Differences between the US Powerball and the Australian Powerball

Despite sharing the same name, the US Powerball and the Australian Powerball are very different.

Australia system entries vs US PowerPlay

For starters, in Australia we have a range of entry types, also known as System entries, in addition to the standard entry type.

In the US, they have access to what they call the PowerPlay. For an extra dollar (so $3 instead of $2 per entry), you get the chance to multiply your winnings. After the main numbers and the Powerball are drawn, the PowerPlay number is drawn from a seperate barrel with balls that range between 2 and 5. This number is the multiplier of your winnings. But don't be fooled, the odds are not equal for the multiplier. While it may seem intuitive that the barrel simply contains those 5 balls, the odds are skewed towards the lower end, as the barrel actually contains 42 balls, with the lower multipliers being represented more frequently. Here is the breakdown:

PowerPlay barrel breakdown - without 10x
PowerPlay (Multiplier) 2 3 4 5
Balls in barrel 24 13 3 2
Odds of being drawn 57.14% 30.95% 7.14% 4.76%

If the Jackpot is below $150M, an extra 10x PowerPlay ball is added to the barrel. When this happens, the odds look like this:

PowerPlay barrel breakdown - with 10x
PowerPlay (Multiplier) 2 3 4 5 10
Balls in barrel 24 13 3 2 1
Odds of being drawn 55.81% 30.23% 6.98% 4.65% 2.33%

It should be noted that the Jackpot does not get affected by the multiplier, and multiplied wins are capped to 2 millions.

Differences in barrel sizes

The other major differences between the Australian version of the Powerball and the US Powerball are the barrel sizes. In the US, the main barrel has numbers from 1 to 69, while in Australia we have numbers between 1 and 45. In the US, the Powerball barrel has numbers from 1 to 26 and in Australia the Powerball barrel contains balls from 1 to 20. Additionally, in the US they draw 5 balls from the main barrel, while in Australia we draw 7 balls from the main barrel. Here is a visual breakdown:

Main barrel Main barrel draws Powerball barrel
Australia 1 - 45 7 1 - 20
US 1 - 69 5 1 - 26

As you can imagine, this affects the odds significantly. The odds to win the Powerball in Australia is 1 in 134,490,400, while the odds of winning the US Powerball is 1 in 292,201,338.

Dividend allocation

Another difference is that outside of the Jackpot, in the US the prizes (dividends) are fixed, while in Australia, each division has an allocated percentage of the total prize that gets shared within the division.

US Powerball Division and Dividends
Match Odds (1 in..) Dividend (prize)
5 Numbers + Powerball 292,201,338 Jackpot! currently $169,000,000
5 Numbers 11,688,054 $1,000,000
4 Numbers + Powerball 913,129 $50,000
4 Numbers 36,525 $100
3 Numbers + Powerball 14,494 $100
3 Numbers 580 $7
2 Numbers + Powerball 701 $7
1 Number + Powerball 92 $4
Powerball 38 $4

As the dividends in Australia are dynamic, I averaged the dividends and winners for division 2 to 9 over the last 10 draws. By putting an actual number on each division, things are a little easier to compare.

Australia Powerball Division and Dividends
Match Odds (1 in..) Dividend Pool Distribution Average Dividend
7 Numbers + Powerball 134,490,400 35% Jackpot! currently $8,000,000
7 Numbers 7,078,443 1.8% $108,573.07
6 Numbers + Powerball 686,176 1.1% $4,917.02
6 Numbers 36,115 2% $453.36
5 Numbers + Powerball 16,943 1.5% $166.75
5 Numbers 1,173 9.7% $73.58
4 Numbers + Powerball 892 7.6% $43.03
3 Numbers + Powerball 188 15% $18.08
2 Numbers + Powerball 66 26.3% $10.97