How to Play Powerball

A simple guide explaining how to play powerball for South Africans.

How to Play Powerball in South Africa

Powerball in simple terms can be said to be a lottery game involving drums, holding numbered balls. When picked the numbered balls are picked, they are assembled to identify a winner, whose lottery ticket matches the numbers picked. 

History of Powerball

Powerball has been a popular form of gambling within the African continent for over ten years. Particularly, South African players are attracted to the game, with payout pools having a variety of divisions and fun selections. Powerball has made lucky winners millionaires, thereby attracting many people to play it not only in South Africa but also around the world. However, the prize pools in Africa do not reach the ones in western countries because of the differences in the economy. Nonetheless, the first draw was done in 2009 resulting in a whopping R30,000,000 win for the winner. Eventually, the jackpot got rolled various times, and the potential prize rose to R91,068,427 in 2010. This figure is a record that stands up to date. As of June 2018, South Africa’s Powerball changed drawn balls’ numbers from 45 to 50. 

Where to play Powerball

Powerball can be played online, offline, or at retail stores. Engaging in lottery gambling has transformed with the advancement of technology, with people currently being able to use their smartphones and devices to play the game. On the other hand, Powerball can be played offline, where the player visits the retail store to purchase a lottery Powerball ticket.

The Ithuba National Lottery has an online presence for players wishing to play virtually and physical retail stores for players wishing to play offline. 

When to play Powerball

The Powerball draws take place on Tuesdays and Fridays at 9.00 PM, with jackpots having the potential of exceeding R100,000,000. Tickets are available for purchase every day. However, the ticket sales close 30 minutes before the draw begins and reopens after the draw ends for the next game. This means that people can only play 30 minutes before every draw, whether online or offline. 


When registering for Powerball South Africa, many people would prefer playing online because most people are technology-literate and own a smartphone and devices. To register online, follow the following simple procedures:

  1. Download the ABSA Banking App on the smartphone. The App can be found on the Google Playstore or the App Store. 
  2. Use the available prompts to register your profile and log in to your account.
  3. Select the Lotto or PowerBall option available in the menu on the home screen.
  4. Select the preferred game you wish to play. 

Alternatively, interested players can use the following options to register for the Powerball in South Africa. 

  • Through USSD on their mobile phone, by dialling *120*7529#
  • The National Lottery website: It is worth mentioning that the website provides easy directions on how to register.
  • The National Lottery Retailers.
  • A Mobi website: 
  • Sending a formatted text to 37070.
  • Cellphone Banking, by dialing *120*321#
  • The FNB banking app

Winning probability

Matched numbers - Share of the prize pool - Odds ticketsning

  • 5 correct + PB - 54.46% - 1 in 42,375,200
  • 5 - 4.00% - 1 in 2,230,274
  • 4/5 + PB - 2.50% - 1 in 188,334
  • 4/5 - 4.24% - 1 in 9,912
  • 3/5 + PB - 4.80% - 1 in 4,280
  • 3/5 - 4.00% - 1 in 225
  • 2/5 + PB - 3.00% - 1 in 299
  • 1/5 + PB - fixed R 15 - 1 in 57
  • 0/5 + PB - fixed R 10 - 1 in 35

 Different matches have different prizes and different odds of winning. The prizes differ for every draw. They depend on whether the requirements for winning the jackpot was achieved and the number of players who won. It also depends on the amount of ticket sold. The two payout divisions that are fixed, are when a player gets results such as a 0 out of 5 or 1 out of 5 with Powerball. When a player matches all the numbers, they win the jackpot, as shown in the table. There are instances where this might change as you move down the table. 

 All the jackpot prizes are rounded to the nearest R1. Therefore, a player can win once in every entry filled with numbers that match the drawings of the Powerball. The exact jackpot rollover is identified on the day of the draw. The other payouts are rounded to the nearest 10 cents.

There is a decreasing likelihood of winning when the price as you move up the table. This shows that it is more difficult to win the Powerball jackpot as compared to Lotto, therefore, gamble responsibly.  

How Powerball is Played

Powerball is played online or offline, depending on the player’s preference. The regular Powerball costs R5 to play, whereas Powerball Plus costs an extra R2.50 to play. 

