Powerball History

Powerball is one of the biggest lottery games in the United States and regularly boasts eight, nine or even ten-figure jackpots. Read on to discover more about how this multi-state game came into existence and how changes in format have made Powerball one of the most popular and exciting lotteries in the world.

  • Powerball’s roots can be traced back as far as September 1987, when lottery officials from Washington D.C., Iowa, Kansas, Oregon, Rhode Island and West Virginia joined to form the Multi-State Lottery Association.
  • In February 1988, the Multi-State Lottery Association launched a brand new lottery known as Lotto*America. Eight additional states (Wisconsin, Montana, Idaho, Minnesota, Indiana, South Dakota, Kentucky and Delaware) joined the game between August 1989 and January 1991.
  • Lotto*America was phased out in 1992 and Powerball was born. The first drawing took place on Saturday April 22nd 1992, with a two-drum draw machine and new ball sets being introduced.
Lotto America relaunched under a new format in November 2017.
  • Between April 1994 and November 1995, the states of Arizona, Nebraska, Louisiana, New Hampshire and Connecticut joined the Powerball family.
  • In July 1996, a number of live Powerball drawings were held at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. Special drawings have since taken place across the country to commemorate specific events or anniversaries.
  • New Mexico began offering Powerball in October 1996.
  • On March 7th 2001, Power Play, an optional multiplier, was added to the game. For an extra $1, players could increase the value of any non-jackpot prize. The game continues to this day.
  • Powerball opened its doors, as Colorado, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, North Dakota, Tennessee, Maine, Oklahoma and North Carolina were all welcomed to the game between August 2001 and May 2006.
  • Florida and Arkansas both joined the game in 2009, with the former landing the responsibility of hosting future drawings.
  • 2010 was a big year for Powerball, as Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington all joined in January, before Ohio and the U.S Virgin Islands began participating later in the year.
  • The price of a Powerball ticket increased to $2 ($3 including Power Play) in January 2012.
  • The state of California began selling Powerball tickets in 2013, but refused the offer the Power Play option, while Wyoming and Puerto Rico joined the following year.
  • In early October 2015, various changes were made to the game, with the number of balls in the main pool increasing from 59 to 69, while the Powerball pool decreased from 35 to 26. This significantly altered the odds of winning, with the chances of winning any prize increasing, however, the jackpot became more difficult to win.
  • On Wednesday January 13th 2016, the Powerball jackpot reached a record-breaking $1.58 billion, the biggest prize total ever offered by any lottery in the world. The prize was shared between three ticket holders - John and Lisa Munford of Tennessee, David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith from Florida, and Marvin and Mae Acosta of California.