Powerball Games Around the World

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Powerball Games Around the World
Image source: Flickr

The Powerball is one of the world’s most popular lottery formats – and with jackpots sometimes reaching over US$1 billion, it’s not hard to see why! While the basic premise is the same, different countries often put their own spin on their local Powerball draws which can change the odds.

Thanks to the internet, players from around the globe can now take part in all the major international lotteries from the comfort of home… but which one to pick?! We take a look at three of the world’s favorite Powerball lotteries – US, France and South Africa – and what makes them unique.

What is Powerball? And what makes Powerball different from other lotteries?

Firstly – what’s different about the Powerball, and how do the odds of winning compare with a standard lottery draw? In a way, the Powerball is almost like a mini-lottery in addition to a standard lottery. You’re betting on the winning numbers in a set of five normal lottery balls, as well as a separate draw to select the Powerball – normally red.

Depending on which national Powerball draw you take part in, there may be up to 69 standard white lottery balls, and 26 red Powerballs, as in the US Powerball. The South African Powerball features 50 standard and 20 powerball numbers, while the French Powerball has even better odds, with 49 standard and just 10 powerball numbers. The downside of those better odds, of course, is that the overall jackpot never climbs as high as the US Powerball has – all the way up to $US 1.5 billion!

But how do the odds against standard lottery draws compare? Unfortunately, not so well. Your chances of winning the Powerball are significantly smaller than the odds of winning a standard pick-5 lotto game. This is however why Powerball lotteries are able to offer such enormous jackpots compared with other draws. And when the cost of a ticket is roughly the same, many people feel taking a shot at a much bigger win justifies the risk!

Many Powerball games also give you the option of taking the ‘Power Play’ for a small additional charge. If you take this option, there’s the potential to multiply your winnings if you do match a certain amount of numbers.

United States Powerball:

The most famous Powerball of them all, the US Powerball can trace its roots back to 1988, although its seen a few ‘rebrandings’ over the years. Those lucky enough to win the jackpot can take their winnings either as a lump sum or an annuity paid out over 30 years. Note that the jackpot total is based on the annuity option – you will receive less if you opt for the lumpsum option.

Quick stats:

Number of balls:

69 white balls and 26 red Powerballs

When do draws take place?

Every Wednesday and Saturday night at 22:59 (ET)

Number of players?

It’s estimated that at least 30 million tickets are sold for each draw, although that number climbs considerably as the jackpot does!

Odds of winning:

1 in 292,201,388 to hit the jackpot, although your chances of winning a smaller prize are actually quite favorable compared with other Powerball draws. For example, you qualify for a prize if you match just the Powerball alone and none of the white balls – and these odds are just 1 in 38.

Average jackpot:

The biggest of them all, with a starting jackpot of $40,000,000, which dwarfs most of the largest payouts available through other lotteries.

France Powerball:

You only need to take a brief look at the latest French lotto winning numbers results to see why this international Powerball version is so popular. Compared with the US Powerball, your chances of winning are significantly higher – so while you’ll never see jackpots anywhere near as big as with other games, your chances of bagging a pretty decent win are very attractive! This makes the French Powerball a popular choice for the more risk-averse lotto player.

Quick stats:

Number of balls:

49 white balls and 10 red Powerballs

When do draws take place? 

Every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 7.07pm GMT.

Odds of winning?

1 in 19,068,840 to win the jackpot, going down to just 1 in 9,631 for matching 4 numbers, with an average payout of €500 (US$550).

Average jackpot:

Minimum jackpot of €2 million, biggest ever single win of €24 million.

South African Powerball:

The South African Powerball started back in 2009, and has quickly become one of the country’s favorite lotteries. It’s popular not just for its hefty jackpots, but also very favorable odds of winning smaller prizes. With odds around 12 times better than the US Powerball, it’s an attractive option for international players.

Quick stats:

Number of balls:

50 white balls and 20 powerballs.

Odds of winning:

1 in 24,435,180 of winning the jackpot, going down to 1 in 18 for the ninth prize tier.

Average jackpot:

R 22,000,000 (about US$1.5 million)

So there you have it – whatever your risk appetite, one of the above Powerball draws is bound to appeal. Now all there is to do is keep those fingers crossed!

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