When did Powerball change to 3 times a week?

Powerball is one of the most popular and well-known lottery games in the United States. Millions of people play Powerball every week, hoping to win the game’s massive jackpot prize. Powerball drawings currently take place three times a week, providing more opportunities for players to win.

The History of Powerball Drawings

When Powerball began in 1992, drawings were held once a week on Wednesday evenings. At the time, Powerball was only offered in 15 states. As the game grew in popularity and expanded to more states, a second weekly drawing was added on Saturday nights in 1997. This allowed players two chances per week to win the Powerball jackpot.

For over a decade, Powerball drawings remained at two nights per week. But in January 2012, the game underwent some significant changes, one of which was increasing the number of drawings to three per week.

Powerball Expansion to Three Drawings Per Week

On January 15, 2012, Powerball expanded from being a twice-weekly game to having drawings three nights a week. Drawings would now be held on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. This change came as Powerball was growing to become a truly nationwide game, available in 42 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S Virgin Islands.

Having one extra drawing per week gave players more chances to win, both the jackpot and other smaller prizes. The move was intended to continue growing excitement and interest in Powerball as jackpots rose faster with three drawings a week instead of two. It helped cement Powerball as America’s premier multi-state lottery game.

Reasons for the Additional Weekly Drawing

There were a few key reasons why Powerball officials decided in 2012 that the time was right to expand to three drawings per week:

  • Player demand – Many regular Powerball players had expressed a desire for more chances to win prizes.
  • Bigger and faster-growing jackpots – A third weekly drawing would help the jackpot grow bigger in less time, creating more excitement.
  • Staying competitive – Rival lottery Mega Millions had already moved to three weekly drawings in 2010. Powerball wanted to stay attractive and competitive.
  • Broadening its geographic reach – With Powerball expanding to new states across the nation, three drawings enabled more players nationwide to play.

In the end, adding a third weekly Powerball drawing on Mondays was a change that benefited both players who wanted more chances to win, and the lottery which saw continued growth and success from expanded Powerball sales.

The Impact of the Additional Powerball Drawing

The expansion to three Powerball drawings per week had a number of notable impacts on the game:

Bigger and Faster-Growing Jackpots

As intended, the addition of a third weekly drawing accelerated the rate at which the Powerball jackpot grows. Jackpots reached record-high amounts thanks to the extra tens of millions of dollars more from ticket sales for each drawing. The biggest jackpot in Powerball history – a whopping $1.586 billion – was won in January 2016, four years after the move to three weekly drawings.

Increased Ticket Sales

The lure of bigger jackpots drove increased Powerball ticket sales after the change. Within a year of expanding to three drawings, Powerball sales rose 23% compared to the prior year. In states that already participated in Powerball, sales climbed 20%. And in newer Powerball states added in 2012, sales jumped an impressive 51%.

Higher Odds of Winning

Although the odds of winning the jackpot didn’t change, adding a third weekly drawing gave players up to three chances each week to match numbers and win prizes. The odds of winning any prize improved from 1 in 31.8 to 1 in 24.9. This kept players engaged and provided more frequent winning experiences.

Adoption of Monday Drawings

When Powerball moved to three draws per week, Monday night was chosen for the new drawing. Initially, some existing states selling Powerball tickets kept Saturday as their third night for convenience. But within a few years, all participating lotteries shifted their third draw to Monday nights to align with the official Powerball schedule.

Powerball Triple Play

For the game’s 30th anniversary in 2022, Powerball launched a new optional add-on feature called Powerball Double Play. This gave players a chance to win additional prizes using their Powerball numbers from the main drawing. It was the first significant change for the game since becoming a three draw per week game ten years prior.

How Powerball Triple Play Works

When purchasing a Powerball ticket, players can pay an extra $1 for Powerball Double Play. It uses the same numbers played for the main Powerball drawing and draws a second set of winning numbers. Players can win prizes from $7 up to $10 million in the Double Play drawing.

Powerball Double Play drawings are held after the main Powerball drawing, using the same three nights per week schedule. Double Play prizes can be won regardless of whether a player wins in the main Powerball drawing.

States Offering Double Play

Since Powerball Double Play is an optional add-on feature, availability varies by state. As of October 2022, the following states offer Powerball Double Play:

States Offering Powerball Double Play
New Hampshire
New Mexico
North Carolina
North Dakota
South Carolina
South Dakota
U.S. Virgin Islands
West Virginia

Other states may choose to add Powerball Double Play in the future. Players can check with their state lottery to see if Double Play is available in their area.

The Future of Powerball

In the 30 years since Powerball began, the game has grown tremendously and undergone some pivotal changes along the way. Expanding to a third weekly drawing in 2012 was one such change. It propelled Powerball’s already enormous popularity and jackpots to new record heights.

Given Powerball’s successful track record of enhancements and innovations, it’s very possible we could see further changes to the game in the future. What might be next for Powerball? Here are some possibilities:

Increase to Four or More Drawings Per Week

If consumer demand and lottery sales support it, Powerball may consider going to four or even five drawings per week. That would provide players with more chances to win and accelerate jackpot growth even faster.

Bigger Starting Jackpots

Gradually raising the minimum starting jackpot, currently $20 million, could maintain excitement during periods when no one wins the top prize.

New Ways to Play

Powerball could introduce additional game features akin to Double Play that provide different ways to play and win. This helps drive interest and engage new types of lottery players.

Online Sales

As more states approve lottery ticket sales online, Powerball may eventually be available for purchase via mobile apps and websites. This will vastly broaden access and convenience.

No matter what changes may lie ahead, Powerball’s core appeal as a beloved national lottery offering potentially huge jackpots will continue captivating the imaginations of Americans from coast to coast. The game has come a long way from its once humble roots hosting a single weekly drawing.


Powerball has evolved considerably over its three decade history. The lottery game has grown from only 15 states at launch to 45 jurisdictions today. After starting with one drawing per week, Powerball increased to two drawings in 1997. But it was the expansion to three drawings weekly starting in January 2012 that truly propelled the game into the stratosphere.

Adding a drawing on Mondays gave players more chances to win substantial prizes. Jackpots began growing more quickly and reaching unprecedented levels, driving huge spikes in ticket sales. The $1.586 billion record Powerball jackpot from January 2016 is a direct result of the accelerated jackpot growth made possible by three drawings a week.

While the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are still exceedingly long at 1 in 292 million, having three opportunities a week rather than two does improve the probability ever so slightly. And it undoubtedly increased the overall chances of winning any Powerball prize. Players responded favorably to getting an extra shot each week at a potentially life-changing fortune.

For the Powerball lottery, increasing to three drawings per week provided more revenue opportunities and enhanced the game’s position as the number one national lottery brand. It was an important milestone in Powerball’s evolution toward becoming America’s favorite jackpot game.

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