Powerball is an electronic lottery game that allows its players to select a “powerball number” and place their bid in exchange for a fee. The official deadline for ticket sales has been 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time each day; most lotteries schedule sales several days beforehand. The winning drawings are held at the Florida Lottery headquarters in Tallahassee. The minimum stated jackpot prize for Powerball is $20 million (ternary); the annuity of Powerball is paid in regular installments or all winners may choose a single large amount instead.
In its history, Powerball players have won millions of dollars. The winner receives not only the prize but also pays a fee to Powerball Commission. Powerball winners receive additional chances to win future draws. Powerball winners have the option of receiving monthly payments, weekly payments, or one-time payment for their winning tickets.
On March 7, Powerball was brought back into the Florida lottery scene following the success of its debut in the Texas lottery. With the addition of Powerball to the Florida lottery, there was a boost in ticket sales as well as state tax collections. Florida’s Powerball Jackpot increased by almost fifty percent from the previous January’s jackpot odds. The addition of Powerball to the Florida lottery brought with it some changes in Powerball procedures.
In the past, Powerball winners did not receive any cash, but instead, received Powerball points which they could use for future draws. With the addition of Powerball to the Florida lottery, this option was eliminated. The winning ticket holders now have the option of receiving either cash or a Powerball point coupon good for merchandise purchased at any Florida licensed retailer. As with every other contest that involves money, Powerball has its share of critics.
Critics of powerball include prominent Florida politicians and others who believe the new changes to the Powerball process is too great an advantage for the winner. Proponents of the new Florida procedures for Powerball prize sales say that the new structure of Powerball jackpot pool makes winning more likely than before. The new Florida system awards twice as much money as the old system, and this makes Powerball worth playing, they say. They also note that Florida is one of the few states that does not regulate jackpot pool sales; thus, many “street” vendors and individuals are engaging in what they see as unsavory and even illegal practices related to Powerball prize sales.
One of the biggest criticisms of Powerball is that the actual winner of the largest lottery jackpot in Florida history, the “million dollar” slot tournament, will only receive about one percent (less than one-fifth) of the jackpot prize. Because these smaller prizes are not subject to the same stringent requirements as the traditional jackpots, it is not surprising that many “street” vendors and individuals are taking advantage of the new rules. They are buying the Powerball tickets, selling them, and then offering them on eBay, Craigslist, and other online services at higher prices than usual. While Powerball winners will receive much more for their winning tickets in January, many of these individuals are not actually profiting from the Powerball. These “street vendors” will just be profiting from the sale of a few Powerball tickets to the public.
Critics of Powerball also point out that in addition to the smaller prizes, Powerball has had its share of bad publicity. For example, in its early days, there were numerous reports of Powerball winners becoming criminals or other undesirable people due to the huge winnings from Powerball games. Also, in earlier years, there was the “hot potato” gambler’s problem wherein people would buy Powerball tickets, only to drive home and find that they have lost their money. In addition, there have been reports of illegal gambling taking place at a number of local hotels and casinos. All of these occurrences have had a significant impact on the image of Powerball in Florida. Many individuals who have bought Powerball tickets have been turned off from playing Powerball on the Internet because of these and other issues.
Finally, although Powerball winners will receive a great deal of financial rewards, some Powerball winners still do not live up to their full potential. For example, after seeing their initial dreams of receiving large sums of money for placing a single Powerball ticket, many Powerball winners live below the poverty line. Because Powerball has taken its profits and given them away in the form of winning tickets, some players feel that they should get their share of the pie, but they just can’t. As technology continues to improve, hopefully the problems with Powerball will be lessened in the future.