Can you play Powerball in UK?

Quick Answer

No, Powerball cannot be played in the UK. Powerball is an American lottery game that is only available in 45 US states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. There is no way for residents of the UK to purchase Powerball tickets or claim Powerball prizes. The UK has its own national lottery games like EuroMillions and Lotto that offer similar huge jackpot prizes.

What is Powerball?

Powerball is an American lottery game operated by the Multi-State Lottery Association, with drawings held twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It is one of the most widely played lottery games in the United States and is known for its incredibly large jackpot prizes that can grow into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

To play Powerball, players select five white ball numbers between 1-69 and one red Powerball number between 1-26. Tickets cost $2 each, and players can choose their own numbers or have the numbers randomly generated by a quick pick option. Prizes are awarded for matching at least 3 white balls, with larger prizes for matching 4, 5 or all 6 numbers. The coveted grand prize jackpot is won by matching all 5 white balls and the red Powerball. The odds of winning the jackpot are incredibly small, at just 1 in 292.2 million.

Powerball draws take place at the Florida Lottery’s studio in Tallahassee, Florida. Drawings are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time and are televised across the United States.

Why Powerball is not available in the UK

Powerball is an exclusively American lottery game and is not available for play in the United Kingdom or anywhere else outside of the 45 participating US states, districts and territories. There are several key reasons why Powerball is limited to the US:

– Powerball is coordinated by the Multi-State Lottery Association, which is an organization of US lottery operators. The MUSL has authority over Powerball and restricts its availability to member states that have agreed to jointly operate the game according to the official Powerball rules and procedures.

– Powerball tickets can only be purchased from licensed retailers located in participating US states. There is no way for players outside the US to buy official Powerball tickets. Any websites claiming to sell international Powerball tickets are not legitimate.

– All prizes must be claimed in the US state where the winning ticket was purchased. There is no mechanism for those outside the US to claim Powerball prizes. Lottery winnings are also subject to federal and jurisdictional taxes in the US.

– The laws and lottery regulations vary from state to state in the US and are different than those in the UK and other countries. Introducing Powerball outside the US would require working through complex legal and regulatory restrictions.

So in summary, Powerball is operated solely in the United States under one unified set of rules and laws. The game’s organizers have no plans to expand Powerball to other countries anytime soon. Those living in the UK have access to other big jackpot games through the National Lottery.

Lottery games available in the UK

While Powerball is not available to play in the United Kingdom, residents can participate in a variety of national lottery games run by the Camelot Group through the UK National Lottery. The National Lottery was launched in 1994 and offers huge jackpot draws. Popular UK national lottery games include:

– **Lotto** – Lotto is the UK’s flagship lottery game, with draws held twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Players choose 6 numbers between 1-59 to try to match the numbers drawn. Prizes start at £2 for matching just 2 numbers, up to multimillion pound jackpots for matching all 6.

– **EuroMillions** – EuroMillions is a lottery with draws held in the UK on Tuesday and Friday evenings. Players select 5 numbers from 1-50 and 2 Lucky Star numbers from 1-12. Jackpots often exceed £100 million. EuroMillions tickets can be purchased in the UK, and several other European countries take part in the game.

– **Set For Life** – Set For Life has daily draws where players can win £10,000 per month for 30 years. To win the top prize, you need to match 5 numbers from 1-47 plus 1 Life Ball number from 1-10. Lower tier prizes are also available.

– **Thunderball** – Thunderball draws happen four times a week, on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. For Thunderball, players choose 5 main numbers from 1-39, and a Thunderball number from 1-14. The top prize is £500,000 for matching all numbers.

– **Scratchcards** – The National Lottery sells a wide assortment of scratchcard games ranging from £1 up to £20 per card. Scratchcards offer instant cash prizes for matching symbols, with payouts up to £1 million possible on some cards.

While the UK National Lottery doesn’t have Powerball, Brits still get to play for massive multimillion-pound jackpots and life-changing prizes across these exciting lottery games. The National Lottery also raises billions of pounds for good causes like charities, education, arts and sports.

