The jackpot for the Powerball lottery in the U.S. keeps rising, hitting $1.5 billion by Tuesday afternoon, and Canadians want to get in on the action.
According to Ryan Koppy, marketing manager for the North Dakota lottery, Canadians can win the jackpot. But the only way to get valid tickets is to physically go to a licensed retailer in the U.S. and buy them there.
“They just have to come down to North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, wherever, you know, come across the border.”
An obscure U.S. law could cause some problems for any potential winner in Canada. They would have to go to the lottery office in the state they bought the ticket to claim the prize, but a law bans importing, or bringing into the U.S., lottery tickets that have not been printed in Canada.
There are several media reports of people who went to the U.S. to buy Powerball tickets, being warned by U.S. border guards as they head back home, that they won’t be able to bring the ticket back into the U.S.
Tickets can’t be bought online by Canadians. A person would have to be a resident of a state to buy tickets online there.
The frequently asked questions section of Powerball’s website spells it out:
“A lottery can also legally sell tickets on the Internet, but only to persons within its own state. No one can sell lottery tickets by mail or over the Internet across state lines or the U.S. national border.”
If a Canadian did win, they would also have to give up a big chunk of the jackpot to taxes.
“Typically it would be withheld at a little bit higher rate (for non-U.S. residents), at about 30 per cent withholding, rather than at the federal 25,” said Koppy.