The Powerball is one of the most popular and most lucrative lotteries in the country, but is not available in areas without a state lottery.
In September a lucky Powerball player in California scooped the seventh-largest lottery win in United States history, picking up nearly $700 million dollars after matching all six numbers.
Powerball is the most popular lottery in the US and draws huge numbers of entrants for every draw, despite the fact that winning a Powerball prize comes with odds of roughly 1 in 25 million. Powerball is offered as an additional number in conjunction with state-wide lotteries across the country.
In total, 44 states plus Washington DC, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are involved in the Powerball and history has suggested that some areas tend to fare better than other. Indiana is responsible for the most with 39 Powerball winners, more than 10% of all jackpots claimed.
But while the vast majority of states run their own lotteries, there are some who do not and whose residents are therefore not able to enter into the Powerball. The six states without state lotteries are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah.
Why don’t some states have lotteries?
Laws on gambling and lotteries are largely decided at a state level meaning that there are very different rules on and perceptions of the practices across the country. The six states who do not have lotteries have decided to abstain for a variety of reasons.
Hawaii, for example, is thought to be reluctant to encourage gambling for fear that it might damage the state’s lucrative tourism industry. In a similar vein, the strong religious sentiment in Alabama and Utah could well explain why state legislators are reluctant to allow a lottery.
At the other end of the scale, the likes of Mississippi and Nevada are clearly very open to the practice of gambling but still choose not to have a state lottery. This could well be because the local casino industry is so valuable that the introduction of a potential ‘rival’ could affect their revenues.
“[Casinos] say the more money people are spending on lotteries, the less they have to spend in casinos,” reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “The casinos’ position on a state lottery has been so unwavering that it’s entirely unsurprising when a lottery proposal is rejected by the state legislature.”
Finally, Alaska is also yet to introduce a state lottery but there seems little chance of one emerging in the near future. The state’s tax revenue is swelled with the local oil industry to such an extent that there is little need to search for additional money streams.