August 22, 2017 6:43 pm
Updated: August 23, 2017 11:16 am

Powerball hits US$700 million: here’s how Canadians can play

The jackpot for tonight’s Powerball lottery drawing is now the second largest in U.S. history. Matching all six balls will win you $700 million.


On Wednesday, the U.S.’s second largest lottery will be drawn as the main Powerball prize has risen to US$700 million – in Canadian funds that would translate to around a cool $880 million.

While that number has many Americans seeing dollar signs, Canadians can also grab a share of the prize but they also need to be careful about how they purchase tickets.

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If you were to cross the border, you are allowed to purchase a ticket as a “tourist, according to the Powerball website.

“If you legally purchase a Powerball ticket, you can play the game and you can collect prizes. You do not have to be a citizen or a resident to play the game. You can be a tourist,” Powerball says on its website.

READ MORE: How a U.S. law could prevent Canadians from collecting on a Powerball win

However, a problem could arise if you bring the ticket back to Canada.

According to the “immoral articles” law: “all persons are prohibited from importing into the United States from any foreign country any … lottery ticket, or any printed paper that may be used as a lottery ticket, or any advertisement of any lottery.”

That said, there are other options for purchasing tickets.

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You can phone a friend or relative that lives South of the Border or you can also use a site designed to purchase tickets for you. will purchase tickets for you in the U.S. and will send you a scanned copy of your purchase.

The website also promises to fly you to the U.S. if you win an “8- or 9-figure jackpot.”

READ MORE: Gibraltar-based Lottoland lets Canadians bet on global lotteries including U.S. Powerball

Lottoland, a Gibraltar-based company, recently became available in Canada.

Play with Lottoland is unique in that users bet on which numbers will be drawn, rather than buying a ticket through an official lottery operator.

If they pick the correct numbers, they’ll win the same amount that the actual lottery pays.

What are your odds?

The odds of winning the main prize are one in 292.2 million.

READ MORE: Quebecer wins a million in lottery for second time in nine years

Tom Rietz, a professor at the University of Iowa who researches probabilities, says one way to think about it is to envision the 324 million U.S. residents. Your chance of winning is roughly comparable to being that one lucky person out of the entire population, with everyone else losing.

What are the tax implications?

The Canadian government will not be collecting a share of your winnings but that won’t stop Uncle Sam from taking a chunk.

WATCH: Canadians need to be wary of U.S. laws as Powerball fever hits north of the border

Lottery winnings are free from income tax in Canada but the Internal Revenue Service will claim a large withholding tax.

“For U.S. residents the federal tax rate for lottery winnings is 25 per cent of the gross winnings,” said Texas Lottery spokesperson Kelly Cripe in an email. “For non-U.S. residents the federal tax rate for lottery winnings is 30 per cent of the gross winnings.”

Will you really get $700 million?

If you are willing to play the long game you will receive the full prize.

That will require you to wait 29 years to receive 30 payments.

Plan B is to take the money and run which means a lump sum of US$443.3 million.

— With files from Global News’ Andrew Russell and the Associated Press

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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