History of Powerball
Powerball was launched in 1992 in place of the original Lotto America. It was introduced as a way to bring a fresh sense of excitement to Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) games. There were 15 participating lotteries at the start, and over the last few decades Powerball has grown to such an extent that the game is now played in 48 different jurisdictions and holds the record for the largest lottery prize ever won. Find out more about the history of Powerball, just as what year it started and when the biggest jackpots have landed.
April 19, 1992
The First Powerball Draw
Powerball tickets went on sale for the first time on April 19, 1992, following the decision to rebrand the original Lotto America. The game was initially played in the following locations: Delaware, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington DC, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
Players were required to pick five main numbers from a choice of 45 and a Powerball from a separate set of 45. The first Powerball drawing took place on Wednesday April 22nd 1992 and one player from Indiana won the $5.9 million jackpot. The minimum jackpot for the next draw was $2 million.
More states gradually joined the game, and there were 21 participating lotteries by the time the first change was made to the number matrix in 1997.
1997 - 2009
Powerball Number Changes
From November 5, 1997, players were required to pick five main numbers from 1 to 49 and a Powerball from 1 to 42. The minimum jackpot was increased to $10 million.
Power Play was introduced on March 7, 2001, helping players to multiply the value of non-jackpot prizes.
The game changed again the following year, with the number of main balls raised to 53 on October 9, 2002. Another tweak on August 31, 2005 saw the number of main balls increased to 55 and the starting jackpot move up to $15 million.
The Powerball remained a choice of 42 numbers until January 7, 2009, when the matrix changed again and players were required to select five main balls from a choice of 59 and a Powerball from a pool of 39 numbers. The minimum jackpot was increased to $20 million.
2001 - 2005
Evolution of Powerball
There have been a number of notable changes to Powerball over the years. In 2001, Power Play was introduced as an optional extra that allowed participants to increase the value of any non-jackpot prize. The new feature cost an additional $1.
In October 2015, a number of changes were made to the game, with the number of balls in the main pool increasing from 59 to 69, while there was a decrease in the number of Powerballs - from 35 to 26. This saw the jackpot become more difficult to win, but the chances of winning any prize significantly increased.
The number of participating lotteries had continued to increase slowly over the years, up to a total of 32 at the start of 2010. An agreement was then reached between the MUSL and the Mega Millions consortium to cross-sell Mega Millions and Powerball, allowing state lotteries to offer both games. Ten further lotteries - Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Ohio and the U.S Virgin Islands – joined the Powerball family in 2010.
2012 - 2015
On January 4, 2012, the minimum jackpot doubled to $40 million and further changes were made to the game. The number of main balls stayed at 59, but the pool of Powerball numbers was reduced to 35 to increase the odds of winning the jackpot. The Power Play feature was dropped, before returning on January 22, 2014.
The most recent changes to Powerball came on October 7, 2015. The matrix required players to select five main numbers from 1 to 69 and one Powerball from 1 to 26. A 10x Power Play was also introduced, for draws when the jackpot is worth $150 million or less.
2016 - 2019
The changes to the game and its enduring popularity have helped to make some massive jackpots. In January 2016, three lucky ticket holders shared a jackpot of $1.58 billion - the biggest to have been seen at the time. John and Lisa Munford of Tennessee, David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith from Florida, and Marvin and Mae Acosta of California walked away with $528.8 million apiece.
In March 2019, Wisconsin resident Manuel Franco landed a colossal $768.4 million - the largest single-ticket jackpot prize in Powerball history at the time.
January 30, 2020
Missisippi became the first new state to join Powerball in over five years, with tickets going on sale on January 30, 2020. The Mississippi State Lottery launched in November 2019, with scratch-offs being the first games on offer, followed by draw games in early 2020. The addition of Mississippi to Powerball's roster left only five states - Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah - without the game.
August 23, 2021
More Chances to Win
A third weekly draw was introduced on a Monday. A Double Play feature was also launched in 13 states, giving players even more chances to win.
November 7, 2022
New Record Jackpot
The Powerball jackpot climbed higher than $2 billion for the first time after a sequence of 40 draws without a winner. It was eventually won by a single player from California - Edwin Castro
February 6, 2023
Double Play Expands
Idaho and Nebraska began to offer Double Play. Montana had joined the original 13 in July 2022, so the latest expansion left 16 states where Double Play was available.