US Powerball History

From ‘Lotto America’ to ‘Powerball’

The American Powerball lottery was originally known under a different moniker, Lotto America, which came to life in February of 1988. In April 1992, Lotto America was subjected to many changes, including a new number of nine prize categories, improved overall winning odds and bigger jackpots. This was the reason to change the name of the game to the current Powerball.

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Powerball changes of 2012

On January 15, 2012, Powerball again underwent major changes, in order to produce bigger jackpots, better odds of winning and more millionaires. The changes also meant a slight increase of the price of a Powerball ticket, which went up to $2. Key changes were as follows:

  • Starting jackpot doubled from $20 million to $40 million
  • Jackpots increase by a $10 million minimum amount with each rollover
  • Odds of winning the jackpot improved from 1 in 195.2 million to 1 in 175.2 million
  • Overall winning odds improved from 1 in 35 to 1 in 32
  • Match-5 secondary prize increased from $200,000 to $1 million
  • The Powerball-only prize (0+PB) increased from $3 to $4

Powerball changes of 2015

On Oct 4, 2015, the Powerball format changed to alter the overall and jackpot winning odds. The main points are below:

  • The main number set increased from 59 to 69
  • The Powerball set decreased from 35 to 26
  • Overall winning odds increased to 1 in 24.
  • Jackpot winning odds changed to 1 in 292,201,338.
  • The 4+1 prize became $50,000
  • The 10x Power Play became available in drawings with a jackpot below $150 million

Ultimately, the changes of October 2014 led to the record $1.6 billion jackpot of January 2016 after only 20 rollovers. Time will tell when we will see the next jackpot north of $1 billion, but now is still always a good time to play!