however, guarantee that you will double your chances of winning if you
buy a second ticket.
INCOME TAX; WHICH STATE TAX APPLIES?
Is federal tax taken out of the check before you receive it? What percent
would you actually receive after taxes? If $25 million were won, for example,
what would be received in the annual check? Bruce & Sally B., via
Yes, federal tax is deducted from your lottery winnings before
you receive your payment. You can think of lottery winnings just
like other income - except you don't have to work for it. Powerball
winners will receive their prize payment in one lump sum or in
a number of periodic payments depending on their election. In
either case, the lottery jurisdiction will withhold 25 percent
of the payment for Federal income tax withholding. A Form W-2G, "Certain
Gambling Winnings", will be sent to Powerball winners in
January of the following year, reporting the total prize payment
and the Federal income tax withholding amount. The total payment
in Box 1 of Form W-2G should be reported on the "Other Income" line
on the Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. (Note: As
with all financial matters, we recommend that proper professional
advice be sought before any action is taken.)
Most states also have an income tax. The amount withheld by any
given state will vary, but will be handled very much like taxes
on wages. The amount you receive after taxes will depend upon your
tax return. The federal tax and state tax that is withheld is just
the starting point. If you have a lot of charitable or other deductions
you could be looking at a refund. It is more likely, however, that
you will have to pay additional tax. Powerball jackpot winners
tend to fall into the top tax bracket which is higher than the minimum
The Powerball prize is paid in equal payments. On the $25
million prize in your example, you would get a check for $1 million
dollars each year less the federal tax withholding and less any
other tax withholding that may be required by your state. You would
receive a slightly larger payment for the first year since we buy
securities to fund the annuitized prize. Since these securities
must be purchased in increments of $1,000, any cash that is left
over is added to the first payment to the winner.
If I live in a state that doesn't have a lottery, and I win the Powerball, do I have to pay taxes in both states? Also, say I win and move to the state I win in BEFORE turning in the ticket. Do I still have to pay taxes in the first state? Margaret F. via Internet.
This kind of question is best directed to a law firm or a CPA firm. We cannot
hold ourselves out as one who gives legal or financial advice so please be advised
that our comment on questions like this is worth exactly what you pay for it
($0). Laws will vary by state, but many states have a tax reciprocity law to
figure out which state will collect the state income tax. Generally speaking,
you shouldn't have to worry about paying state income taxes in more than one
state. The issue is not settled however. There are cases in court that hope
to resolve these questions. In a February 1995 decision, the Ohio Supreme Court
decided that a Kentucky resident who won the Ohio Lottery and then moved to
Florida owed state income tax in Ohio - the state with the most logical connection
to the income. You might guess that some of our big Powerball
winners move to a state with a warm climate or to a state with no state income
tax. Where you want to live becomes a simpler question once you aren't tied
to a job and have the financial freedom to hop on a plane to visit friends and
NEW GAMES; NEWSLETTER
I enjoy playing Powerball and would
like to know if you are planning any new multi-state games. Do you have a multi-state
lottery news letter? Anthony C., Kansas City MO by mail.
There are always new game ideas offered and being considered by the lotteries.
The lotteries will offer the games that they see fitting into their product
mix. Although we don't yet have a MUSL newsletter that is available for the
public, you can subscribe to our Winning
LIMITATION ON TOP PRIZE
I don't think that the Powerball
Lottery jackpot should be allowed to go above ten, or perhaps twenty million.
Once the jackpot were to reach this limit, drawings could continue to occur
until a winner was selected. This would develop more interest in the Powerball
game and participants would feel their chances of winning would be greater.
It surely would "spread the wealth". Hazel B., Missoula MT via mail.
For a $15 million jackpot draw we sell about $12 million. For a $20 million
jackpot we sell about $13.5 million. With a $100 million jackpot we sell $25 to
$50 million for the draw (depending on time of year and other factors). Now
imagine that your job is to raise money for various public projects by selling
lottery tickets. Would you limit the jackpot size to $20 million? Many people
write to suggest that we limit the size of the jackpot or that we split up the
jackpot and give it away to a number of people. The truth is that there are
many people who do not even think about playing Powerball
until the jackpot rises to $40 million or $80 million or more. Even at $100
million we get calls from first-time players asking how to play the game. We
exist to raise revenue for the member states (and do it, we hope, in a much
more enjoyable way than by taxation). Those who play at the $10 million jackpot
level generally still play at the $100 million jackpot level. Larger jackpots
only bring in more players and more dollars. Of course, we do listen to our
players (Powerball was created after
listening to what players wanted in a lottery game) and welcome all comments
SHARING OF PRIZE; GIFT TAX
Can the Powerball winner designate
additional recipients, such as family members? Roger B. via Compuserve.
Prize claims are handled by each state lottery that sells the game. State prize
claim rules will vary, but states generally prefer to issue one check and withhold
taxes for one person. Note, however, that some state lotteries will issue separate
checks and withhold amounts for any number of persons that share in a prize.
