Powerball is a multi-state lottery. It runs in all but six of the US states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.
It replaced the Lotto*America lottery in 1992, becoming the first lottery game to use two drums to draw winners. One drum is used for the white balls and one for the red "Power" ball, which gives the lottery its name.
It offers one jackpot, which increases every time that no winning jackpot ticket is sold, and a variety of smaller cash prizes.
Winners are drawn on Wednesday and Saturday nights at 10:12 PM Central Time. The drawings are conducted at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. The winning numbers are announced on television, on the Powerball website, in newspapers, and online.
In order to win the jackpot, players must correctly match all five white balls as well as the red Powerball.
There's no guarantee that a jackpot will be awarded in every drawing. If no one picks all six winning numbers, the jackpot rolls over to the next drawing.
As jackpot values soar, more and more people buy tickets, so a larger percentage of the possible number combinations are sold. Eventually, it becomes nearly impossible for a drawing to occur without a winner.
The Powerball Lottery's jackpot starts at $40 million and grows by at least $10 million each time the jackpot is not awarded. The jackpot can, and often does, reach values of hundreds of millions of dollars. As of 2016, the largest lottery jackpot in the history of the world was a Powerball jackpot worth over $1.5 billion dollars.