Many people start thinking about buying a Powerball ticket the night of the drawing. You might not remember how big the jackpot is until later, and suddenly you get that rushed panicky feeling: “Is there still time?!” Just how close can you push picking up a ticket before it’s too late? The drawing will take place at 10:59 pm Eastern and all it takes is $2 to get a chance at millions. Of course, your actual chance at winning those millions is pretty slim, but for many people it’s a chance that’s well worth taking, especially when the Powerball gets this big.
But how long do you really have to buy a Powerball ticket and still get a shot at that $700 million jackpot? How late can you wait to buy one?
Most states will shut down Powerball ticket sales an hour before the drawing. The drawing is at 10:59 p.m. Eastern, so most places will stop selling tickets by 9:59 p.m. Eastern.
According to Powerball.com:
Draw sales cut off at least 59 minutes before the draw, but a state may cut off sales earlier.”
However, some states quit selling tickets even earlier than that, so it’s best to call ahead to the location where you want to buy tickets, just to make sure.
Here are just a few examples of state cutoff times. Pennsylvania’s cut off time is 9:59 p.m. Eastern, and Arkansas‘ is also one hour before the drawing. Oregon’s cutoff is 7 p.m. Pacific, and Illinois’ is 9 p.m. Central. In New York, you can buy tickets until 10 p.m. Eastern. In Texas, there’s a “draw break” where you can’t buy tickets between 9 and 10:15 p.m. Central.
The sooner you can get your ticket the better, especially in case you’re one of the unlucky people who has to wait in a long line. And the bigger the Powerball gets with every drawing, the longer that line will become.
Powerball tickets are typically sold in most local convenience stores and grocery stores. But you might want to give the store a call first to make sure they sell the ticket, and then ask them how late the tickets are offered for sale.
Remember: tickets can be bought in 44 states, plus Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The only states that don’t participate in Powerball are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, and Utah.
If you live in Georgia, Illinois, or Michigan, you may be able to buy your tickets online and skip the line altogether. Read this story for more information.
You can also visit your state’s lottery website to find out exactly when ticket sales will stop tonight. Tickets are only $2 each.