What Are Lottery and Powerball Numbers?

By Crystal Lassen
Lottery numbers, the use, a machine
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A lottery is considered a form of legal gambling. Many states have implemented state lotteries in which players can purchase tickets for small sums of money, usually a few dollars, with the hopes of winning a substantial cash prize. In most cases, the tickets can be purchased one to three hours before the actual drawing at fuel stations and some spirit stores. The drawing is televised, and takes place in the evening, generally between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. depending on the game.

Powerball in General

Powerball is a multistate lottery that is played simultaneously in 42 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Powerball is recognized as the most generous lottery in the United States, given that its jackpot pool is drawn from such a wide player pool. It is played on Wednesday and Saturday nights, with each ticket costing one dollar--though an extra dollar for the Power Play can increase the size of any winnings. Prize money is generated strictly through ticket sales. Upon winning the jackpot, winners can choose to take a lump sum, or accept an annuity that pays a fixed amount over 29 years. Given current tax laws, the 29-year payment option generally results in a larger overall payout.

Powerball Numbers

Numbers for the Powerball lottery are drawn from a circular drum which mixes 59 white balls and 39 red balls. The red balls represent the Powerballs. The right Powerball number can turn a $200,000 prize into a prize that is worth millions. Five white balls are drawn and if someone matches their numbers with the five white balls on the ticket, then the person wins $200,000. If the winner also matches the Powerball number, the winner hits the jackpot.

State Lotteries

State lotteries are drawn in a similar fashion to Powerball. There is most often a churning drum that spits out the numbered balls. Many state lotteries draw 5 or 6 balls in order to make a series. The jackpot is hit when all of the balls are matched with numbers on a ticket. Usually, lesser amounts of numbers that are matched offer smaller winnings.

Lottery Sales

Many state lotteries contribute some ticket sales to popular causes such as school funding or community programs. Though you may not win the jackpot, the odds of winning a free ticket or a little extra cash are moderate. The Powerball ticket sales go into the jackpot and to individual state legislatures. This money is used to fund government-aided programs and to improve public school systems.