The key events in Powerball history are charted on this page, showing you when the game has changed, when the biggest jackpots have been won and how it has become one of the most widely played lottery games in the United States.
The first Powerball draw takes place after the original Lotto America is rebranded. Tickets are available in 15 jurisdictions: Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington D.C., West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Players have to pick five main numbers from 1 to 45 and a Powerball from another set of 1 to 45. The minimum jackpot is $2 million and drawings are held in Des Moines, Iowa.
The first nine-figure Powerball jackpot is won by junior high school teacher Les Robins from Wisconsin, who claims $111 million.
Arizona becomes the first new state to join since Powerball launched, and celebrates its first jackpot win within a month as a ticket worth $5.2 million is sold on April 27th.
Powerball tickets go on sale in Nebraska. Lyle and Diann Fleharty of Hastings win a $50 million jackpot just nine days later with their first ever ticket. Lyle Fleharty would go on to be a patron of Hastings College, providing academic and sports scholarships and serving on a Board of Trustees.
Louisiana begins to offer the game. The state’s first jackpot is claimed almost a year later, on Valentine’s Day 1996, by a Louisiana partnership known as 'Mascaro, Et Al', which wins $35 million.
Powerball is offered in New Hampshire for the first time. Dean Leighton of Chester becomes the state’s first winner just a few months later on March 30th 1996, landing $51 million.
Connecticut’s arrival brings the number of participating states up to 20.
The New Mexico Lottery adds Powerball to its range of games. Governor Gary Johnson buys the first ticket.
The number of main balls is increased to 49, while the Powerball pool is reduced to 42. The minimum jackpot is bumped up to $10 million.
Frank and Shirley Capaci from Illinois break the record for the biggest win with a $195 million jackpot, after asking a friend from nearby Wisconsin to purchase a ticket for them.
The 'Lucky 13' group from Ohio lands $295 million to become Powerball’s biggest winners at the time.
The Power Play feature is introduced, giving players the chance to multiply non-jackpot prizes by up to five times their original value. A random number – 1x, 2x, 3x, 4x or 5x – is drawn as the Power Play multiplier and any prizes apart from the jackpot are boosted by this amount.
Colorado becomes the first new state to join Powerball in nearly five years.
Tickets go on sale in Pennsylvania. Edward Varley of Hatfield claims the state’s first jackpot, worth $30 million, on September 14th 2002.
The main ball pool goes up from 49 to 53. The 1x Power Play multiplier is removed from the game, leaving 2x, 3x, 4x and 5x. South Carolina players take part for the first time.
The U.S. Virgin Islands becomes the first non-mainland territory to start selling Powerball tickets.
Andrew 'Jack' Whittaker from West Virginia wins a jackpot of $314 million, the biggest ever seen at the time.
Vermont starts to sell tickets. As with many other state lotteries, all of the profits go to an Education Fund.
North Dakota joins Powerball. Retailers sell 'First Ticket Sold' certificates and T-shirts and local resident Victor Gustin is allowed to buy the first ticket at a launch ceremony in Bismarck following a request from his wife Charlotte, a long-time employee at Dan’s Supermarket on 3101 N. 11th St.
The game is made available in Tennessee. The first jackpot win in the state comes less than a year later as a family from South Pittsburgh claims $25 million on March 30th 2005.
Powerball tickets go on sale in Maine.
The number of main balls is increased from 53 to 55. Jackpots now start at $15 million.
The Chaney and West families bank $340 million – the biggest jackpot in the 13 years since the game launched.
Powerball is introduced in Oklahoma.
A new Powerball record is set as a group of ConAgra Foods co-workers from Nebraska wins $365 million.
North Carolina becomes the 31st participating state.
The number matrix changes again. The pool of main balls increases to 59, while the Powerball pool is cut to 39. The minimum jackpot is now set at $20 million. Florida joins the game and drawings start to take place at Universal Studios in Orlando.
Arkansas begins to offer the game.
Ten more lotteries – Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Washington – start to sell Powerball tickets. This comes after an agreement is reached between the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) and the Mega Millions consortium for states to offer both games. States had previously only been allowed to participate in one lottery or the other.
Ohio joins Powerball three months after the cross-sell expansion.
Powerball drawings move from Orlando to Tallahassee.
The Powerball pool is reduced to 35, while the Power Play becomes a fixed multiplier and anyone who has added this option automatically receives a set prize if they win. The minimum jackpot is doubled to $40 million and the cost of playing goes up to $2 per line.
The largest Powerball jackpot in 20 years, worth $587 million, is split between two tickets. One belongs to Cindy and Mark Hill of Missouri and the other to Matthew Good of Arizona.
California introduces Powerball, although players cannot add the Power Play, as state law dictates that prizes in California must be calculated on a pari-mutuel basis, taking into account ticket sales and the number of winners.
Gloria MacKenzie from Florida lands another record jackpot of $590 million.
Power Play returns to its previous format, with a random multiplier between 2x and 5x drawn prior to each game.
Wyoming begins to offer the game.
Puerto Rico becomes the 47th jurisdiction to participate in Powerball.
The number of main balls is increased to 69, while the Powerball pool is reduced to 26. A 10x multiplier is added to the Power Play feature when the jackpot is $150 million or less.
A new record is set for the largest lottery prize in history as three ticket holders – from California, Florida and Tennessee – split a jackpot of $1.58 billion. John and Lisa Robinson from Munford, TN, appear on the Today show just days later to announce they have one of the tickets.
David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith from Melbourne Beach, FL, make their claim in February. The identity of the last winner remains a mystery for months, until Marvin and Mae Acosta from Chino Hills, CA, finally come forward.
Mavis Wanczyk from Massachusetts wins what is at the time the biggest Powerball jackpot ever won on a single ticket, claiming a prize worth $758 million.
Manuel Franco from Wisconsin breaks the record for the biggest single-ticket Powerball win when he claims a jackpot worth $768 million. He takes the cash option of $477 million and a short time after his win is spotted at a local convenience store handing out gift cards to shoppers.
Tickets for Powerball go on sale in Mississippi, making it the 45th state – and 48th participating jurisdiction – to offer the game.
New jackpot rules come into effect. There is no longer a minimum grand prize or minimum rollover amount. Previously, the jackpot had started at $40 million and it would always increase by at least $10 million if it was not won, but these amounts cannot be guaranteed during the coronavirus pandemic following a drop in ticket sales. Instead, the starting jackpot and rollover amount will be based on game sales and interest rates.
A new Monday drawing is introduced, meaning that for the first time in Powerball history, three draws take place each week. Double Play is also launched in 13 states, giving players another chance to win prizes of up to $10 million.