Find answers to common questions
Sales cut-off times vary by selling jurisdiction. Please check with your local lottery for more information.
Some lotteries sell Powerball® tickets over the Internet, but the service is only available to residents of that jurisdiction. The sale of Powerball tickets over the Internet or by mail across jurisdictional borders is restricted. Lotteries may refuse to pay out prize money on Powerball tickets purchased on any website other than their own. Please contact your lottery with any further questions.
You do not have to be a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident to play Powerball®. Players from jurisdictions where Powerball tickets are not sold, either in the United States or outside the country, when visiting a selling jurisdiction, can purchase Powerball tickets from a retailer licensed or authorized by the selling jurisdiction, if they meet the legal age requirement in the jurisdiction of purchase. Federal and jurisdictional income taxes may apply to any claimed prize money.
The 10X multiplier is only in play when the advertised jackpot annuity is $150 million or less.
Powerball® tickets print the white ball numbers in numerical order of a given play. You can match the white ball numbers in any order of a given play to win a prize. The red Powerball number of a given play on your ticket must match the red Powerball drawn. Each play on a ticket is separately determined; players cannot crisscross play lines on a ticket or combine numbers from other tickets.
While there are many factors that determine the advertised Grand Prize estimate in the Powerball® game; two important ones are games sales and the annuity factor.
A number of variables can affect game sales, such as seasonality or a big Mega Millions jackpot. Traditionally, game sales are stronger for a Saturday drawing versus a Wednesday drawing.
The annuity factor, or the cost to fund an annuity prize, is another key component. The annuity factor is made up of interest rates for securities purchased to fund prize payments. The higher the interest rates, the higher the advertised Grand Prize. You might not realize that an economic reality like interest rates impact even the Powerball jackpot, but they do!
Most players think the odds of matching the Powerball to win a prize are 1 in 26, since the Powerball is drawn from a field of numbers from 1 to 26.
But consider this…
The odds of matching the Powerball ALONE are harder than 1 in 26, because there is also the chance you could match one or more white balls, in addition to the Powerball, to win another prize.
Powerball numbers are drawn from two sets of numbers, so the odds of winning a prize are calculated by combining the odds for both sets of numbers for all prize levels. The odds for matching just the Powerball are calculated by combining the odds of selecting the Powerball and the odds of not selecting any of the five numbers from the first set of numbers drawn.
Prizes must be claimed in the jurisdiction where the winning ticket was purchased. Players can generally claim a prize up to $600 at any licensed lottery retailer in the jurisdiction where they bought the ticket. Prizes over $600 can be claimed at some lottery offices, depending on the amount, and also at lottery headquarters. Please contact your lottery with any further questions.
Ticket expiration dates typically vary from 90 days to one year depending on the selling jurisdiction. The expiration date is often listed on the back of your ticket. If the expiration date is not listed, check with your lottery.
Unclaimed prizes are kept by the lottery jurisdiction. If a Grand Prize goes unclaimed, the money must be returned to all lotteries in proportion to their sales for the draw run. The lotteries then distribute the money, based on their own jurisdiction's laws, to other lottery games or to their jurisdiction's general fund, or otherwise as required by law.
Every jurisdiction has its own law on winners remaining anonymous. Some jurisdictions are required by law to provide the winner's name, city of residence, game won and prize amount to any third party that requests the information. Some jurisdictions allow winners to claim a prize as a trust or other legal entity thus allowing some anonymity from public disclosure of their information. Check with your lottery to see if taking a photo of the winner is required and what its rules are on prize claims. Regardless of how a prize is claimed, the person who purchased the winning ticket must be known to the lottery so officials can confirm you are eligible to play and to comply with other legal requirements.
A Powerball jackpot winner may choose to the receive their prize in 30 annual payments or a one-time, lump-sum cash payment. The cash value option, in general, is the amount of money required to be in the jackpot prize pool, on the day of the drawing, to fund the estimated jackpot annuity prize. The advertised jackpot annuity and cash value are estimates until ticket sales are final, and for the annuity, until the Multi-State Lottery Association takes bids on the purchase of securities. Federal and jurisdictional income taxes apply to both jackpot prize options. Check with your lottery for its rules on how to claim a jackpot prize and the correct procedure for selecting the annuity or cash value option.
If a jackpot winner dies before receiving all annual installments, the balance of the prize will be paid to the winner's estate. Upon receipt of a court order, annual prize payments will continue to be paid to the winner's heirs. Other provisions may also apply depending on the laws of the lottery paying the prize.
Lotteries will never contact you via email or telephone call to inform you that you’ve won a prize, unless you specifically entered an official lottery promotion or contest.
In addition, lotteries will never ask you to pay a fee to collect a Powerball prize. If you are asked to pay a fee to claim a prize, you are likely being scammed, and you should not share any personal or banking information with those entities.