Odds of winning lottery jackpots in US vs UK

Lottery games in the United States and United Kingdom offer comparable chances to win big jackpot prizes, although the exact odds vary between different games. Here is a comparison:

Powerball (US)

– Odds of winning jackpot: 1 in 292,201,338

– Jackpot: Typically $40 million to over $500 million

Mega Millions (US)

– Odds of winning jackpot: 1 in 302,575,350

– Jackpot: Starts at $20 million and rolls over

UK Lotto

– Odds of winning jackpot: 1 in 45,057,474

– Jackpot: £2 million on Wednesdays / £3.8 million on Saturdays

EuroMillions (UK and Europe)

– Odds of winning jackpot: 1 in 139,838,160

– Jackpot: Often over £100 million

While the odds are stacked against players actually winning the jackpot, it’s clear that games in both countries offer life-altering prizes. Powerball and Mega Millions have better odds but lottery fever in the US means jackpots can balloon to stratospheric levels. UK Lotto and EuroMillions have slightly worse odds, but jackpots still become enormous amounts. Bottom line – lotteries on both sides of the pond give dreams of massive riches!

The biggest lottery jackpots won in the US and UK

Lottery jackpots reaching 9 or 10 figures are not unheard of in the US or the UK. Here’s a look at some of the biggest lottery prizes ever awarded:

United States

– $1.586 billion – Powerball – January 2016 – 3 winners

– $1.537 billion – Mega Millions – October 2018 – 1 winner

– $768.4 million – Powerball – March 2019 – 1 winner

– $758.7 million – Powerball – August 2017 – 1 winner

– $656 million – Mega Millions – March 2012 – 3 winners

United Kingdom

– £195 million – EuroMillions – July 2022 – 1 winner

– £184 million – EuroMillions – May 2022 – 1 winner

– £170 million – EuroMillions – October 2019 – 1 winner

– £161 million – EuroMillions- July 2011 – 2 winners

– £148 million – EuroMillions – April 2022 – 1 winner

The biggest Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots in the US have exceeded $1.5 billion, surpassing any UK jackpots. However, EuroMillions in the UK has also produced enormous winners over £180 million. These massive prizes, won by single ticket holders or small groups, clearly illustrate how lotteries can dramatically change lives in an instant! While the games differ, lottery dreams unite players on both sides of the Atlantic.

How lottery profits are used in the US versus the UK

Lottery profits in both the United States and United Kingdom go to supporting important government programs and services, but there are some differences in how the funds are allocated.

United States

In the US, lottery profits stay within the state where ticket sales originated. Each state decides how to best use the revenues, such as:

– Education – The most common use, supporting K-12 schools, colleges, scholarships.

– General government expenses – Some states devote proceeds to health programs, public employee pensions, economic development, tourism, infrastructure.

– Environmental causes – Lottery dollars go to state parks, wildlife areas, trails in some states.

– Retailer commissions and operating expenses are also paid from lottery revenues.

United Kingdom

In the UK, funds raised by the National Lottery are distributed by 12 independent Lottery Distribution Boards under the oversight of the National Lottery Community Fund. Revenues support:

– Arts – Museums, theaters, libraries, music, films and heritage. Gets 20% of funding.

– Sports – Amateur/grassroots sports, coaching, facilities. 20% of funds.

– Health, education, environment and charitable causes – 40% of National Lottery funding.

– Big national causes – Health, education, arts projects. 20% of funds.

– Prizes and operating expenses are also covered by National Lottery income.

While some variation exists, lotteries in both nations devote significant percentages of profits to major public priorities like education, health services and recreation. Lottery players can feel good that they are contributing to the greater public good when purchasing tickets.

Taxes on lottery winnings: US vs UK

Both the US and UK apply taxes to lottery winnings, but they are treated somewhat differently. Here is an overview of lottery taxation in each country:

United States

– Federal taxes – Lottery winnings in the US are subject to federal tax at the highest marginal tax rate, currently 37% for 2023. This applies to the entire jackpot amount.

