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Can a Canadian play the US Powerball lottery and win?

Mon 05 Dec 2016, By Jerry Westford
Can a Canadian play and win the US Powerball lottery?

Back in January 2016, the US Powerball lottery set the world’s imagination on fire. With the biggest jackpot prize in the history of lottery games, everyone wanted a chance to take home that eye-popping $1.5 billion. But many Canadians passed up the opportunity because they weren’t certain of the laws regarding their eligibility to enter.

So here’s the good news— Canadians can play the US Powerball lottery. But before your rush out to get a ticket, there are a few things you need to be aware of.

Let’s start with the legal stuff to put your mind at ease. It is perfectly legal for a Canadian citizen to play and collect and prizes from a US based lottery.

Now you may be wondering, how can Canadians buy Powerball tickets? Thanks to the internet, you can buy Powerball tickets online from an authorised online lottery ticket dealer. Their agents in the US will purchase official Powerball lottery tickets on your behalf. They’ll send you a scanned copy of your official lottery tickets and keep the physical tickets safe until the draw has taken place.

This is the ideal way to play the US Powerball from Canada without having to cross the border to buy your lottery tickets in person. And there are many other reasons why it makes sense for Canadians to buy Powerball tickets online.

You may not be aware of an obscure law that prevents foreigners from leaving or entering the US while in possession of a lottery ticket. If you buy your Powerball tickets in the US, you may have to leave them there, and return after the draw to collect your winnings. But, if you buy Powerball tickets online, the agent will claim your winnings on your behalf and simply deposit your winnings into the account you created with them.

From there you can easilywithdraw the money to your private bank account, or use the funds to buy more lottery tickets for the next Powerball draw. In the case of larger prizes, such as the Powerball jackpot, you will have to collect your prize in person. But the agent will assist you with any travel arrangements.

Another good reason why it makes sense for Canadians to buy their lottery tickets online is the lottery subscription feature offered by most online lottery ticket agents. You simply pick your lucky lotto numbers, supply your credit card details and your tickets will automatically be purchased every week. You’ll never miss a draw and you won’t even have to remember to log in to your account every week. You can cancel your subscription whenever you want.

Whether you purchase your Powerball tickets online or in person, you will have to pay tax on your winnings. In the USA, lottery winnings are regarded as a form of income and subject to both federal and state taxes.  As a foreign citizen you’ll be subject to 30% in federal taxes being deducted from your final prize money.  You will also have pay state tax which varies according to the laws of the state where your official Powerball tickets were purchased.

But lottery winnings are exempt from tax in Canada, and with the exchange rate working in your favour, a US Powerball prize will be worth slightly more in Canadian dollars. That’s partly why so many Canadians play US lotteries. Not only do they offer much bigger jackpots, but once you convert your winnings from US dollars to Canadians dollars, you’ll be an even bigger winner.

But keep in mind that you if you do win a Powerball jackpot, you won’t be able to keep it a secret. Only a few US states allow Powerball winners to remain anonymous. Even if you buy your lottery tickets online, you still have to abide by the laws of the state where your official Powerball tickets were bought.

And that about sums up everything Canadians need to know about playing the US Powerball lottery. It is legal and you can cross the border to buy your tickets in person from an authorised agent. Or, you could do it the easy way and simply buy lotto tickets online from a reputable online lottery website.

You will be subject to some heavy taxes that you wouldn’t have in your own country. But if the jackpot is big enough it could still change your life. You could even buy your tickets online and let someone else handle everything.

Since the Powerball made a slight change to the rules at the end of 2015, it’s become even easier to win some of the smaller prizes. And you could always find yourself in with a shot at another record-breaking jackpot prize. In short, there’s simply no reason why Canadians shouldn’t take a chance on the US Powerball lottery.