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Can Canadian lottery players play the US Powerball and Mega Millions?

And we thought a US$1 billion lottery prize was a lot of money. After no one won the jackpot in the October 31 draw, Powerball’s stretch without a winner continues and the total has now soared to an estimated US$1.2 billion (a cash value of US$596.7 million or CND$813.9 million).

“This is the largest Powerball prize in more than six years,” said Drew Svitko, Powerball Product Group Chair and Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director.

The next Powerball draw is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, November 2.

But can Canadians get in on the lotto fun south of the border?

According to the Powerball website, yes, they can.

The site states that you don’t have to be a US citizen or US resident to play the lottery.

“Players from jurisdictions where Powerball tickets are not sold, either in the United States or outside the country, when visiting a selling jurisdiction, can purchase Powerball tickets from a retailer licensed or authorized by the selling jurisdiction, if they meet the legal age requirement in the jurisdiction of purchase,” reads a statement on the site.

If you win, federal and jurisdictional taxes may apply to your winnings.

It’s the same for Mega Millions: you don’t need to be a resident and visitors can purchase a ticket from any US retailer.

Dominique James/Shutterstock

Although online retailers exist, Mega Millions warn against buying tickets outside the US.

“Mega Millions is not affiliated with and does not endorse any company claiming to sell our tickets around the world, online or otherwise,” the site states. “If you choose to do business with one of these companies, you do so at your own risk; Mega Millions rules prohibit the purchase of tickets by agents representing players in other jurisdictions.”

So the best and most secure way is still to buy the ticket yourself from a US retailer if you’re in the country.

Ticket sale cut-off times vary by jurisdiction but it often occurs one to two hours before the draw. The next estimated Mega Millions jackpot is at US$119 million (cash option US$59.1 million or CND$80.6 million) and the draw will take place on Friday, November 4.

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