Powerball Draw Getting A New Look

Saturday September 26th 2020

The Powerball draw show will receive some exciting updates starting on Wednesday, September 30, including new drawing machines and balls. However, the iconic lottery game itself will remain just the same.

The one-minute draw is broadcast live from the Florida Lottery's studio inside its Tallahassee headquarters every Wednesday and Saturday night at 10:59 pm ET. 

Georgia native Sam Arlen has hosted the show since 2012. "I feel like it's an amazing opportunity," he reflected. "It's awesome. On some level, I feel like I'm channeling some of that excitement and energy. There's just this happiness, this hope that 'It could be me! It could be me!'"

First Powerball upgrades since 2012

For the first time since the draw moved from Iowa to Florida in 2012, the set will get a makeover and the broadcast will be refreshed with new graphics and music.

Although the look of the draw is changing, the iconic Powerball game itself will remain the same. Since its debut more than two decades ago, the game has been coordinated by the Powerball Product Group, a part of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), a non-profit group of US lotteries.

Powerball launched in April 1992, and since then its draw equipment has undergone upgrades as new technology becomes available and industry standards progress.

The new ball-dispensing machines are an updated version of the current gravity-driven machines the game has used since 2009. The new Halogen II machines from Smartplay International, Inc. offer compressed air enhancements plus lighting and base customizations.

The current balls are hard rubber, while the new set are made of solid foam, which is now the standard for balls selected by gravity-driven dispensers. The solid foam balls will last 4-6 years, an improvement on the 2-4 years for the rubber balls.

Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed solid foam balls in other recent draws. For example, foam balls were used in January in the Powerball First Millionaire of the Year live TV broadcast from New York. The competition, which is being repeated this year, is part of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.

All the updates have been fully tested to ensure they will perform under the demanding conditions of the live draw show.

“Powerball has been America’s life-changing jackpot game for 28 years,” said May Scheve Reardon, Powerball Product Group Chair. “Players can be assured that the new drawing equipment has undergone rigorous security screenings and certifications to ensure its integrity.”

A huge amount of precision work and military-style planning goes into each brief and apparently simple draw show in Tallahassee. The legendary game even has its own law enforcement personnel who supervise and ensure security for the twice-weekly draws.

Each machine is tested before one is randomly chosen from a group of identical models kept in a code-protected vault. Every ball is weighed. No photos are allowed while the draw takes place, although security cameras are omnipresent.

Halfway across the nation at the MUSL head office in Iowa, the draw in Florida is monitored live down to the last detail.

Updates overcame coronavirus challenges

The Powerball Product Group began work on the draw show changes in 2019, although the spread of coronavirus this year complicated efforts.

“The work to overhaul the Powerball draw show started last year, and in the middle of the project, the COVID-19 public health crisis hit,” said Gregg Edgar, MUSL Marketing and Promotions Committee Chair. “Despite the challenges, we were able to continue our collaboration with lotteries and businesses across the country to produce a draw show that captures the thrill of Powerball. We are excited to share the final product with our loyal Powerball players.”

Multi-state lotteries including Powerball and Mega Millions have changed the way they operate during the pandemic. Players are staying at home more and when they do go out, they're less likely to take the extra time required to choose their numbers and pay in cash at a retailer.

To ensure ticket sales can support prize payouts, in April Powerball and Mega Millions dropped starting jackpots from $40 million and eliminated guaranteed rollover increases between draws. Since then, the minimum jackpot has been $20 million, although this could be subject to change.

Visit the coronavirus lottery updates page for full information on how US lotteries have changed their procedures due to the spread of COVID-19.

Next Powerball draw for $25 million tonight

Powerball tickets are available in 45 states, the District of Columbia, US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Outside those regions, use a lottery concierge to play online.

Players select five numbers from 1-69 plus a red Powerball number from 1-26. Win the jackpot if you match all six numbers drawn. There are a total of nine prize tiers.

The next draw is tonight, Saturday, September 26, and offers an incredible $25 million jackpot.

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