How Canadians Can Play Mega Millions and Best States to Buy Your Ticket
The United States Mega Millions lottery has hit a record high with a prize money of $1.6 billion and now, non-Americans can equally lay claim to this massive jackpot.
In fact, Canadians—and anyone in the world with internet access or the ability to make a quick trip—can push their luck and play for the U.S. prize no matter their citizenship.
According to the Mega Millions website, “you do not need to be a resident to win.” This means Canadians can play Mega Millions legally from Canada to win the jackpot which totals to more than $2 billion in Canadian currency.
For non-residents in America, Mega Millions advises that those purchasing tickets online should proceed with caution as they do so at their own risk.
“Mega Millions is not affiliated with and does not endorse any company claiming to sell our tickets around the world, online or otherwise,” the website reads. “If you choose to do business with one of these companies, you do so at your own risk.”
Nonetheless, in 2015, an Iraqi citizen won a US$6.4 million Oregon jackpot using a ticket he bought on a website, and also a Quebec man won a US$1 million second-place prize on a $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot in January 2016.
So, one way to purchase tickets for Canadians who want to play Mega Millions but do not want to travel to the U.S. is to patronize reputable online vendors. Lottoland Canada is one platform that allows Canadians to bet and win on some of the world’s largest jackpots online, including Mega Millions.
With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and a great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.
Unlike physical lottery tickets, Lottoland can be accessed via a smartphone, tablet or computer and implements a technology that digitally tracks plays and results for users.
Lottoland offers a unique mode of play in that users bet on which numbers will be drawn, rather than purchasing a ticket through an official lottery operator.
The company would then pay the same amount that the actual lotteries pay if a verified user picks the correct numbers.
According to Nigel Birrell, CEO of Lottoland, the company now serves more than six million players worldwide and has paid out winnings of more than $1.25 billion to date.
“We’re not your grandma’s lottery,” said Birrell in a news release. “Lottoland is powered by digital innovation and the freedom of choice to dream bigger.”
Canadians can equally travel over to the U.S. to buy their tickets physically as Mega Millions tickets are sold in 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands. However, it is important to know which states are the best for buying lottery tickets.
“This is truly uncharted territory, and it’s exciting to see people across the country buying their tickets and joining in the fun,” Gordon Medenica, lead director of Mega Millions, said in a statement.
By law, the U.S. government automatically withholds 25 per cent of all lottery winnings for prizes over $5,000, regardless of where the ticket is purchased—with most states also withholding a large portion of the winnings off the top.
Nonetheless, there are still a few places where the state tax laws are very tough, and others where they are quite lenient. Though these taxes are based on where the ticket was purchased, not where the ticketholder lives.
According to USA Mega, New York is the most heavily taxed state for lottery winners in the country as the three levels of government will withhold a bulk of the lottery payout. Also, anyone who purchases their ticket from Manhattan will give away 25 per cent of any jackpot winnings to the federal government, 8.82 per cent to the state and an additional 3.876 per cent to the city. Putting it into perspective, a winner of $1.6 billion in New York City would lose approximately 37.696 per cent ($603 million) to taxes.
But, someone who wins in a state with no lottery tax would only lose only 25 per cent of their winnings ($400 million). Therefore, the best way to maximize your potential winnings is to buy tickets from states with no tax on lottery winnings.
For Canadians, some of these states are attractive destinations as a few are close to the U.S.-Canada border. Though, Mega Millions rules indicate that foreigners can win the U.S. lottery, but would automatically forfeit 30 per cent of the winnings to the U.S. government—amounting to $480 millionalongside state-mandated tax fees.
Furthermore, the most lucrative places in the U.S. to win the lottery are Texas, New Hampshire, California, Florida, Delaware, Tennessee, South Dakota, Wyoming and Washington State as they do not tax lottery prizes.