With Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot coming in at US$1.02 billion, Americans won’t be the only ones eligible for the draw.
Mega Millions lottery tickets are sold in 45 states in addition to the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands, but you don’t need to be a resident of these places to buy a ticket.
Anyone visiting these states and territories, including Canadians and other foreign tourists, are free to buy a lottery ticket in person. Sales are typically cut off around an hour before the numbers are drawn, but the purchase cut-off time may vary depending on state.
Mega Millions only sells lottery tickets online to residents of certain states, such as Georgia and Kentucky.
There are third-party services, such as The Lotter, which will buy lottery tickets on your behalf for a fee. However, Mega Millions says it doesn’t endorse these companies and warns, “if you choose to do business with one of these companies, you do so at your own risk.”
If you win something, you’ll have to claim your winnings from the state where you purchased your ticket, although Mega Millions says lotteries typically have an option to claim most prizes levels by mail.
Lottery winnings are subject to a 30 per cent withholding tax from the US federal government. There may also be an additional state tax, depending on which state you purchased your ticket in.
Despite this, Canadian players won’t have to worry about being taxed by the Canadian government as foreign lottery winnings are tax-exempt.
The draw for the billion-dollar prize will be held Friday, July 29 at 11 pm EDT. The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 302.5 million.