Idaho ends Powerball in state, fearing foreign participation

Mar 11, 2021, 6:25 am (40 comments)


BOISE, Idaho — Idaho lawmakers fearing foreign participation in the Powerball lottery killed legislation on Wednesday that would have allowed the game with huge jackpots to continue in the state after a run of more than 30 years.

The move came after Idaho Lottery officials sought a change in state law because Powerball is expanding to include Australia in 2021 and Britain in 2022. But current Idaho law only allows lotteries in the state played by people in the U.S. and Canada.

Idaho was one of the first states to join Powerball in the 1990s. The lottery has since grown to include 45 states, two U.S. territories and Washington, D.C. The Multi-State Lottery Association runs the game.

Idaho's Legislature is dominated by Republicans, but objections to the change also emerged from Democrats. The killing of the bill by a 10-4 vote by the Legislature's House State Affairs Committee means that the state's last Powerball drawing will be in August.

Republican Rep. Heather Scott worried that when Australia joins Powerball, the country's officials might use revenue generated for government coffers to back causes she opposes.

Scott expressed concern that could happen "in Australia anti-gun causes, which they see as good and we see as not good."

Democratic Rep. Chris Mathias said the Powerball in Idaho has been good for business and that the state took millions for public education, but had concerns that more countries might be added to the Powerball participation roster.

"My concern is the delegation of authority, and essentially turning over our sovereignty to this Multi-State Lottery Association," he said. "I think we should be concerned that they could be persuaded, they could be lobbied heavily by countries that we are not particularly friendly with."

Mathias wanted the bill amended to reflect those concerns, and voted with another Democratic representative and two Republicans against killing the legislation.

Idaho lottery officials have said the game generates about $28 million in sales annually in the state, with schools receiving about $14 million per year.

Money generated from Powerball ticket sales is held in trust until there's a winner. The addition of two new countries and more players is expected to increase jackpot sizes.

"This is a big jackpot game, so players like to have big jackpots," Jeff Anderson, director of the Idaho Lottery, told lawmakers. "One of the ways to do that is to have more players in the game."

Idaho's biggest Powerball winner was a resident of the small southwestern city of Star, who won $220 million in 2005.

Some Idaho lawmakers said they feared that the odds of an Idaho resident winning would be reduced with more players.

But the odds remain the same no matter how many players take part because the odds are not based on the number of players, but the chances of particular numbers being selected. If there are multiple winners, jackpots are split.

Anderson tried to convince lawmakers to make the change in state law by assuring them that a country like China — with a different legal system than the the U.S., Australia and Britain — would never be allowed to join.

Republican Rep. Bruce Skaug said he was troubled about the $3 million annually that is spent on advertising to convince people to play Powerball. He proposed the motion that killed the legislation.

"What we've got is 32 years of Idahoans being able to participate voluntarily in a lottery game of their choice," Anderson said after the vote. "Thirty-two years it's been OK, now it's not. It's very troubling."

Anderson said that Powerball will end in Idaho on Aug. 23 because of the vote.

He warned that besides the money that Idaho schools will lose, the state will face "untold amounts in expenses to unwind all the advertising commitments we have for billboards and point-of-sale materials and everything else. This is going to be very expensive for the people of Idaho."

Officials at the Multi-State Lottery Association in an email declined comment about the Idaho Powerball decision.



DELotteryPlyr's avatarDELotteryPlyr

WOW, very interesting that Powerball is going international.  Not sure what to think about it - yet.  Wonder how it will be received in those countries.

Todd's avatarTodd

I agree DELotteryPlyr, that's the big news here for me too.  Many people complain about jackpots being won in other states — I wonder how they will feel when the jackpot is won by someone in another country.

Edit: To be clear, the Powerball states have been debating going international with the game for many years.  They also got close to starting a new international game run by MUSL in 2004.  But now we apparently have target dates set, and things have progressed to the point that the states are deciding whether or not to stay in the game.

Big Joey

Should there be a spin off called International Powerball, alongside the regular Powerball that the states now have? Two versions of Powerball, same Matrix, just the International Powerball has International players playing with the state players.


Found this article saying PB foreign expansion is still in the discussion stage. Wonder how many other states have laws that restrict joining out of country lottery games. 

Making PB worldwide would certainly boost jackpots and of course sales, but can't imagine what will be said after a series of foreign jackpot winners.

andl's avatarandl

Add another Power Ball like Euro Millions does. I want  to see billion dollar jackpots every few months.


Hmm so let me see if I understand this correctly:  you’re concerned that other countries might use their proceeds (in their own country) for political purposes you “might not agree with” so you use your political power to take away the game entirely.  Makes perfect sense to me. 

Not to mention that they don’t seem to understand that the number of entries has nothing to do with the odds of winning.  Come on, it’s not a raffle people. 

Sounds like the voters of Idaho need to elect a little more intelligent legislators.

