If you’re wondering how to buy US Powerball tickets in Canada, this guide will explain the various options that are open to Canadians (as well as visitors in Canada) who would like to play Powerball. While each option has its own benefits and drawbacks, we’re confident that our favourite method will quickly become your favourite too.
Living north of the American border in the sprawling and fairly peaceful land known as Canada has many perks, but it also has a few downfalls. Perhaps the greatest of these is that the biggest Canadian lotteries, Lotto Max and Lotto 649-although certainly excellent in their own right-are nowhere near as exciting as the US Powerball or Mega Millions. The biggest Canadian lottery jackpots ever, won in two separate Lotto Max draws, one in January 2020 and the other just the next month in February, was worth CA$70 million (equal to US$51.7 million). In contrast, the biggest American jackpot ever, won by three lucky winners in January 2016, was worth CA$2.2 billion (or US$1.586 billion)-about 22 times bigger!
How to Play US Powerball in Canada
You don’t have to be an American citizen or resident to play Powerball legally, and there are several ways for Canadians to purchase Powerball tickets. However, some of them come with a catch.
Drive Across the Border to Buy a Ticket Yourself
If you are near the US border or happen to be going on a trip into the US around the time a big Powerball drawing is set to take place, you can legally buy lottery tickets for the next Powerball draw right from an American lottery kiosk, just as like any American would do. As long as you remain within the US while the draw takes place and cash your winnings right after, you’ve got nothing to worry about because you’ll be considered a tourist.
However, driving back into Canada with an American lottery ticket is a big no-no; in fact, it is prohibited by US law. Therefore, the moment you bring it back into Canada, the ticket technically becomes invalid. Sure, you can try to smuggle it back into the US for when you are ready to claim your winnings, but is that really something you’d want to do? While this type of “lottery tourism” is somewhat common, it has its share of problems. Also, what if you want to play the Powerball regularly-what would you do then? Luckily, there are better ways to go about this.
Ask a Friend to Buy You a Ticket
If you know someone who lives in the US, you can ask them to buy a lottery ticket on your behalf. This way, you won’t need to drive across the border or deal with any of the inconveniences or problems associated with doing so. However, in case of a big win, you better be able to 100% trust that this friend won’t run off with your winning Powerball ticket. After all, the person who bought the ticket-and especially the one who signed the back of it-is its legal owner.
Buy a Ticket Through an Online Lottery Site
An alternative method, and by far the most convenient, is to buy Powerball tickets online through an online lottery ticket agent or lottery betting website. Although there are many websites that offer this type of service, not all should be trusted because some are unscrupulous and might not necessarily stay true to their word. Lottery sites that can be trusted, however, offer all sorts of additional gameplay options like subscriptions and syndicates that a normal state-run lottery wouldn’t.
Of course, since these companies are providing a service, this method might cost you a little bit more than what you would pay for a Powerball ticket at a US lottery kiosk. But the convenience, security and peace of mind that a reputable lottery agent will provide-which the above two methods cannot-is well worth it. See our lotto operator reviews for a thorough breakdown of their strengths and weaknesses and to see which we ultimately recommend.
Is It Legal for Canadians to Buy Powerball Tickets Online?
Yes, it is 100% legal to buy US Powerball tickets via the Internet if you live in Canada-and actually most other countries. Although American citizens have to follow certain protocols (many of which are imposed at the state level) for purchasing lottery tickets, none of these applies to residents of Canada or other nations. In addition, while official US state lotteries cannot sell tickets online to people in other countries, “concierge” services that buy the tickets on others’ behalf OR allow people to bet on the outcomes of lotto drawings are completely legit.
Do Canadians Have to Pay Tax If They Win a Powerball Jackpot?
Yes, as the US government levies a 30% tax on any big lottery wins for all foreign winners. However, since Canada doesn't tax lottery winnings, you will not have to pay any further taxes once you transfer your winnings across the border.
Buying Powerball Tickets as a Canadian - Conclusion
While there are several options open to Canadians when it comes to buying tickets to the American Powerball, the hassles and risks of some of them can easily outweigh the potential benefits. Therefore, we recommend finding a good online lottery site that offers the features you’re looking for and stick with that instead. You’ll be much happier-and potentially wealthier-in the long run.