Can you buy Powerball tickets online?
Saturday’s $800 million jackpot has people across the country headed out to supermarkets and liquor stores to buy their chance at the largest fortune in American lottery history, but many who live too far from a seller or even outside the United States are taking to the internet for their chance at becoming a multimillionaire.
But is it legit? The answer is yes and no. Most sites selling Powerball tickets online are operating under state and federal laws (but it’s still best to check each one before buying), but there are still some drawbacks to buying tickets over the internet.
Buying Powerball tickets online is very popular over the border, CBC reported. Because Powerball does not restrict the prize to U.S. citizens, anyone with $2USD and a dream can have their chance at winning. Canadians living close to the border are able to take a trip over, but those further away often take to buying Powerball tickets online.
“Thousands upon thousands of Canadians are buying tickets online for the biggest lottery jackpot draw in world history,” said a news release issued Thursday by theLotter.com, a website that sells tickets.
There are many sites offering to sell Powerball tickets online, most with the same format as theLotter.com. They employ agents who physically go out and purchase the tickets, then send the prizes.
But the demand has made it even more difficult to buy Powerball tickets online. At theLotter.com, visitors from the United States are met with a message that ticket agents are no longer able to serve them due to high demand.
“Demand for the $800M US Powerball has been huge, and our agents are working very hard to purchase everyone’s tickets. To meet this demand, we’ve unfortunately had to stop selling tickets in your country.”
Last-minute shoppers will also be out of luck if they are trying to buy Powerball tickets online. At BuyLottoOnline.com, another site offering agents to buy the tickets, users will have to get their numbers in five hours before the drawing starts.
Buying Powerball tickets online has other drawbacks. For one, the sites are the ones holding the ticket, and most will cash the prize and credit it to an account. Some, like BuyLottoOnline.com, offer you the chance to visit them personally, but that could mean a trek across the country for most.
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So, if you are able to buy Powerball tickets online, what is the best number to buy? There are plenty of tips on just how to pick the winning numbers, but when it comes to buying the advice is much more straightforward. Many people like to pool money together and buy as a group, giving a greater chance at splitting the prize, but it doesn’t really help the odds all that much.
While players can increase the odds 20 times if they buy 20 tickets, the odds are so small to begin with (1 in 292.2 million) that it doesn’t help much.
“The odds are so astronomically small that even 100 times that number is exceedingly unlikely to win,” Scott A. Norris, an assistant professor of mathematics at Southern Methodist University, told Al.com. “It’s probably still not going to happen if you buy a hundred tickets or a thousand tickets or even a million tickets.”
And if someone had infinite time and infinite money, playing all possible combinations wouldn’t help much either, Norris said. It would take $584 million worth of tickets to ensure a win, which ends up losing money after taxes are taken out.
Norris does offer some advice on how to pick the winning Powerball numbers.
“Scott A. Norris, an assistant professor of mathematics at Southern Methodist University, said there’s no trick to playing the lottery, but your tiny odds of winning are a bit better if you let the computer pick rather than choosing yourself. That’s because when people use birthdates or other favorite figures, they generally choose numbers 31 or below. That ignores the fact that there are 69 numbered balls.”
Those who want to buy Powerball tickets online need to hurry, as many vendors will be stopping sales around 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. For those who want to buy their chance at the $800 million jackpot in person will also have some help buying Powerball tickets. The lottery site offers a state-by-state map showing just where tickets are sold, which can be found here.
[Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]