Raven62's avatarRaven62

Who owns the lottery in USA?

The Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) is an American non-profit, government-benefit association owned and operated by agreement of its 34-member lotteries. MUSL was created to facilitate the operation of multi-jurisdictional lottery games, most notably Powerball.


Does this mean we get to play in their lotteries at some point in the future?

travelintrucker's avatartravelintrucker

I don't like this at all. I'm surprised that Canadians can play in U.S. lotteries.


LOTTERY TAXATION and the LAW OF MONOPOLY          as Idaho points out how the winners are more likely to come from outside and even internationally

Okay first we need to see THE BIG PICTURE, not just our own small view, because 1) LOTTERY IS A Tax FUN'd Raiser for the Government

2) Lottery is not intended to make winners, and the greater pool means bigger ocean, thus greater chance of loss per person, even less chance to win 

3) LOTTERY is by far the worst gambling choice, with the chances of winning are already ridiculous and the payouts hideously small compared to the rate of win. 

 INTERNATIONAL RISK REWARD is increased on both sides, because 4) foreign players outside of chosen countries can win and 5) players rate of win per dollar lost

These problems exist anyway, despite what local states may do, generally making or pointing the real problem with lottery is GREED and MANIPULATION

Therefore, THE REALLY BIG IDEA is this : What is really needed is a complete overhaul of lottery, making it an investment to really help people and nations get out of monopoly conditions, which mostly only benefit the lottery or nation organizers, (government) and turning it into a true ALTRUISM that should be mutually inclusive and cooperative, such as funds for charity and organizations that create real BENEFITS,

THis could be achieved most likely by decreasing the huge prizes but increasing the amount of winners in the middle class spectrum (60K approximately).. But because the greed and law of monopoly is the operating principle, this does not occur, and much of the BALLYHOO about paying for education is hardly equal to the cost and loss to the people.

FOR THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE, I recall is an originating principle, IS IT NOT?     It is time all of you woke up, and see the THORNS in all the ROSEBUDS.

I am paneagle and am giving away SOLARIS winning numbers daily on with really true and great lists for PLAYERS of any race or nation or opinion.  The reason is because TRUE ALTRUISM is being shared and expressed for the NU AGEIS is here now, this year the first in the 2100 cycle. 

Galactician blogspot will show you more   and videos  on lottery are included by HEY from the treasure Tree by PANEAGLESONG smile

Raven62's avatarRaven62

Quote: Originally posted by Raven62 on Mar 11, 2021

Who owns the lottery in USA?

The Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) is an American non-profit, government-benefit association owned and operated by agreement of its 34-member lotteries. MUSL was created to facilitate the operation of multi-jurisdictional lottery games, most notably Powerball.

Members (38):

Arizona Lottery
Arkansas Lottery
Colorado Lottery
Connecticut Lottery Corporation
D.C. Lottery & CGCB
Delaware State Lottery
Florida Lottery
Hoosier Lottery
Idaho Lottery
Iowa Lottery
Kansas Lottery
Kentucky Lottery Corporation
Louisiana Lottery Corporation
Maine Lottery
Minnesota State Lottery
Mississippi Lottery Corporation
Missouri Lottery
Montana Lottery
Nebraska Lottery
New Hampshire Lottery Commission
New Mexico Lottery Authority
New York Lottery
North Carolina Education Lottery
North Dakota Lottery
Oklahoma Lottery
Oregon Lottery
Pennsylvania Lottery
Loteria Electronica de Puerto Rico
Rhode Island Lottery
South Carolina Education Lottery
South Dakota Lottery
Tennessee Education Lottery
Texas Lottery
Vermont Lottery
U.S. Virgin Islands Lottery
Wisconsin Lottery
West Virginia Lottery
Wyoming Lottery

Think's avatarThink

Hmmm... "5-eye" Powerball?

I already have stopped playing as often as I used to because of the terrible odds.  I might play once just before $150 Million and then wait until the cash amount is over a certain amount in the hundreds of millions just because the odds really are awful and nobody ever wins.

When the odds get upped again I will quit totally.

If Mega Millions is smart they will go back to 175 million to 1 odds and  go with a $3 tik/ $2 plier ($5) ticket that people actually win on with jackpots up to $650-$700 million and great second prizes raining down all over every state.  There is little hope of that however.

I don't understand why Idaho doesn't like sending money overseas when there are some states right here in the U.S. which they also probably really object to sending money to.  It really does not make much sense and indicates a lack of depth of analysis on their part.

sully16's avatarsully16

Idaho has many great games, I think the gamblers would support those games, plus the odds are better.



I would be completely opposed to the Powerball game adding additional countries. If I'm playing the game [which I do consistently] trying to win the jackpot and it was won by someone in another country I would be very upset. Even if I'm not the winner at least I can take solace in the fact the taxes and spending would benefit a neighboring state.

Bottom line - if other countries join I will permanently cease playing Powerball.

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