Powerball dreams, Canada? A U.S. law could get in the way

A little-known U.S. law is creating confusion for Canadians crossing the border to purchase tickets for the record Powerball lottery jackpot draw.

See Full Article

Like thousands of other Canadians, Lisa Yuen, a resident of Burnaby, B.C., headed across the border last week, to buy tickets ahead of the last Powerball draw held Saturday.

But Yuen was surprised when she received a strict warning from a U.S. border guard, about a law of which she'd never heard.

"We got a bit of a lecture from the border guard, saying that you can buy a ticket, but you can't take it back into Canada and then come back to the United States," she told CTV Vancouver.

U.S. law does not forbid foreigners from buying tickets or winning the lottery, and according to the Powerball website, "You do not have to be a citizen or a resident to play the game. You can be a tourist."

But if a Canadian buys a ticket, takes it home, and then tries to bring it back into the United States, they risk violating a law that forbids importing "immoral articles."

According to the law, "all persons are prohibited from importing into the United States from any foreign country any … lottery ticket, or any printed paper that may be used as a lottery ticket, or any advertisement of any lottery."

The same law also forbids importing material that advocates for or urges treason, or threatens to take the life of or inflict bodily harm upon any person in the U.S.

And though the lottery section of the rules may seem obscure, Yuen wasn't the first Canadian to run into the issue.

In December, U.S. border guards seized nine B.C. lottery tickets from a man trying to cross the border, and confiscated his Nexus card during the incident.

Ahead of the Powerball draw Wednesday, for a jackpot estimated to be at least US$1.4 billion, the rule is raising questions for lottery players and officials on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.

"It is concerning," Jana Jones, the director of legal services at Washington's Lottery, said. "It appears the Washington border patrol is not allowing Canadians to bring (tickets) back in."

When asked if border officials would be able to seize a jackpot-winning ticket, she replied "It appears so."

Still, the law isn't stopping thousands of Canadians from trying their luck.

After buying $34 worth of tickets in her cross-border trip last week, Yuen said that, for her, the $1.4B jackpot is worth the risk.

"It's a chance I'm willing to take," she said.

With files from CTV Vancouver



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • China should allow Nobel laureate to seek treatment abroad: U.S. envoy

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING - The new U.S. ambassador to Beijing said Wednesday that Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo should be allowed to receive treatment outside China after he was diagnosed with cancer while in prison for advocating democratic reforms. Source
  • Montreal man back in U.S. court over airport stabbing

    World News CTV News
    FLINT, Mich. - A Canadian man accused of stabbing an airport police officer in Flint, Michigan, is returning to court to learn if he'll remain in custody. Amor Ftouhi is unlikely to be granted bond Wednesday because the charge is serious and he lives outside the U.S. Source
  • Review board wants another look at decision in Keith Lamont Scott killing case

    World News CTV News
    CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A review board Tuesday found "substantial evidence of error" in a North Carolina police department’s decision that the fatal shooting of a black man by an officer last year was justified and scheduled another hearing on the matter in August. Source
  • Man dies in hospital after being shot in apartment by Montreal police

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    THE CANADIAN PRESS First posted: Wednesday, June 28, 2017 12:38 AM EDT | Updated: Wednesday, June 28, 2017 12:44 AM EDT Source
  • FBI agent indicted over Oregon refuge standoff shooting

    World News CTV News
    PORTLAND, Ore. - An FBI agent has been indicted on accusations that he lied about firing at a rancher in 2016 when officers arrested leaders of an armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in rural Oregon. Source
  • Trump administration plans border wall models in summer

    World News Toronto Sun
    SAN DIEGO - The agency in charge of U.S. border security plans to start building prototypes for President Donald Trump’s proposed wall with Mexico later this summer. Ronald Vitiello, Customs and Border Protection’s acting deputy commissioner, said Tuesday that four to eight companies will get contracts for prototypes in San Diego that could be models for the roughly 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometre) border. Source
  • Activists take step to recall judge in Brock Turner sex assault case

    World News CTV News
    SAN FRANCISCO - Activists seeking to recall a judge who sentenced a former Stanford University swimmer to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman say they believe voters will still support the effort even if it appears on the ballot two years after the trial. Source
  • Iran accuses U.S. of 'brazen' plan to change its government

    World News CTV News
    Iran is accusing U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of "a brazen interventionist plan" to change the current government that violates international law and the UN Charter. Iran's UN Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo said in a letter to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres circulated Tuesday that Tillerson's comments are also "a flagrant violation" of the 1981 Algiers Accords in which the United States pledged "not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran's internal…
  • Major security measures for Ottawa's Canada 150 bash amid ISIS threat

    Canada News CTV News
    More than 500,000 revelers are expected to flock to Parliament Hill Saturday to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, and heightened security will be in place across the capital to ensure the party goes off without a hitch. Source
  • One Hong Kong, two sentiments after 20 years of Chinese rule

    World News CTV News
    Hong Kong is planning a big party as it marks 20 years under Chinese rule. But many people in the former British colony are not in the mood to celebrate. Fireworks, a gala variety show and Chinese military displays are among the official events planned to coincide with a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping starting Thursday for the occasion. Source