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

  • Here's how Moose Jaw will welcome the Snowbirds home

    Canada News CTV News
    REGINA -- The Snowbirds team is scheduled to return to their home base at 15 Wing Moose Jaw on Monday afternoon, and the city is rallying together to create visual displays of support following the death of Cpt. Source
  • Environmental advocates concerned by Alberta's new rules for coal mining

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Upcoming changes to Alberta's coal regulations are expected to create hundreds of jobs in the province, but environmental advocates worry that the work will come at the expense of the ecosystem alongside the Rocky Mountains. Source
  • New Zealand leader carries on with TV interview during quake

    World News CTV News
    WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND -- New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern barely skipped a beat when an earthquake struck during a live television interview Monday morning. She interrupted Newshub host Ryan Bridge to tell him what was happening at the parliament complex in the capital, Wellington. Source
  • White House limits travel to U.S. from Brazil as COVID-19 crisis deepens

    World News CBC News
    The White House on Sunday said it was prohibiting most non-U.S. citizens from travelling to the United States if they had been in Brazil in the last two weeks, two days after the South American nation became the world No. Source
  • COVID-19 cases in Alberta remain low, 42 more cases reported Sunday

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- Alberta reported 42 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, and no new deaths. The total number of active cases in the province is now 801. The case break down across the province is as follows: Calgary zone: 629 active cases and 4,020 recovered South zone: 92 active cases and 1,132 recovered Edmonton zone: 55 active cases and 455 recovered North zone: 20 active cases and 200 recovered Central zone: three active cases and 95 recovered Two active cases and 22 recovered cases in zones to be…
  • Union launches nationwide appeal for long-term care reform in wake of COVID-19

    Canada News CBC News
    The union backing Canada's public employees is launching a nationwide effort to transform long-term care into a publicly funded, universal health care system in the midst of a pandemic it says has exacerbated problems in facilities across the country and led to the deaths of thousands of residents. Source
  • Robert Durst murder trial to move to new California court

    World News CTV News
    TORRANCE, CALIF. -- The California murder trial of real estate heir Robert Durst is likely to move to a new venue this summer, depending on how a judge rules on a defence motion for a mistrial. Source
  • U.S. Muslims try to balance Eid rituals with virus concerns

    World News CTV News
    WINTER PARK, FLA. -- With no congregational prayers or family gatherings, Salsabiel Mujovic has been worried that this year's Eid al-Fitr celebration will pale. Still, she's determined to bring home holiday cheer amid the coronavirus gloom. Source
  • 'I feel obligated': 99-year-old veteran walking 100 km before 100th birthday for COVID-19 research

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A 99-year-old Ontario veteran of the Second World War is vowing to walk 100 kilometres by his 100th birthday to raise money for medical research to help stop COVID-19. “I love walking. It adds to your vigour, physical stamina,” George Markow told CTV News Toronto Sunday. Source
  • 'It felt like it was a disservice to us': Infectious disease specialist reacts to crowded park

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- An infectious disease specialist says scenes of people overcrowding a Toronto park on Saturday was an “expression of disrespect” to health-care workers and could spark a surge in new COVID-19 cases. Speaking to CTV News Channel on Sunday, Dr. Source