Interesting Facts about Powerball in Texas

Everyone’s heard about Powerball, it seems. Even people who never play the lottery know that Powerball awarded a record $1.586 billion jackpot in January 2016, a jackpot that still stands as the biggest lottery prize ever. Although Powerball is one of the most popular lotteries here in Texas, there are things about the game that not all Texans know. Next time you play Powerball, you might want to keep these interesting Powerball facts in mind!


1) Powerball’s jackpot is lower than what is advertised

When Powerball advertises a $264 million jackpot prize, you probably imagine winning and coming home with a $264 million check in your hand. Alas, this could never happen, no matter how lucky you are.

Powerball jackpot winners can claim their prize in two different ways. They can either receive their prize as a one-time lump sum cash payment, or as an annuity of 30 payments over 29 years.

The advertised jackpot is actually the full amount of the prize that would be paid out over those 29 years. The cash option, therefore, is the current value of the prize without adding the interest that would accrue over those 29 years.

In the case of a $264 million jackpot prize, for example, the cash value of the prize is $186.7 million. In addition, the prize is lowered by the 24% federal tax you must pay on your winnings.

It is interesting to note that in Texas, you must choose whether you would like to receive your Powerball jackpot prize as a cash payment or as an annuity at the moment you purchase your ticket!

More information on Powerball estimated jackpot calculations can be found on the Texas lottery website.

estimated annuitized jackpot
Image source: Texas Lottery's Twitter feed

2) The Texas Lottery celebrated its 21st anniversary with the state’s first Powerball jackpot winner

The Texas Lottery was launched on May 29, 1992, when then-Governor Ann Richards purchased the first Texas Lottery scratch-off ticket. In the next 24 hours, Texans bought 23.2 million more tickets, a world record for first-day sales.

Twenty-one years later, on May 29, 2013, a winning ticket purchased in Bells, Texas, was the only winner in a Powerball draw. This was the first time the Powerball jackpot was ever won in Texas. The winner was identified as Paul McDowell from Ravenna. The advertised jackpot in the draw was $40 million. McDowell chose the cash value option, worth almost $25 million before taxes. The winning numbers drawn were 9, 14, 17, 49, 57, and Powerball number 2.

3) The biggest Powerball jackpot ever won in Texas was only 1/3 of the prize

A winning ticket for the $564.1 million Powerball jackpot in the draw on February 11, 2015, which at the time was the fifth largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, was sold in Texas at the Appletree Food Mart located at 893 E. Princeton in Princeton. There were two other winning tickets, one sold in North Carolina and one sold in Puerto Rico.

The Texas share of the prize was claimed by TL Management Trust "represented by Trustee Andrew Weber", according to the Texas Lottery Commission. Their prize, having chosen the cash value option at the time of ticket purchase, was $127 million.

4) Powerball’s biggest jackpot did not produce the biggest individual winner

Powerball's record-breaking $1.586 billion jackpot was split three ways. The lucky winners were identified as John and Lisa Robinson of Munford, Tennessee; Maureen Smith, from Melbourne Beach, Florida; and Mae and Marvin Acosta of Chino Hills, California. Each of the winners opted to take their share of the prize in a lump-sum payment of $327.8 million. While each share of this amazing prize was huge, it didn’t set a record as the largest individual Powerball win.

Despite not passing Powerball in the race to award the biggest jackpot, Mega Millions does have a valid claim to fame in the record books. The $1.537 billion jackpot it awarded in October 2018 was claimed by a single winner. A woman from South Carolina who opted to retain her anonymity took a one-time payment of $877,784,124.

Texas Lottery Powerball ticket

5) Powerball was the first lottery to use two drums

When it launched in 1992, Powerball became the first lottery to use two drums. The first drum had a total of 45 white balls, of which 5 were drawn. The second drum also had a total of 45 balls, of which 1 red ball was drawn. The odds of winning the jackpot stood at 1:54,979,154.

The two-drum game model was originally suggested by Dr. Edward J. Stanek of the Iowa Lottery and Steve Caputo of the Oregon Lottery. It was later adopted by The Big Game (now known as Mega Millions). Other games which followed Powerball's format, and even had the same name, were the Powerball lotteries in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

6) Powerball ticket sales began in Texas on January 31, 2010

The Texas Lottery began selling tickets for Mega Millions on December 3, 2003. On October 13, 2009, the Mega Millions consortium and the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) reached an agreement in principle to cross-sell Mega Millions and Powerball. As a result, Powerball ticket sales began in Texas on January 31, 2010.

The first Powerball draw open to Texans took place on February 3, 2010. Total sales in Texas for the drawing were more than $1.3 million.

7) It's 10 times easier to win the Lotto Texas jackpot

The odds of matching the 6 numbers drawn in Lotto Texas and winning that game's jackpot are 1:25,827,165. The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1:292,201,338. The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot, for comparison’s sake, are 1:302,575,350. Yet no matter how bad the odds seem, eventually someone is extremely lucky and manages to win the jackpot. Maybe the next winner of the Powerball jackpot will be you!

Powerball is fun!

After reading these interesting facts about Powerball, you know it’s an exciting lottery to play. Draws are held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. This gives you three chances every week to win the amazing Powerball jackpot!

Purchase your Powerball tickets now so that you don’t miss the next draw!