Powerball tickets to be sold in California starting in April
The California Lottery Commission voted unanimously Thursday morning to bring the popular Powerball game to California, lottery officials said. Ticket sales will begin in April.
The commission believes adding the Powerball game, which has a starting jackpot of $40 million, could net the state between $90 million and $120 million annually in lottery revenue, according to a memo sent by Lottery Commissioner Robert O'Neill to other commission members.
"We have to continually offer our loyal players a variety of entertaining lottery games, and we firmly believe that Powerball is a right fit for the California Lottery,” Lottery Director Robert T. O’Neill said in a statement. Customers were "pretty clear" that they wanted it, he added.
The vote came just one day after the drawing for Powerball's $587.5-million jackpot. Two winning tickets were sold in Arizona and Missouri. Winners are given 180 days to claim their prize.
California is one of eight states that currently does not offer the Powerball game. Other states that do not offer the game are Utah, Nevada, Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi and Wyoming.
According to the memo, lottery officials commissioned a study to analyze the logistics of implementing the game in California and that, following that study, commission staff members recommended implementing the game in 2013.
The state lottery became licensed to offer Powerball tickets in California in September, but had to wait for the lottery commission to approve official game rules and regulations before offering the game.
To play Powerball, a participant must purchase a $2 ticket and pick five unique numbers from a field of one through 59, and a Powerball number from one through 35. The Powerball number can be the same as any of the first five numbers.
-- Wesley Lowery
Photo: A sign outside the One Stop Mart in Chicago shows the jackpots for lottery games, including the $550 million for the Powerball jackpot. Credit: Scott Olson / Getty Images