Lottoland wins Aussie license; US law bans bringing winning tickets over the border

lottoland-australia-lottery-powerballB2C lottery betting site Lottoland has received a license to operate in Australia, offering Aussie punters a shot at Wednesday’s record $1.4b Powerball lottery drawing in the US.

The Gibraltar-based Lottoland was recently granted a five-year license from the Northern Territory’s Racing Commission. Former Betfred/Centrebet exec Luke Brill has been tapped to run Lottoland’s Aussie operations, which are already underway via the domain.

Lottoland is the first lottery betting site to receive an Aussie license, meaning Australians are getting their first shot at betting on the results of international lottery draws from the comfort of their own home. Previously, local residents would have to physically travel to foreign countries to be able to participate in non-Australian lottery drawings.

Wednesday’s Powerball drawing will likely top $1.5b or more thanks to the frenzied last-minute rush of overly optimistic people willing to defy the 1 in 292m odds of snagging the top prize. We’re secretly praying that the prize goes to someone in Syria, much like the Iraqi who in December claimed a $6.4m Oregon Lottery prize he’d legally purchased from an online reseller, because something like that would really set Donald Trump off on a tirade.

Things could get even more fugly if a Canadian wins the big prize. While Powerball’s rules allow foreigners to purchase tickets, a little known facet of US law prohibits foreigners from purchasing a ticket in the US, taking it back to their home country, then attempting to bring it back to the US to claim their winnings.

US Code Title 19 section 1305 prohibits people from importing “any lottery ticket, or any printed paper that may be used as a lottery ticket, or any advertisement of any lottery” into the US from a foreign country. The law exempts lottery tickets “printed in Canada for use in connection with a lottery conducted in the United States.”

So buying a ticket online from a reseller appears okay, while buying a ticket on a day trip to the US, bringing it back to Canada and then bringing it back to the US to claim your winnings is off limits.

CTV News quoted some Canucks who were recently lectured by border guards on this very prohibition, so it appears some memo must have come down from on high. Geez, you burn down one White House two centuries ago and they still haven’t gotten over it…