– State taxes – Some US states also tax lottery winnings, at rates varying from 2.5% to 8.95%. California, Florida, New Hampshire, Tennessee and Texas do not tax lottery winnings.

– Withholdings – For large jackpot wins in the US, both federal and state taxes are withheld immediately when the prize is claimed.

United Kingdom

– Lottery duties – Instead of income tax, the UK applies a lottery duty tax to ticket sales. This ranges from 12% on scratchcards to 25% for some online instant win games. Draw-based games are 12%.

– Income tax – Only a small portion of major National Lottery draw prizes have income tax withheld. For lump sums over £500,000, the first 20% is tax free. Anything additional is taxed at 40%.

– No other taxes – Unlike the US, there are no state, local or other taxes applied to UK lottery winnings. Just the specific National Lottery duties and occasional income tax for the largest prizes.

Overall taxation is higher on US lottery winnings compared to the UK. However, both jurisdictions benefit from the revenues generated from their respective lottery games.

How to claim lottery prizes in the US vs the UK

Collecting lottery jackpot riches requires following some procedures that share similarities and differences between the US and UK:

Claiming Powerball and Mega Millions prizes in the US

– Winners have choice between lump sum or annuity. Most take lump sum.

– Tickets must be signed and presented in the state where purchased.

– For jackpots, winners must contact lottery officials directly to make a claim.

– Strong security measures used to verify validity of tickets and winner identities.

– Annuities provide annual installment payments over 29 years.

– Prizes must be claimed within 6 months in some states or will be forfeited.

Claiming National Lottery prizes in the UK

– All National Lottery prizes are paid as lump sums, no annuity option.

– Scratchcards and online winnings under £500 can be claimed from authorized retailers.

– Prizes up to £50,000 can be claimed at lottery district offices or by post.

– Jackpot and high tier prizes must be claimed in person at designated claims centers.

– Total ticket security checks required, and winners must provide ID and proof of age/residency.

– Prizes must be claimed within 180 days or will expire.

– An attorney or financial advisor is recommended to assist with large lottery claims.

While the claim process differs, common requirements in both countries involve confirming the ticket’s validity, the winner’s identity and their eligibility to play before awarding the prizes. This ensures integrity and security of these extremely lucrative games.

Notable lottery winners from the US and UK

Playing the lottery only rarely results in stratospheric riches, but some fortunate ticket holders have beat the odds and won truly life-changing prizes over the years:

US lottery mega winners

– $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot split by 3 winners in 2016.

– $768.4 million Powerball claimed by a 24-year-old Wisconsin man in 2019.

– $758.7 million Powerball won by a 53-year-old hospital worker in Massachusetts in 2017.

– $656 million Mega Millions shared by the infamous “Three Amigos” in Illinois in 2012.

– $533 million Mega Millions won in 2018 by a New Jersey family’s lottery pool.

UK National Lottery big prizewinners

– A £195 million EuroMillions jackpot won by a UK ticket holder in July 2022.

– One player scooped a £170 million EuroMillions jackpot in 2019.

– A £161 million EuroMillions prize claimed by a Scottish couple in 2011.

– In November 2020, a £175 million EuroMillions prize was awarded, the UK’s biggest ever.

– A £148 million EuroMillions jackpot won by one UK ticket holder in April 2022.

These stories of mind-boggling lottery fortunes, won across the pond or right at home, keep players eagerly checking their tickets for the chance at a dramatic reversal of fortune.


In conclusion, Powerball is a distinctly American lottery game that is not playable anywhere outside of the United States. Residents of the UK are restricted from purchasing Powerball tickets or winning Powerball prizes. However, popular UK National Lottery draw games like EuroMillions and Lotto give local players chances to win jackpot riches rivaling the biggest Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots in the States. While the lottery options vary between the countries, and rules differ on taxes and claims, lotteries in both the US and UK offer exciting dreams of instantly becoming millionaires or billionaires on a lucky ticket draw. The remote odds don’t deter ticket buyers from snapping up their chances to hit it astronomically big.

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