Online Lotto in Canada
No matter where you live in Canada, the lottery is available. Whether you play scratch tickets, Lotto 6/49, Lotto Super 7, or any of the games run exclusively by your provincial lottery corporation, everyone of age can spend a dollar or more in hopes of beating the astronomical odds.
A few years ago, lottery authorities were worried that the so-called Millennials weren’t buying tickets and that much-needed revenues will continue to fall. But that’s not the case. In 2018, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) saw a quarter on quarter increases of 15.1% while British Columbia’s BCLC saw a first-quarter sales increase of 2.9% over the previous year’s Q1 sales.
If you want to buy tickets online from one of the Crown Corporations’ lottery providers you’ll have to be located in the same province or association member’s territory the drawing is held in. Alternately you could travel in-country or ask a relative in another jurisdiction to buy tickets for you. The lottery corps are working hard to keep their sales up by involving customers in the process and offering new and exciting games. Some players are even pocketing money without having to buy a single ticket.
But what about U.S. Powerball, Euro Millions, or the huge Spanish lotteries like El Gordo? How can Canadians buy tickets for these lotteries?
Online Lottery Sales
We know of a legitimate way for people in every province and territory to buy tickets for lotteries with the biggest jackpots in the world – online lottery sales!
There are a few different models online retailers use, and we’ll explore them all. The one thing they all have in common is that you can play from home, win, and be paid without ever needing to cross a border in person!
Provincial lottery providers sell tickets online. Certain rules require that you be in-province to buy tickets. This simply means that you can’t buy BCLC lotto tickets from the BLCL when you are in Quebec and vice-versa. This can be a great way to play if you don’t feel like going out and it’s close to ticket sales cut-off time.
When the big pots get up to $25 million and more, there’s no sense in not participating – because you can’t win if you don’t play. However, other lotteries around the world offer much bigger prizes and some of the odds are simply better. For those jackpots, we have to look offshore.
Lottery Messenger Services
When you buy tickets through a lottery messenger service, you are basically paying an agent in the lottery’s country of origin to pick up tickets for you. When you win a jackpot, you will need to collect the prize yourself.
Each service works a little bit different but in one case you simply choose the number of lines you want, quick-pick or play your own numbers, pay for the ticket(s) and an agent will go out and buy them on their regular route.
Then they scan the tickets and upload them to your online account. You can set alerts for any level of win and be notified via email or SMS, and then request the winning ticket, which will be mailed to you by insured mail.
This is the model a man in Iraq used a few years ago to buy an Oregon lottery ticket worth US$6,400,000 with the help of TheLotter.com, the world’s biggest and most trusted messenger service. He chose to take the “[Megabucks] jackpot in 25 annual installments of $256,000 minus taxes”, and collects his annual payment directly from the lottery.
The company makes its money by marking up the price of tickets, so a $5 ticket may cost $7, for example, but you get the entire jackpot if you have the only winning numbers. Otherwise, just like at home, if someone else also wins, you share the prize.
In this scenario, the online lottery site will offer virtual play slips. An underwriting company basically bets against anyone winning by backing up the ticket numbers with cash from an insurance pool. Lloyds of London may back up the operator or a well-funded private equity firm like RISQ Capital.
You simply choose your game online and buy a virtual betting ticket. When the numbers are announced, the winnings are paid right into your online account with the operator and you can withdraw your winnings from there.
Some of these operators make their money by withholding whatever amount the lottery originator would have withheld in taxes. Others charge a nominal fee for the service.
These sites operate much like those using the insurance model does, except the process is backed up by a bookmaker rather than an insurance pool. The bookie is usually licensed in Curacao. Highly respected operators like Cherry AB use a Caribbean bookmaker to handle their online lotto bets.
After studying the probabilities of any given lottery draw, the bookmaker sets the odds and then allows the online retailer to sell chances. When you have a winning number, the bookie settles the bet with your game provider and then the retailer pays you.
Types of Lottery Games Available
Between half the dozen or more online lottery purveyors serving Canada, you can play virtually any lottery in the world worth playing. This also means that if you are in BC and the games in Alberta, Quebec, or the Atlantic regions have bigger jackpots than BCLC does, you can play almost any Canadian Lottery from home too.
Just looking at today’s jackpot board we see Eurojackpot at €63m, US Powerball topping $150m, and Mega Millions at $192m. The biggest jackpot we see in a Canadian lottery is Lotto Max at $35m. The jackpot for that game starts at $10m and is available all over the country. Not long ago we saw that two friends won $26m and begin a travel adventure with their winnings!
We’d wait until it hits $50m so the $1,000,000 MaxMillion chances are added, but that’s a personal preference based on the odds. The bigger the prize gets, the more people buy tickets, the greater the chance you have to share the top prize or the million dollar prize. The odds on the second chance are still 28,633,528:1, but the chances are free with your original $5 ticket when the jackpot goes over $50m. Also, you could still win or share in the top prize. While at its top pay point, Lotto Max changed to a twice per week draw, so by all means, play when it’s big!
Syndicated play is a lot like your home or office lottery pool. The difference is that the syndicate can be much larger and buy a wide variety of different tickets. While your odds of winning are dramatically increased by joining a syndicate, the amount you win will be divided equally among your pool-mates.
Some people tend to think that your overall chances of winning more money are better when playing in a syndicate. This may be true if you roll your money back in after a win. Of course, you can’t change the numbers, but syndicate play can create more potential strategies.
How does that work?
When you increase your odds and play a variety of games, you are more likely to win more small and medium prizes as well. If you buy a single ticket you have fewer chances to reinvest smaller winnings.
We would imagine that most people realize that winning a jackpot is a once in a lifetime opportunity and they don’t spend their winnings on lottery tickets!
However, if you win $100 now and then and then reinvest/re-risk the funds, you have a better chance to win more than if you spent the winnings on something else. You also have a better chance of winning or sharing in a jackpot because you have simply purchased more tickets.
Conclusions on Internet Lotteries in Canada
While we’re all familiar with Canadian lotteries, it’s also nice to know that we can participate in the world record jackpot draws wherever and whenever they are being held. Lottery odds are atrocious compared to the odds of winning online casino games, but very few games online can deliver millions, hundreds of millions, or maybe even a billion dollars.
One thing is certain, you can’t win if you don’t play. Each of the online purveyors makes their money some way – either by charging more for the tickets than they cost in-person, by deducting phantom ‘taxes’, or another way. However, most days of the year, it’s the only way to play for hundreds of millions of dollars.