Coronavirus has severely affected everyone’s general life in the U.S., spreading to all 50 states and leading to more and more restrictions to try and stop Covid-19 from escalating. It has even had an impact on playing Powerball in a number of ways. Find out more about what is happening to the game during the current pandemic.
Powerball drawings have so far continued as normal. The numbers are drawn at the Florida Lottery’s Tallahassee studio at 10:59PM EST every Wednesday and Saturday.
The schedule has remained the same ever since Powerball launched in April 1992, with two draws a week, and the plan is for the game to carry on that way. Any decision about changing the schedule or suspending draws will be taken by the member states of the Multi-State Lottery Association. Powerball.net will publish news of any major announcements.
Officials have also declared that the starting jackpot will be reduced from $40million to $20million the next time it is won and that the jackpot will increase by a minimum of $2million for each draw it is not won. This has been done to ensure that sufficient funding to states can occur whilst the coronavirus pandemic continues.
Ticket sales will remain available for as long as draws continue. However, as the situation is moving so quickly, it may be that more and more lottery stores are shut for business. Extra restrictions may also be introduced along the lines of the lockdowns that have been seen in Europe and Asia, where people have only been allowed to leave home for essential supplies. The Puerto Rico Lottery has taken the decision to suspend ticket sales until further notice.
A number of state lotteries offer their players the option to choose numbers online. These are Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas. In New York and Virginia you can also subscribe online to buy tickets for multiple weeks at a time.
Playing online is an excellent option, especially at the current time when social contact is being discouraged. Your numbers are always safe online so you cannot possibly lose or damage your entry. You will also be notified automatically if you win.
Claiming prizes is set to be the biggest issue for players while draws continue and tickets remain on sale. A number of states have closed their state lottery offices or changed their opening hours due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Other states are changing their claims process to restrict access to their claim centers or lottery offices. Each lottery has its own rules on receiving prizes, while the claim period also differs from state to state.
Apart from New Mexico, where the claim period is 90 days, the time you have to come forward in other states is between 180 days and a year.
The best way to claim prizes, and the one currently being recommended in most states, is to claim by mail. Go to the Participating States page to find out how to do this where you live.
If you have played online, prizes will be paid directly into your lottery account in most cases.
Find out which states have made changes due to coronavirus below: