Thu, Aug 8, 2:31am by Kevin Pitstock
The multi-state Powerball lottery in the United States is set to give away the fourth-largest jackpot in lotto history on Wednesday. The total prize amount increases to US $425 million when the Wednesday Powerball draw takes place this week.
Australian lottery players who happen to be in the United States this week might find the game of particular interest, because they’ll have a chance at one of the biggest payouts in history. Australian lotto gamblers who become interested in the game need to know the truth about online play, because they could be wasting money if they purchase online lotto tickets in preparation for the American draw.
Before we get to that discussion, let’s look at the historical significance of today’s lotto draw in the USA.
The prize amount marks the third-largest Powerball lottery and the 4th largest lottery jackpot in the history of gaming. The biggest prize ever handed out was the $656 million offered by the Mega Millions multi-state lottery for the draw held on 30 March, 2012.
The top Powerball jackpot ever was held back in May, when one single Powerball draw gave away $590.5 million in cash. The second-highest amount was set in late-November, 2012, when a $587.5 million Powerball draw was held.
Aussie players should know this is the same as the Australian Powerball game, but it’s a draw held in the United States. That doesn’t mean the fun and excitement of gambling on the coming draw is only for Americans.
The US lottery game doesn’t bar international players from buying tickets, though you cannot make the purchase over your computer. See below for a full explanation on whether you can play or not.
The answer is “Yes”. According to the American Powerball FAQ, an Australian on vacation in the USA could pick up one of these tickets and be eligible to win. The official site says, “You can be a tourist.”
The frequently asked questions page goes on to say, “If you legally purchase a Powerball ticket, you can play the game and you can collect prizes. You do not have to be a citizen or a resident to play the game.”
Players should remember this is a multi-state lottery game, so players in 43 U.S. states are allowed to purchase tickets. Even those from other states tend to be able to buy tickets, but only if they are inside a participating state.
The only snag might be establishing your identity, though this shouldn’t be a problem. Some US states require proof of citizenship for the sake of paying taxes on the jackpot. Other methods besides a driver’s license or other state or federal identification card can be used to establish your identity, though.
One big difference between gambling winnings in Australia and the United States is that winners must pay taxes on their lottery wins in the USA. In fact, it’s a big payment of 30%. When one ends up paying the taxes on a lump sum payout, which is less than the stated value of the annuity, the winner of Wednesday’s draw will take home $244,700,000 in US dollars. That should be enough for anyone.
The answer is “No”, Australians cannot purchase a US Powerball ticket over the Internet. In answer to a question on whether a person can purchase a ticket online from outside the United States, the reply is, “No. Repeat as necessary. If that changes, we will say ‘yes’ here and tell you how”.
This is important for Aussie players to remember, because while I was researching this question, I found two different sites claiming you could buy the US Powerball tickets over the Internet from their websites. The answer above is from the official site, so the people claiming differently are scam artists.
So if you are an Australian traveling inside the United States and you want to buy a ticket for the fourth-largest lotto payout ever, go ahead and purchase a ticket. If you are an Aussie player trying to find an online vendor to sell you one of these prize tickets, don’t fall for scammers.
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