Idaho to Keep Playing Powerball After August
Idaho Powerball players have welcomed an announcement that their state will continue participating in the popular lottery game, as the previous end date of August 23, 2021 was scrapped.
Powerball was set to launch international ticket sales in Australia this year, followed by the UK in 2022. However, Idaho law forbids lottery ticket sales outside the US and Canada, and a move into foreign markets would have ended the state's participation in the game.
Luckily for Powerball fans in the state, expansion plans have now been put on ice indefinitely, allowing the game to continue being offered by the Idaho Lottery.
The Multi-State Lottery Assocation (MUSL), which runs Powerball via the Powerball Product Group, had voted to expand ticket sales overseas. Idaho has been a member of the MUSL since 1990 and voted on the expansion.
However, the MUSL has now pushed back its plans for an unspecified length of time. "International sales of Powerball has been delayed," the MUSL announced. "The issues of offering this game outside the United States are complex. There is no defined timeline for a decision, however, any decision will ultimately be determined by a vote of all 38 members of the Powerball Product Group."
Powerball is the Gem State's favorite and longest-running game and has been played in Idaho since its launch in 1992. Idaho's largest Powerball prize was $220 million won by a player in the southwestern town of Star in 2005.
About 670,000 Idahoans purchase $28 million worth of Powerball tickets annually, and $14 million of that revenue contributes to local educational programs.
The Idaho Lottery was concerned about how school funding would be affected by pulling out of the game and campaigned for the law to be changed. Players, retailers, and beneficiaries of lottery funding also voiced their support for continuing with Powerball. However, a legislative committee rejected the option of amending the law in March.
News that Powerball would stay in the state was greeted with enthusiasm by Idaho Lottery Director Jeff Anderson. "Freedom to play Powerball is restored," he said.
"This is a game that Idahoans have enjoyed for three decades. The voters of Idaho created the Lottery in 1989 after an initiative was placed on the ballot by the Idaho Legislature which received an affirmative vote of the people in the 1988 general election. Shortly thereafter, Idaho was one of the 13 original states that created Powerball in February 1992.
"We believe that international sales of Powerball are inevitable and Idaho law will have to be changed in 2022 for players to remain able to enjoy the world’s most popular lottery game," Anderson commented. "We will continue to responsibly work with the Idaho Legislature, our players, and our retailers to ensure Idahoans have the freedom to enjoy Powerball in Idaho."
A third Powerball weekly drawing is set to debut nationwide on August 23 when a Monday night drawing will join the current Wednesday and Saturday schedule. The draw time and game rules will remain unchanged.
The next opportunity to take home a Powerball jackpot is Saturday, April 24. $104 million ($73 million cash option) is up for grabs, so make sure to pick up a ticket for your chance to win big.
Published: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Updated: Thursday, April 22, 2021