Wishing for the Golden Ticket

20150801-lottery-01 Seeing lottery jackpots of $50 million CAD in Canada or $100 million USD in the U.S. is my queue to purchase a lotto ticket, and hoping my ticket will be the golden goose.

There are two national lottery games in Canada, Lotto 6/49 and Lotto Max. Lotto 6/49 was launched in 1982 and was the first national wide lottery game in Canada. Lotto Super 7 followed, launching in 1994 to become the second Canada-wide lottery game, and had its last drawing in 2009. Since then, Lotto Max has replaced Super 7.

The States also has two nation-wide lottery games, Mega Millions (launched in 2002) and Powerball. In April 2013, Powerball began selling in California.

Game Play $/Ticket
Lotto 6/49 Six numbers are drawn from a set of 49. If a ticket matches all six numbers, the jackpot prize of at least $5,000,000 is won. Drawing every Wednesday and Saturday. $3 CAD for 1 line
Lotto Max Seven numbers are drawn from a set of 49. An additional two sets of seven randomly generated numbers are included, forming 3 lines of possible winning numbers. Drawing every Friday. $5 CAD for 3 lines
Silicon Valley (U.S.A.)
Mega Millions Six numbers are drawn from two separate pools of numbers: five numbers drawn from a set of 75 and one number from a set of 15. Drawing every Tuesday and Friday. $1 USD for 1 line
Powerball Five numbers are drawn from a set of 59 white balls and one number from 35 red Powerballs. Drawing every Wednesday and Saturday. $1 USD for 1 line

The largest jackpot in Canadian lottery history for Lotto 6/49 is $63.4 million CAD (2013). The Lotto MAX jackpot is, however, capped at $50 million, beyond which additional draws are conducted at $1 million payouts each – referred as the MAX millions bonus draws.

The largest jackpots reported in the U.S.A. are 10 times more than the biggest Canadian payout on record. The jackpot record for Mega Millions is $656 million USD (2012) and the Powerball at $590.5 million USD (2013).


Although jackpot winnings are huge in the States, taxation on lottery winnings reduces the payout gap between Canadian and U.S. winnings. Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) in Canada states, “Generally, Canadian tax authorities do not consider lottery winnings to be taxable for Canadian income tax purposes.” By contrast, American tax authorities consider lottery winnings as ordinary income, so winning the jackpot puts you at the top federal personal income tax rate of 35%.

Good luck!

“Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They’re about to announce the lottery numbers.” — Homer Simpson, fictional TV character

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Related articles:
  •   Lotteries in the United States
  •   Wikipedia: Lotteries by Country
  •   Forbes: How Much Tax Will You Owe on $640 Million USD Jackpot?
  •   MoneySense: How to Win the (Canadian) Lottery

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