A man named Mark just sent us an interesting email about the multiplier option in our lotto games. You likely already know this, but in Powerball, the multiplier feature is called the Power Play; in Mega Millions, it’s the Megaplier; and in Lotto America, it’s the All Star Bonus option.

In each of the games, adding that option to your play will multiply any prize you win (except the Match 5 prize in Powerball and the jackpot in any of the games) by the number selected as the multiplier in that night’s drawing.

Mark wanted to know how the multiplier number is chosen in each game, and what the probabilities are for the multiplier feature being 2X, 3X, 4X, 5X, etc. The quick answer is that there is a separate drawing for the multiplier number, and the odds vary.

All this talk of multipliers might be a tad confusing, so let’s use a real-world example from the Powerball game. A Powerball ticket costs $2 per play, and you have the option of adding the multiplier option to your play for an extra $1. Let’s say that in the Powerball drawing for which you bought your ticket, you match four of the first five numbers. And the Power Play number in that night’s drawing is 3X. You normally would win $100, but because you added the Power Play feature to your ticket, your prize would be multiplied to $300.

The details about the multiplier feature are included in the game rules for Powerball, Mega Millions and Lotto America. But here are more details with Powerball as the example: Remember that when the jackpot for the next Powerball drawing is $150 million or less, a 10X is added to the Power Play pool, giving players the chance to multiply most prize levels by up to 10 times. When the jackpot in the game is more than $150 million, the 10X feature isn’t available, so the multipliers that can be selected are 2X-5X.

When the 10X is included, there are 43 numbers in the Power Play pool. Of those 43 numbers, 24 are 2s, 13 are 3s, three are 4s, two are 5s and one of the numbers is a 10. Here’s what that looks like in table form:

43 Total Numbers In Power Play Pool

2X = 24

3X = 13

4X = 3

5X = 2

10X = 1

(When the 10X isn’t included, there are 42 numbers in the Power Play pool, and the breakdown of the rest of the numbers remains the same.)

So, does it stand to reason that the Power Play number will be 2 more often than 3? Yes. But the other multipliers also have a shot.

Thanks for the question, Mark!

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