Powerball Myths

Powerball is a massive lottery game offering gigantic prizes and is loved by players across the US and beyond. However, there are many myths surrounding Powerball and this page explains the truth behind these commonly-held beliefs.

The winner doesn't receive the full amount

If you match all five main numbers and the Powerball, you will receive the advertised amount should you decide to take your prize in 30 payments over 29 years. It is worth noting you will be taxed on the installments, as officials treat lottery prizes as earnings, but your accumulated pre-tax payout will equal the amount that was advertised.

If there are multiple jackpot winners in a Powerball draw, the prize money is split between them. For example, in February 2015 three winners split a jackpot of $564.1 million, which had a cash value of $381.1 million. Each of the winning tickets received $127 million before taxes.

You also have the option of receiving your prize as a cash lump sum, which is a lower amount and is also subject to tax. The cash amount represents the amount taken from ticket sales that is available to pay out straight away, and is also the sum that is invested by lottery officials to fund the annuity payments if you take that option instead. If there are multiple winners, they can choose for themselves whether or not they will take a cash sum or an annuity; their decision doesn't have an effect on how much the other winners receive.

It is better to take the cash option than the annuity

The benefit of either Powerball payment option is entirely dictated by your personal circumstances. If you trust yourself to handle your financial affairs in a sensible manner and can budget for big purchases, then the cash option could be for you. However, if you would prefer to know you had a guaranteed revenue stream for the next 30 years, it might be better to opt for the annuity.

Some winners don't mind the risk of attempting to invest the cash payment in order to outdo the annuity, whereas others like to play things safe. Older winners might want to accept the cash to enjoy their winnings while they are able, but it should be noted annuities can be passed on to other family members after death.

To work out your best course of action you should consult a financial expert as soon as possible, as you have 60 days after claiming in which to decide how your prize is paid.

To find out more about Cash vs Annuity visit the dedicated page.

It is easier to win Powerball when the jackpot is lower

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million, regardless of the value of the top prize. You are playing against the number matrix rather than competing against other players, so the number of ticket sales or the amount on offer in the jackpot have no bearing on your chances of winning.

Only American citizens can win Powerball

It doesn't matter where you are from or where you live, you can win Powerball without being an American citizen. You can buy a ticket from a participating Powerball state regardless of your nationality, although you will have to claim any prize you win from the same state and you will be taxed on winnings.

You don't even have to travel to the USA to win Powerball prizes, though. You can bet on the outcome of draws online from anywhere on the planet, and still receive all the same prizes.

Quick Picks win more often than player picks

Lines automatically generated by lottery terminals are said to account for between 70 and 80 percent of those sold and create between 70 and 80 percent of winners. This shows that your chances of winning remain constant however you chose your numbers.

Quick Picks are great for stopping you playing the same numbers in every draw, which could prove disastrous if they came up and you had forgotten to buy a ticket, and they also avoid the pitfall of choosing numbers based on memorable dates, which limits your available ball pool to 31 of the 69 white numbers at most.

To find out more information about Quick Picks vs Player Picks visit the dedicated page.

You can't stay anonymous if you win Powerball

It is possible for lottery winners in seven states and jurisdictions to protect their anonymity in the event of a big win. They are Delaware, South Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Maryland, Kansas and Puerto Rico.

In other states you could attempt to claim the prize through a blind trust, but there is no guarantee that your identity will not be uncovered.

To find out more about playing Powerball, take a look at the Powerball Rules page.