Why people play the lottery is a mystery that has always eluded me. The notion of forking out cash every week to plug in random numbers for some contest you have one in a billion (#hyperbole) chance of winning just seems ridiculous.
It doesn't really matter what I think, though, because people have always played the lottery, and probably always will. The dream of winning millions simply through sheer luck is just too hard to shake off.
But after learning how big the American Powerball jackpot has grown, I have to admit even a naysayer like myself is mildly tempted to get into the lottery-game, because potentially winning 675 million American dollars is just too enticing.
Yup, due to the fact that no one has won the Powerball jackpot on Wednesday, the lottery prize has grown to a whopping $675 million ($950,670,000 Canadian), making it the largest in jackpot in U.S. history, with the winning numbers to be drawn this Saturday.
Why should you even care? Because all Canadians can play the Powerball, giving you the chance to become a multimillionaire overnight.
According to Powerball's website, almost anyone can win the jackpot, just as long as "you legally purchase a Powerball ticket." Explaining further, the site states "You do not have to be a citizen or a resident to play the game. You can be a tourist.”
Or, you know, just a Canadian taking a casual trip to the states just to buy a lottery ticket.
Making matters even better for prospective Canadian winners of the monster-level jackpot (I know you're already dreaming of what you'd do with the money) is the fact that, as a Canadian, we wouldn't be subjected to the same level of taxation as Americans experience on lottery winnings.
In an old interview with Global on the topic of Canadians winning American lottery jackpots, Powerball’s Washington state spokesman Allen Harris stated that "if a Canadian were to win an American lottery, they’d declare this income on their annual income statement."
So rather than lose half the prize money to the government, as happens in 'Merica, a Canadian winner wouldn't get taxed much at all, as is Canadian custom.
Note, however, that a Canadian has never won such a gigantic jackpot from an American lottery, as Harris noted, so no one can really say for sure what would really happen in terms of taxes and the like.
By now you're probably already headed to the border for a quick day trip to our southern neighbour, with $$$ signs in your eyes. All the Powerball-power to you, and good luck in Saturday's draw.
Be aware I'll be ringing you up if you win, though, because I'll take credit for letting you know about the jackpot, and demand a cash gift.