Your question seems to suggest that a winner may decide, after winning the
jackpot, to share the prize. You should be aware that to avoid the Federal Gift
Tax, the persons who are splitting the prize must have agreed to share in the
purchase price of the ticket before the win. Most people are not aware of the
Gift Tax. When a person dies, the Federal Government collects an Estate Tax
(payable by the estate) on the assets of the estate. It would be an easy thing
to avoid the Estate Tax by simply giving the property away shortly before death.
To close this loophole, the Federal Government also assesses a Gift Tax payable
by the person making the gift. If a winner decides to give half of the winnings
to a third party, the winner will be charged with a Gift Tax on the half of
the prize he or she gives away (at rates up to 55%). In this scenario, the winner
is still liable for the income tax on the entire prize.
Players planning to split a prize should be sure to have evidence of that intention
so the IRS will not levy an additional tax for making a gift. There are some
minimum amounts that can be given away without incurring the Gift Tax, but Powerball
winners can afford to give gifts that can quickly reach the maximum Gift Tax
Do you know if winning numbers are usually "quick picks" or specifically chosen? Roger B. via Compuserve.
Of the first 59 winners in the Powerball
game, there were 41 winners (about 70%) who won using Quick Picks (or Computer
Picks or Easy Picks). The remaining 18 winners chose their own numbers. Does
this mean that you are more likely to win with a computer pick ticket? Maybe.
Seventy percent of Powerball tickets
are purchased with computer pick numbers. It may just be that the number of
computer-pick winners is comparable to the number of computer-pick purchases.
FUTURE PLAYS; TICKET REDEMPTION TIME
I am currently playing Powerball through a friend in Arizona. The sad
thing is that I can only buy a maximum of 10 draws at one time. Is there any
state in which I can buy Powerball for 52 draws at a time? John
A. via Internet.
Each state lottery selling the Powerball
game has the option of deciding such things as its ticket redemption time and
the number of plays offered as a future play. Most states offer future plays
for between 5 and 10 weeks (10 to 20 draws).
DRAWING EQUIPMENT; DRAW MACHINES; BALL SETS.
Visited your great home page, nice work. Looked at your FAQ but didn't find
what I am looking for. What device(s) are used to draw the numbers? Computer?
Plastic balls in an air machine? Rubber balls in a gravity machine or what?
Does the commission make changes to the mechanical system? What Kind? How Often?
Dale M. via Internet.
The Powerball numbers are drawn using two Halogen
drawing machines -- one for the white balls and the other for the
red balls. The balls are hard solid rubber balls that meet our exact
specifications for size, weight and density. The numbered balls
are placed into loading tubes in consecutive order and during the
show are dropped into a plastic drum and mixed for at least 5 seconds.
A turntable propels the solid rubber drawing balls, for a lively mix, and
the winning balls rise on an illuminated shaft. We use four sets of
white balls and four sets of red balls. One set of each color is
randomly selected to be used for each drawing.
I thought the balls were changed more frequently. Don't they suffer damage
from bouncing off each other and the plastic drum twice a week? I remember having
a super ball when I was a kid, it had chips all over it. And are the solid white/red
or painted? Doesn't the paint chip? Cynthia C., via Internet.
The balls seem to last without any apparent damage. We have to change them
at times due to discoloration, typically yellowing, that occurs over time. The
balls are hard rubber and are colored all the way through. The numbers are painted
on but we don't have any trouble with the paint coming off. Our original balls
cost $100 apiece and were made under pretty exacting specifications for size,
weight, density, and durability. Competition and improved technology has brought
the price down to around $50 but they can be expected to last longer than a
dime-store ball. I had a super ball too. I guess that dates us (unless they
made a comeback sometime later).
Do you use only one set of white balls and one set of red ones or do you
rotate different sets in drawing the numbers for the Powerball game? Dale
M., via Internet.
We use four sets of white balls and four sets of red balls. The ball set to
be used at a particular drawing is randomly selected by the Drawing Manager
and the security official (a city police officer hired by some of the member
lotteries). The selection is observed by an independent auditing firm.
WHERE IS THE DRAWING HELD?
Could you please answer two questions for me: 1) Date, time, and place of
1st Powerballdrawing? 2) Time and place that the Powerballis drawn
each Wednesday and Saturday? Thank you. Ron G. via Internet
The first Powerball drawing was held on April 22, 1992, at 10:59 p.m.
Eastern Time at ITC Studios in West Des Moines, Iowa. The Powerball drawing
is currently being drawn at the same place and time every Wednesday and Saturday
night unless we are on a remote drawing. We usually do several remote draws
DO THEY TAKE OUT BACK TAXES, CHILD SUPPORT, ETC?
I read on another lottery page that state lotteries check each jackpot winner's
background for child support payments due, past due tickets, outstanding warrants,
back taxes, etc. Is this true? What is the process jackpot winners go through
when they go to lottery headquarters to claim their prize? Mindy M.,
Many state lotteries are being required by their state legislatures to deduct
any money owed to the state before paying out lottery winnings. It started
several years ago and the concept is sweeping the states as an easy way to
get back money owed. Back child support and unpaid taxes are both likely
deduction areas, but it will vary by state.
