Looking to cash in on the Powerball lottery? What Canadians need to know
Published Friday, January 8, 2016 2:58PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 13, 2016 9:53PM EST
Looking to get really, really rich, quick? You may want to consider purchasing a ticket for the record-breaking Powerball draw, with an estimated US$1.5 billion up for grabs in the American lottery.
In Canadian dollars, that could mean a jackpot total of more than $2 billion.
Here's what Canadians need to know about the jackpot draw set for Wednesday.
A non-resident can win Powerball
If you legally purchase a Powerball ticket, then you can collect your prize, regardless of whether you're an American citizen or not.
Rules around buying Powerball tickets online
According to the lottery's website, Powerball tickets can only legally be purchased from a licensed retailer. Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. A lottery can also legally sell tickets online, but only to "persons within its own state."
The lottery warns against using websites that offer to buy and hold tickets for a service fee.
Taking your chances with an online ticket
With so much money on the line, some Canadians may be comfortable taking their chances with buying a ticket online.
Privately-operated website thelotter.com uses local agents to buy a lottery ticket from inside the U.S. on your behalf. The website charges customers a transaction fee and in return they receive a scan of any ticket purchased before the draw.
Crossing the border with your ticket
If a Canadian buys a Powerball ticket in the U.S., takes it home, and then tries to bring it back into the United States, they risk violating a little known law that forbids importing "immoral articles."
One B.C. resident reported being warned about the law when crossing into the U.S. last week. In December, U.S. border guards seized nine B.C. lottery tickets from a man trying to cross the border.
Your chances of winning the jackpot are really, really low
The odds of winning the jackpot are one in 292.2 million. By comparison, your odds of being struck by lightning are closer to one in a million.
You have until Wednesday night to buy a ticket
The draw will be held at 10:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Sales cut-off times vary from one hour to two hours before the draw, depending on the state.