Powerball® Celebrates 25 Years of Making Millionaires


ALBUQUERQUE – Twenty-five years ago this week, Powerball® fever swept the nation. George H.W. Bush was President, Johnny Carson was planning his retirement and Hulk Hogan was the star of WrestleMania VIII. Meanwhile, Powerball took flight and inspired twenty-five years of water-cooler talk with life-changing dreams of giant jackpots. 

This Saturday, Powerball celebrates its 2,610 drawing. Since inception, the game boasts more than $37 billion in prizes won including 356 jackpot-winning tickets totaling $19 billion. And, more than 2,000 Powerball players have become millionaires just in the last 5 years.

Much like its giant-sized jackpots, the game has grown by epic proportions:

  • Participating lotteries grew from 15 to 47;
  • The starting jackpot has grown from $2 million to $40 million; and
  • The first jackpot won was $5.9 million – life-changing money, yet a fraction of the January 2016 world record jackpot of $1.586 billion.

In October 1996, six months after start-up, the New Mexico Lottery added Powerball to its game mix. Since then, five Powerball jackpots have been won in New Mexico:

  • 14 Sandia National Laboratory employees shared $131 million in November 2000;
  • Isabell Delgado of Las Cruces won $32 million in February 2002;
  • John San Cartier, an airman from Kirtland Air Force Base, collected $93.4 million in August 2005;
  • Felipe Piña of Los Ojos claimed $62.8 million in May 2007; and
  • Nine Roswell players claimed New Mexico’s largest Powerball jackpot of $206.9 million in October 2008.

In total, more than 18 million New Mexico Lottery Powerball tickets have won a prize.

Next week, the New Mexico Lottery turns 21! The fun kicks off with a player prize extravaganza on April 27th at Lottery headquarters at 4511 Osuna Rd NE in Albuquerque from 10 AM until 4 PM. The first 500 players age 18 and older to arrive will receive a $10 Powerball ticket. Plus, there will be food, games and the Lottery prize truck in the parking lot.

Later this summer, the Lottery will hold a huge Powerball promotion loaded with cash prizes to celebrate the game’s 25th anniversary.

Legislative Lottery Scholarships
Since 1996, the New Mexico Lottery has raised $726 million for education and more than 109,000 students have attended college on Legislative Lottery Scholarships. 

More information about Legislative Lottery Scholarships is available at on the Scholarships page. Follow the New Mexico Lottery on Facebook (www.facebook.com/nmlottery).