Sales in a new game called Powerball® debuted on April 19, 1992, in Iowa and 14 other states. The first drawing in the game came just a few days later on April 22, 1992.
In the 25 years since, Powerball has gone on to become synonymous with big jackpots. Today, the game is played by every U.S. lottery: Powerball tickets are sold in 44 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Powerball began as a way for lotteries in smaller states to offer big jackpots by joining together to pool their combined populations and sales. The game also introduced the concept of two drawings in one: Powerball players choose numbers from two sets of pools for a chance at a big prize.
When it was introduced, Powerball jackpots started at a guaranteed $2 million. Players chose five numbers from a pool of 1 to 45, and then one more, called the Powerball, from a separate pool of 1 to 45.
The game has been updated several times through the years to introduce new features and provide additional ways to play. And numerous other lottery games around the world have been modeled after Powerball.
Today, Powerball holds the world record for the largest lottery jackpot, a prize of nearly $1.6 billion that was split by three tickets in California, Florida and Tennessee in the drawing on Jan. 13, 2016. Powerball now is a $2 game and players choose 5 out of 69 numbers for the white balls, then 1 out of 26 numbers for the Powerball. The game’s jackpot starts at a guaranteed $40 million and grows until it’s won.
Here is a “by-the-numbers” look at Powerball in Iowa:
$241 million = largest Powerball jackpot won in Iowa. That prize was won in June 2012 by the Shipping 20, a group of co-workers from the Quaker Oats plant in Cedar Rapids.
1,222 = number of Powerball prizes of at least $10,000 won in Iowa.
27 = number of Powerball prizes of $1 million won in Iowa.
5 = number of Powerball prizes of $2 million won in Iowa.
8 = number of Powerball jackpots won by Iowa Lottery players.
25 = number of years the Iowa Lottery has been part of Powerball. Former Iowa Lottery CEO Dr. Ed Stanek was a co-inventor of the game and Iowa was a founding member.
$5.2 million = first Powerball jackpot amount claimed by an Iowa player. Ed Brown of Washington split a $10.4 million jackpot with a Missouri woman in December 1992.
$81.4 million = highest annual Powerball sales in Iowa, which occurred in fiscal year 2013.