Playing online

  1. The first step is for the player to open an online lottery account and deposit money in the account. 
  2. The next step is to identify the first board and select five numbers between 1 and 50.
  3. After selecting the numbers, the player then selects one Powerball number between 1 and 20.
  4. The player can repeat this procedure as many times as possible.
  5. After selecting the numbers, the player selects the number of draws they would like to enter. So, the player can either choose the Tuesday draw or the Friday draw. 
  6. After selecting the preferred draw, click “submit”
  7. The player will be directed to checkout. At this stage, the play is supposed to click on the icon, “confirm and proceed” to place their bets. 

Playing offline

  1. There are various authorized retail stores where a player visits.
  2. After visiting the store, the player purchases a Powerball bet slip. The bet slip can either be the regular one or the “Powerball Plus” bet slip. The player, therefore, buys the ticket of their choice. To identify whether it is a regular ticket or the “Powerball Plus” ticket, the player checks at the top of the slip. 
  3. Beginning with board A, the play marks five numbers, similar to the online placement, the only difference is that this one is conducted manually. The numbers range between 1 and 50 in the first grid.
  4. The player then proceeds to the second grid and marks one number between 1 and 20. However, the player can speed up the procedure by using the “Quick Pick” option. 
  5. The player can do this as many times as they wish to play. 
  6. Next, the player chooses the number of draws they would wish to participate. They do this by marking one of the boxes at the bet slip’s top. However, this procedure is not necessary when the player opts to enter one draw. 
  7. After making all the placements and necessary selections, the player takes the slip to the retail assistant and pays for all the entries. 
  8. Lastly, the player writes their name on the back of the receipt provided. 

Numbers required to win Powerball

When the Powerball jackpot draw was introduced in South Africa, players were supposed to have five main numbers from 1 to 45. They were also supposed to have one Powerball number from 1 to 20 and this procedure was charged an entry fee of R5 on every board placed. Nowadays, the jackpot extends up to 50, where people can identify their preferred main numbers. The prizes can be won when matching the main numbers. However, matching number with Powerball numbers result in higher gifts. 

There are no specific amounts of numbers to win, however, there must be two winning numbers drawn from the first two barrels. Therefore, players have to match their selected numbers with the ones drawn in the lottery. This means that the more numbers are matched, the bigger the prize for the player. The player will therefore hope to match all the main five numbers to win the jackpot, which is the ultimate prize. 

How to win Powerball

In order to win prizes, the player should match the Powerball number. High-ranking matches present the highest payouts. To win the jackpot, the player’s main numbers must match the Powerball. Upon winning, it would take approximately 365 days to obtain the prize. 

To increase he chances of winning upon participation, there are various tips the player should consider.

  1. Make sure you know what you are doing at all times. The player should be keen to understand the fundamentals of the Powerball, and what they need to win. 
  2. The player can choose the likely numbers of winning by typing them in, when using the available online platforms. 
  3. Players can also analyze the odds of winning and prioritize the options to increase their chances of winning. 
  4. Players should examine the frequency charts, as they show predictions of how the draws may turn out. 
  5. Players should pay attention to the winning numbers, to create their own sequences of selections.

Prize payouts

The prizes in Powerball differ, as there are smaller cash prizes and larger cash prizes. The smaller cash prizes can be withdrawn to the player’s bank account using their official online wallet found on the website This can be finalized when the player used the internet to buy tickets and play Powerball. 

The larger cash prizes or the jackpot must be claimed in the ITHUBA regional or the Head office. The player will obtain their prize money when they have their winning ticket and the South African ID. It is also important to note that the player must be 18 years or older to play and be eligible for the prize money. 

Powerball prizes can be split between two or more players when they both have similar numbers matched correctly. When such a scenario happens, the player winners get the same amount of prize money. 

The legal status of Powerball in South Africa

Powerball is legal in South Africa. It operates under the regulative body known as The National Gambling Board. The National Gambling Board oversees responsible gambling within South Africa and ensures that the country exercises responsibility in the gambling industry. 

Powerball is thereafter controlled and managed by ITHUBA, a privately owned organization. The organization was founded by the Zamani Equity Fund. It is registered with the Companies Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). It observes the South African Companies Act of 2008 concerning responsible gambling. 


  • The game must be played by people over the age of 18.
  • The tickets are sold by handheld partners, approved retailers, and associated banks within South Africa. 
  • To buy online tickets, the player must have an ABSA, Nedbank, Standard Bank or FNB account. Alternatively, the person must have registered with the South African National Lottery website and is a South African resident, with a South African ID. 


Elizabeth Marole is responsible for content on BettingGuide ZA. She has prior experience as a math teacher and plays poker professionally when not writing for BettingGuide. Please contact her for any inquiries regarding gambling in South Africa.