Jackpot winners need to claim their prize at the central lottery office in
the state where they purchased their ticket. The ticket is verified on the computer
system through a number of different checks. The lottery usually gives some
advice on seeking financial and legal advice along with some practical advice
like getting an unlisted phone number and leaving town for a while. All but
a very states have laws that require the lottery to make public the name and
city of every winner (to assure the public that there are real winners). The
lottery will ask the winner to participate in a press conference. Most take
that option. It really is a good idea to get it over with since the press is
likely to hound you anyway until they get some questions answered. In the Powerball
game, it takes two weeks to gather the money from the member lotteries to make
the first payment.
The winners are usually in a state of semi-shock and everybody treats them
very gently. Almost all winners check their tickets several times and have friends
make repeated checks. They typically don't really believe it until the moment
that the security officials come into the director's office and confirm that
the ticket is a winner. The winners usually wait for about 45 minutes in the
director's office chatting while the security checks are being done. Although
the whole process can be completed in a hour or so, the winners usually end
up spending most of the day at the lottery. Most lotteries take them on a tour,
spend time answering questions, bring in a lunch, and hold the press conference.
When a person wins the Powerball, is it true that there is a search done
to see if that person has ever been on welfare or unemployment, etc., and if
they have been, that half of their winnings are confiscated by the state that
paid them? Can you send me the rules on this? Frank S., via U.S. Mail.
While it is common for states to require lotteries to withhold amounts owed
to the state for such obligations as child-support payments, unpaid taxes, unpaid
fines, etc., we are only aware of one state that requires a deduction for welfare
payments. We understand that the State of New York will now deduct up to half
of a person's lottery winnings to pay back welfare payments previously made
to that person. Although this plan has received popular support, it is an entirely
new treatment of welfare payments. It is certainly reasonable to deduct payments
from lottery winnings, tax refunds, or even wages to pay back unpaid taxes or
other legal debts, but before this action by the State of New York, welfare
payments have never been treated as a debt that must be repaid.
Does this mean that a person who was once on welfare, but now has a job, can
be forced to pay back the welfare payments? This is likely to be a much-debated
issue. Since the Powerball game
is not sold in the State of New York, there are no deductions for welfare that
may have been paid in New York. The Powerball
game is operated under the laws of the local state lottery and the same laws
that apply to the local state lottery will apply to the Powerball
game as sold in that state. If a state does adopt a law requiring the lottery
to make a deduction for past welfare payments, then the local lottery must make
that deduction and return that portion of the winnings to the state.
CLAIM PERIOD; WAITING TO CLAIM A PRIZE
What is the time limit a jackpot ticket holder has to contact the Powerball
offices and how long can he/she wait to turn it in pick up his winnings?
This question is to settle a argument based on this scenario. A person has
a winning Powerball ticket for say 60 million dollars, he waits a week
to call the Powerball offices. He contacts the office and verifies the
winning ticket over the phone but says he doesn't want to pick up the prize
money until his divorce is final. This is approximately one year from his call
to the office. Steven B., via Internet.
Each state lottery that sells Powerball tickets can set the time limit
claiming the prize. The following states use a 180-day claim period: AZ, CO, ID,
IN, KY, LA, MO, MT (MT actually says 6 months), NE, SC, SD, TN, WV, and WI.
There is a 90-day claim period in NM. The other states
have a claim period of one year (CT, DE, DC, IA, KS, MN, NH, OR, PA and RI).
Under your scenario, the ticket holder would have to actually turn over the
ticket and claim the prize within the claim period. The clock starts running
at the draw day, not the day that the winner calls the lottery. The issue may
be moot however, since the spouse would likely have a valid claim on a share
of the prize -- even if claimed "after" a divorce. The right to claim the prize
during the marriage is likely to be the deciding factor, not the actual claiming
of the prize.
WHO SUPERVISES Powerball?   CAN YOU PLAY?
What company supervises the Powerball winning number selection? Is
it true that any employee of such company cannot accept the prize (in the unlikely
event of picking the winner numbers)? Liz F., via AOL.
The Powerball game is sold through the state lotteries just
like any other state lottery game. The Multi-State Lotter Association
performs administrative, financial, and other services to run the
game. The directors of the member state lotteries sit on this association's
Board of Directors. It is true that none of us can play the Powerball
game. For that matter, we are prohibited from playing any lottery
game (even instant scratch ticket games) in any member state. In
truth, there are enough safeguards that we couldn't turn ourselves
into winners. Eligibility stipulations aside, it would be pretty
difficult to explain to the public how a Multi-State Lottery Association
employee just won a $100 million Powerball prize.
DISCLOSING NAMES OF WINNERS / PRESS CONFERENCES
Are winners of the Powerball jackpot required to divulge their names
and give a press conference after they win?
Most state lotteries are required to divulge the names of their
winners to help ensure the integrity of the games. Winners are
not “required” to perform press conferences, however,
they are generally recommended. It gives the winners a
chance to answer the usual questions without the Press having to “hunt