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Originally published January 26, 2010 at 12:00 PM | Page modified February 19, 2010 at 2:10 PM

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Corrected version

Powerball lottery starts Sunday in Washington

Washington residents will be able to buy tickets for the multistate lottery game Powerball this weekend, making Washington one of the latest to join the profitable game.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Washington residents will be able to buy tickets for the multistate lottery game Powerball this weekend, making Washington one of the latest to join the profitable game.

Ticket sales begin Sunday, and the first drawing will be the following Wednesday.

Powerball is similar to Mega Millions, in which players pick six numbers and need to match all six to win the big jackpot.

But the drawings are on different days: Mega Millions numbers are drawn Tuesday and Friday; Powerball will be Wednesday and Saturday. Washington was able to become a Powerball state through new state legislation and permission from the Multi-State Lottery Association. Neighboring states Oregon and Idaho already have Powerball.

Nine other states are joining Powerball this week.

The largest jackpot in Powerball was $365 million won in February 2006, said Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association. He said the average jackpot is $120 million.

Jacque Coe, spokeswoman for Washington State Lottery, said the state hopes to make as much as $30 million a year in Powerball sales within the next few years. She said there is some concern that Powerball will take money away from other state lottery games, but said interest will remain high in Powerball and Mega Millions as the jackpots increase.

Adding new states to the Powerball game will mean faster-growing jackpots, Strutt said. Today, he said, the game averages 12 jackpot wins a year. With the additional states, it will likely rise to 19 a year, Strutt said.

He said the state will get 50 cents from every $1 Powerball ticket sold. The rest of the money goes to prizes.

Coe said Mega Millions is the state's most profitable lottery game.

Since 1982, Washington's lottery has generated more than $2.5 billion for state programs for education and economic development. Powerball will be the ninth lottery game available in the state.

It costs $1 a ticket to play Powerball. Players pick five numbers from 1 to 59 and one Powerball number from 1 to 39 to win. There are nine ways to win a prize.

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According to lottery officials, the odds of winning the Powerball grand prize, by matching the five white balls and the one red ball, are one in 195 million.

In the Mega Millions game, players choose five numbers from 1 to 56 and one "mega ball" number from 1 to 46. There are also nine ways to win a prize.

The Mega Millions game is offered in 12 states, but 23 more are joining this week.

Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or sgilmore@seattletimes.com

Information in this article, originally published january 26, 2010, was corrected February 19, 2010. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Mega Millions is the state's most popular lottery game. It is the state's most profitable lottery game.

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