Why Does California Keep Winning Powerball Jackpots?

By: Jared James, Founder

Key Takeaways

  • California players have won 5 of the 10 largest Powerball jackpots
  • Players in other states claim the lottery is rigged
  • Data proves California is no outlier

Powerball jackpots seem to be growing larger and larger each year. Its becoming a common occurrence for drawings to have over $1 billion jackpots up for grabs. Why is it that winnings tickets always seem to be from California?

As of this post, of the Top 10 largest Powerball jackpots EVER, five of the have been purchased in California!

Table of Top 10 Largest Powerball Jackpots

Players across the internet are crying foul and claiming the drawings are rigged in favor of larger states like California. As your personal lottery expert, we’re here to put these conspiracies to rest and shed light on why players in California keep winning the Powerball jackpots.

The Infamous Delayed Drawing

During the largest Powerball jackpot ever on November 7, 2022, the drawing was delayed because an “unnamed” state, at the time, needed to complete additional security protocols. That state was later revealed to be Minnesota and due to the massive jackpot at stake, required extra time to complete appropriate oversight.

Some internet chatter raised suspicions about the integrity of the lottery due to this delay, suggesting that it may be rigged in favor of larger states like California. While some skeptics on the internet have called the delay into question, it’s essential to clarify that such delays are not uncommon when dealing with such substantial jackpots. Maintaining the integrity and security of the draw is paramount, and every precaution is taken to ensure fairness.

We are fully supportive of delaying any drawing to ensure its done without even the slightest chance of manipulation. While many delays have occurred in drawings over the years, the size of this drawing drew added attention from very anxious players.

Debunking Lottery Rigging Theories

Conspiracies suggesting that lotteries are rigged in favor of certain states often make the rounds online. However, let’s put these notions to rest with some actual data.

California is the largest state by population and its residents love playing Powerball. We reviewed sales data for recent Powerball drawings and California accounted for around 15% of all the Powerball ticket sales. Of the 48 states and territories that play Powerball, most states make up 1% or less of all ticket sales.

California residents are holding a significantly higher number of tickets than residents of other states. Below is the the number of tickets sold for the October 11, 2023 jackpot of $1.7 billion. As you can see California makes up 14% of all sales and just 7 states make up 50% of all ticket sales.

Analyzing the Historical Data

To gain a deeper understanding of California’s Powerball success, we reviewed historical jackpot data dating back to 2013, spanning the last decade of Powerball drawings which mirrored when California joined Powerball. The results were interesting and put the California phenomenon into perspective.

One of the most telling findings from the data was the relationship between ticket sales and the number of jackpot wins in California. California consistently contributes around 14-15% of ticket sales and during the time it has been a member of Powerball, has claimed just 14% of the jackpots.

Of the 101 jackpot claims during that period, California players won 14 times. We reviewed the other top five winningest states and the number of California wins didn’t stick out like a sore thumb: Florida (11 wins), New Jersey (9 wins), New York (8 wins) and Tennessee (5 wins).

The Odds and Probability

The fundamental truth about lotteries, such as Powerball, is they are games of chance. Powerball, in particular, has astronomical odds of winning the jackpot, with a odds of approximately 1 in 292 million.

Regardless of ticket sales or the size of a state’s population, the odds of winning remain constant from one ticket to another. California’s repeated jackpot wins are better attributed to the volume of ticket sales as opposed to nefarious manipulation.


The notion that players in California keep winning the Powerball jackpots due to favoritism or rigging is unfounded. In fact, if Powerball or any lottery were to lose the trust of its players due to manipulation, it would cause significant harm to the game and lotteries in general.

The data from the past decade of Powerball wins reveals a clear pattern: California’s percentage of ticket sales coincides with the number of jackpots wins. However, given the recent size of jackpots, greater attention has been given to these record breaking drawings. California’s string of luck can be attributed to the massive number of tickets purchased (and chances to win) versus any shady practices.

The next time you hear someone claim that the Powerball is rigged in favor of large states like California, remember that the lottery is governed by probability, not conspiracy. California’s success in the Powerball is simply a result of participation and the luck of the draw. As we continue to dream of hitting the jackpot, let’s celebrate the occasional Californian winner as hope we can be the next big winner ourselves.

Other Posts You May Enjoy