Arsenal jackpot $1.9 billion: How to participate from Quebec?

Faute d’avoir été remporté samedi, le gros lot du Powerball atteint désormais un montant record de 1.9 milliard $ US (2.6 milliards $ CAN), un gros lot qu’il est possible de remporter même si on ne vit pas in the United States of America.

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Quebecers who might be tempted to get their hands on this huge cat that started playing on Monday can legally do so, but participating in the raffle can be complicated.

According to lottery rules, anyone who passes through one of the 45 participating states legally can get a ticket, without being a US citizen.

In contrast, Section 1305 of the US Customs Code prohibits the import of “immoral materials,” a category that includes “any lottery ticket, any printed paper that can be used as a lottery ticket or any lottery advertisement.” Legally, a Canadian cannot enter Canada and then return to the United States with a Powerball ticket, which must be validated in the state in which it was purchased in order to receive its prize.

Another solution is to do business with an online lottery resale site, which offers its customers to buy tickets for them. Since tickets are bought and stored in the United States, there is no problem in importing lottery tickets, but the various sites can still be trusted.

Moreover, even though Monday’s record prize pool may sound very attractive, you should know that the winner won’t really get $1.9 billion.

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Powerball offers two ways to claim the jackpot, either by taking the entire jackpot over 30 years, or by accepting a smaller amount right away. In the upcoming draw on Monday, that amount should be just over $900 million (CAD 1.2 billion).

Either way, the winner will be required to transfer 30% of their winnings in US federal taxes. Different states also have their own rules, which range from no taxes to nearly 10%.

Thus, in states bordering Quebec, New Hampshire is the most expensive state with a 0% tax, followed by Vermont (6%), Maine (7.15%), and New York (8.82%), according to a group from TheLotter. “Ice birds” installed in Florida, they do not have to pay taxes on lottery winnings.

Powerball works by drawing a set of five numbers between 1 and 69, followed by a Powerball that contains a number between 1 and 26. The odds of getting the full set are 1 in 292,201,338. In other words, a person is 292 times more likely to be struck by lightning (1 in 1 million) than to win a Powerball if they play it once in their life.

A sign of the difficulty of winning the jackpot, the jackpot has continued to swell since August 3, despite three draws per week, hence the record amount of US$1.9 billion. The previous record was set on January 13, 2016, when three winners split $1.5 billion.

Withdrawals of over $1 billion are not uncommon in the United States. In the past two years, Mega Millions draws have also crossed that mark, in July 2022 and January 2021.

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