Powerball Facts: USA vs. Oz Lotteries | theLotter Australia

Powerball Facts About Australian vs. US Powerball

It's a tale of two Powerballs: Australian and American. Australians will be very familiar with their homegrown Powerball, but what do you know about US Powerball, the American lottery known for having the biggest lottery jackpot in history? It turns out that the two Powerballs are actually quite a bit different from each other, with different amounts of numbers to match and a different prize payout system.

US Powerball History

US Powerball started out all the way back in 1988 under the entirely different name of Lotto America. Lotto America wouldn't be transformed into the Powerball we know and love today until 1992.

When US Powerball made its debut on 22 April 1992, it opened a new chapter in lottery draw game history by being the first game to use two drums. The use of two drums was vital to reaching the high jackpot odds and large amount of prizes that the game is now famous for.

us powerball history

Constantly growing, US Powerball made many changes to its format in 2009, ensuring that its projected average jackpot increased from US$95 million to US$141 million and adding 3.5 million expected prizes per year. US Powerball increased both the starting jackpot and minimum rollovers.

The biggest change came a year later in 2010 when US Powerball and Mega Millions finally reached a deal to operate in the same states. Up until that point, America had been divided into two types of states: Powerball states and Mega Millions states. From 2010 on, the two blockbuster lotteries could live side by side, bringing US Powerball to a whole host of states that hadn't ever had it before.

Powerball info: which has bigger jackpots?

Keep in mind that the advertised prize amounts for both lotteries are higher than their actual payouts and that winnings are taxed according to the relevant jurisdiction.

Powerball Australia has a starting jackpot of AU$3 million and no jackpot cap. Its highest jackpot ever was won in September 2019 and was split by three tickets. That jackpot was worth AU$150 million so each winner walked away with a massive AU$50 million.

As for US Powerball, that American lottery game is famously responsible for the highest jackpot in lottery history: US$2.04 billion! Check this list of the biggest Powerball jackpots of all time.

US Powerball currently has a starting jackpot of US$20 million. US Powerball's jackpot odds are also significantly smaller, making its jackpot harder to win but more likely to keep rolling over.

US Powerball's non-jackpot prizes start with a second division prize worth up to US$5 million (with the optional Power Play multiplier).

One more big difference between the two sets of prizes are that Powerball's non-jackpot prizes are fixed while Australia Powerball's are parimutuel and vary from draw to draw.

In Australian Powerball, players need to choose seven numbers with a guess range of only 1-35, plus one additional number from a guess range of 1-20.

For US Powerball, player's pick five numbers, but with a much broader range of 1-69 and one additional number with a range of 1-26.

You can read more about how all these numbers affect the odds of winning US Powerball.

Most Interesting US Powerball Trivia

One of the most interesting US Powerball stories happened in March 2005 when 110 players matched the five winning numbers needed to win the second-prize.

While Powerball officials at first thought something fishy must have happened, it turned out the numbers had come from a fortune cookie. Other than those five winning numbers, and an incorrect Powerball number, the fortune cookie read "All the preparation you've done will finally be paying off." Funnily enough, not a single employee of the company that made the fortune cookies played those numbers, but the 110 players that took their advice all ended up receiving their prize money. 89 winners got prizes of US$100,000 each (the base second-prize value in 2005) while 21 players received US$500,000 thanks to their Power Play multipliers.

Play US PowerLuck Online!

Did you know that when you play US PowerLuck online at theLotter Australia, third party agents take your numbers and purchase an official ticket in the US Powerball draw? Fill a form out now!

theLotter Australia customers are not purchasing tickets, or participating in nominated foreign lotteries. Our Lottery Supplier Service provides our customers with the opportunity to receive monies equivalent to official prize winnings in those lotteries, less any applicable taxes.