Canadian gamblers count down to $1.5B Powerball draw

A Manitoban could be the winner of the world’s largest lottery Wednesday night when the $1.5 billion US Powerball lottery draw takes place.

Odds of winning $930M US cash prize is 1 in 292,201,338

Winnipeg resident Wally Welechenko and his family travelled down to Pembina, N.D., to buy $200 in Powerball tickets for himself and friends. (Supplied)

A Manitoban could be the winner of the world's largest lottery Wednesday night when the $1.5 billion US Powerball jackpot draw, worth $1.3 billion in Canadian dollars after tax, takes place.

As many as 1,000 Manitobans stopped at a single Gastrak in Pembina, N.D., on Tuesday, employee Jim Fron said.

"Nobody buys one ticket," said Fron. "We had one person buy $930 worth [of tickets]."

At least 90 per cent of the gas station's customers are Canadian, said Fron.

It's the same story at the Duty Free Americas convenience store in Pembina, N.D., said employee Jam Weleski

'It's extremely busy for January," Weleski said. It's even more unusual when you consider how low the Canadian dollar is, she added. 
Manitobans area heading down to the United States in droves to buy Powerball lottery tickets. The grand prize is $1.5 billion US, which works out to $930 million after tax.

Wally Welechenko of Winnipeg said he hopes someone from Canada wins.

Welechenko, 49, decided to turn a trip across the border to buy tickets into a family affair. He travelled to Pembina with his two daughters and future son-in-law.

"Make it a fun road trip. If you don't play, you can't win, right? You got to take that chance," Welechenko said. 

"Talking to the Canadian border guards, they said there was a constant flow of people going through. They said the average person is spending about $200 in tickets, so there's a lot of tickets coming back to Canada," he said.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.