The Powerball jackpot is $ 168 million and up for grabs on Wednesday. What there is to know

Have you ever played the lottery?

Stephen Shankland / CNET

the Powerball is America’s closest resemblance to a national lottery. Residents or visitors to 45 states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands can purchase tickets. Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah are the five states that are not currently participating. And come in August, Idaho to end Powerball participation on concerns that the game plans to expand overseas.

Here is what you need to know about how the lottery works if you are considering giving it a try.

When are the Powerball designs?

The draws take place every Wednesday and Saturday at 8 p.m. PT (11 p.m. ET).

What is the current jackpot?

Powerball is sitting at $ 168 million, a cash value of $ 117 million, as of May 10. Each time it is not awarded, the pot increases by approximately $ 10 million.

How does the Powerball game work?

The player chooses five white balls numbered 1 to 69 and a red Powerball of any number between 1 and 26. These numbers are chosen with a game slip that you can buy at most convenience stores. Each Powerball game costs $ 2. You can also opt for Quick Pick, where a computer randomly selects your numbers.

During the draw, the white balls are chosen from one rotating drum and the red balls from another. When Lotto America became Powerball in 1992, the game began using two raffle-style rotating drums – before that, Lotto America used two separate machines to draw.


The odds of winning the lottery are slim, but people are still trying.

Martin Diebel / Getty Images

Here are the ways a ticket could win and the odds of winning (according to Multi-State Lottery Association Powerball Site):

  • Match all six numbers, win the whole pot (or cash value)
    Odds: 1 292201338
  • Match the five white balls, win $ 1 million
    Odds: 1 11,688,053,52
  • Match four white balls and the red Powerball, win $ 50,000
    Odds: 1,913,129.18
  • Match only four white balls, win $ 100
    Odds: 1 36,525,17
  • Match three white balls and the red Powerball, win $ 100
    Odds: 1 in 14,494.11
  • Match three white balls, win $ 7
    Odds: 1,579.76
  • Match two white balls and the Powerball, win $ 7
    Odds: 1,701.33
  • Match a white ball and the Powerball, win $ 4
    Odds: 191.98
  • Match only the Powerball, win $ 4
    Odds: 1 in 38.32

You have a 1 in 24.9 chance of winning anything. Why isn’t the odds of only matching Powerball 1 in 26? Because you don’t have to have white balls either. the The Missouri Lottery website has an explanation here.

How the money is paid out to the winner

Winners can receive the amount in installments over several years or make a one-time cash payment. For example, if a winner chooses to take a lump sum of the $ 168 million jackpot, it will not actually be that amount. According to the Powerball website, this will be the amount of money required to be in the pot to fund the estimated annuity prize. It will still be, however, a lot of money. Woman Who Won $ 188 Million Powerball Jackpot In 2015 allegedly took a lump sum of $ 126 million.

You can also choose to take the payment in 30 annual installments over 29 years, with those annuity payments increasing by 5%.

You will have to claim your lottery winnings on your taxes using form 1099-MISC for miscellaneous earnings. Depending on where you live, state and local taxes could take an additional 13% of your earnings. Moreover, when tax season rolls, you will probably be placed in a higher tax bracket that you were before you won, then the highest federal tax rate of 37% will come into play.

Powerball winners more often opt for the one-time cash payout, however, according to the lottery website. Only about four winners have chosen to receive their winnings as an annuity since 2003. Prior to 2020, two jackpots were unclaimed and two were anonymous.


To win the jackpot, all six numbers must match. But the odds are one in over 250 million.

Jodi Jacobson / Getty Images

Has anyone really gained anything in recent designs?

Lucky one Florida resident wins $ 238 million jackpot after the draw on March 27. In Michigan, another player walked away with $ 150,000 after matching four white balls and the Powerball while also playing the Power Play option.

The odds don’t seem to be in my favor. What’s the best way to spend my money?

For the sake of comparison, you have a better chance of being struck by lightning (one in 500,000 chance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) that you have of winning $ 50,000 or more in Powerball. From a statistical point of view, this is not the wisest way to play.

There are plenty of games under $ 2 on Steam and movies you can watch online. Also, if you play twice a week every week of the year, you lose around $ 208. If you put that money aside, you’ll have enough to buy, say, a Nintendo Switch Lite at the end of the year.

Qualifications to play Powerball

To play Powerball, you must be at least 18 years old. You don’t need to be a US Citizen or US Resident to play. You can also play if you are not a resident of the state in which you purchased the ticket.


The lottery as we know it today has undergone many changes since the 1980s.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Why is Idaho ending its Powerball participation?

The Idaho state legislature voted to quit the game of Powerball in August, on Associated Press reported in March. The move results from Powerball’s expansion to include Australia in 2021 and the United Kingdom in 2022. Current law in the state of Idaho only allows residents to participate in lotteries in the United States and the United States. Canada, and as such, Idaho Lottery officials pursued a change to allow the inclusion of the new countries. The bill was shot down in a 10-4 vote in the House Affairs Committee of the Legislative Assembly. Reacting to the news, the Idaho Lottery statement pointed out that for now, residents of the state can still play Powerball, with the state recording two winners of $ 50,000 on March 10.

“Work continues with the Legislature to determine an alternate path forward to ensure no disruption of service at Idaho’s most popular lottery game, to the benefit of schools and public buildings in Idaho.” , said the lottery organization.

Can you still play Lotto America?

Yes, but not the original game from 1992 which became Powerball. You can play America Lotto – the rebirth of the game which replaced the Hot Lotto plagued by fraud game in 2017. The draws are held every Wednesday and Saturday at 8:15 p.m. PT (11:15 p.m. ET). Players choose five numbers between 1 and 52 with a Star Ball numbered 1-10. There are also nine ways to win Lotto America, but the odds of winning the jackpot (meaning all five numbers match plus the Star Ball. ) are almost 1 in. 26 million.

Only 13 states still play Lotto America – Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia.

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Upcoming calendar of Powerball and other lottery events

Powerball Drawings
Every Wednesday and Saturday at 8 p.m. PT (11 p.m. ET)

Mega Millions
Tuesday and Friday at 8 p.m. PT (11 p.m. ET)

America Lotto
Wednesday and Saturday at 8:15 p.m. PT (11:15 p.m. ET)

Every night at 6 p.m. PT (9 p.m. ET)

Disclaimer: CNET is not affiliated with any organization that runs lotteries, and we do not endorse participation. Playing the lottery is a game and your odds of winning are set according to the organization that manages it. CNET can earn affiliate income from commercial links; there are no similar agreements in place between CNET and the organizations running the lottery. This story is for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial advice.

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About Kristina McManus

Kristina McManus

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