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Powerball® Turns 25

Iowa Was Founding Member Of Game That Now Is Household Name


Shipping 20, Iowas Largest Powerball jackpot winners

CLIVE, Iowa -Twenty-five years ago this week, a game that would transform the face of lotteries got its start.

Powerball tickets began sales on April 19, 1992, in Iowa and 14 other states, with the first drawing in the game on April 22, 1992. In the 25 years since, Powerball has become a name 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 large 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.

"Powerball truly was a unique idea," Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich said. "I doubt anyone imagined it would grow into what it is today. I've enjoyed the challenge of being a part of helping the game grow - and our players definitely have enjoyed its prizes."

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. 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 are some interesting Powerball factoids 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.

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