Powerball lottery draws B.C. residents south

Canada's $50 million LottoMAX jackpot for Friday's draw had some serious competition from the U.S. Powerball lottery's massive Wednesday night top prize of $550 million.
People crossed the B.C.-U.S. border for a chance to win the 550-million-dollar jackpot 2:04

Canada's $50 million LottoMAX jackpot for Friday's draw had some pretty serious competition from the Powerball lottery's massive top prize in the U.S. for Wednesday night's draw , which was worth 11 times as much — $550 million.

And you don't have to be an American to win, so plenty of Canadians have flocked south to pick up tickets and dream of astronomical wealth.

Those dreams, however, are up against astronomical odds. The chances of winning are about one in 175 million.

B.C. Lower Mainlanders were crossing the border into Blaine, Wash., to buy a ticket, along with cheaper milk, gas and cheese.

"Most of [the buyers] were obviously Canadians," said Patti Doan, who spent much of the day dispensing Powerball tickets from a Shell gas station in Blaine.

Besides the odds, there are the taxes. If a Canadian wins the big prize on a ticket purchased in Washington, the state lottery says the U.S. government will take 30 per cent of it in tax. The tax is just 25 per cent if the winner is an American. 

So, after all that, a Canadian could take a lump sum of $238,000,000, or opt for a payout of $14.5 million a year for 25 years.

B.C. resident Linda Lew was among the ticket buyers Wednesday.

"What are you going to splurge on," reporter Dan Burritt of CBC News asked her.

"A place in Hawaii, that would be nice," said Lew.

"You could buy nine places in Hawaii," Burritt said.

"Well, I only need one."

"And do you have kids and anything like that?"

"Yes, four kids, two grandchildren, so I'm going to share.

With files from the CBC's Dan Burritt