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Powerball will stay in Idaho

Apr 21, 2021, 2:02 pm

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"Freedom to play Powerball is restored."

By Kate Northrop

The Idaho Lottery today announced that Powerball, Idaho's longest running and most popular lottery game, will continue to be offered in the state.

The Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), the governing body for the Powerball game, informed its members yesterday that international Powerball sales will be delayed until sometime in 2022. As a result, the decision to soon remove Powerball from the Idaho Lottery's game offerings has been reversed.

"International sales of Powerball has been delayed," MUSL said in a statement issued to its members. "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."

As Idaho is a voting member of the Powerball Product Group, it will have a say in whether Powerball sales are extended to jurisdictions outside the U.S.

"Freedom to play Powerball is restored," Idaho Lottery Director Jeff Anderson said in a press release. "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."

Idaho lawmakers originally killed legislation that would have allowed the game to continue in the state after they voiced concerns over the game expanding to include Australia and Britain. Some legislators voting against the change expressed worries about revenue generated overseas being used to fund causes they did not support.

Other lawmakers said they feared that the odds of an Idaho resident winning would be reduced with more players. However, the odds remain the same no matter how many players take part since odds are not based on the number of players, rather the chances of particular numbers being selected.

Before it was just announced that Powerball will remain in Idaho, the state's final drawing for the game was scheduled to be held in August.

"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 added. "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."

An estimate by the Lottery finds that 670,000 Idaho residents play Powerball every year.

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