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Toronto bakery fuels Powerball hype: ticket giveaway continues

Last Updated Jan 13, 2016 at 11:40 am EDT

The odds of winning are just one in 292 million, but there are still 1.5 billion reasons for GTA residents to get excited about Wednesday’s Powerball draw in the United States.

Once again, a Toronto bakery is expected to be a busy place as it continues to give out Powerball tickets worth a potential $1.5 billion. With the Canadian exchange rate, the prize is more than $2 billion (before taxes).

World Class Bakers, located on St. Clair Avenue near Christie Street, planned to give away hundreds of tickets when the store opened at 8 a.m. As of 6 a.m., there was already a lineup outside the bakery. Each purchase of $20 or more comes with a free ticket.

The bakery’s owner, Suzanne King, said the store gave away more than 200 tickets on Tuesday.

The crush of customers gobbled up all of the Powerball tickets by 2 p.m., so King said she would be driving to Buffalo, N.Y., on Tuesday night to get more tickets.

“The response has been so overwhelming, I am going to down and pick up 500 more,” she told 680 NEWS.

Some customers waited for an hour to get a ticket, but said it was worth the wait.

Good news: Canadians are eligible to win. The Powerball website states “you do not have to be a citizen or a resident to play the game. You can be a tourist.”

Bad news: An obscure U.S. law could stop a Canadian winner from grabbing all that dough.

There have been reports of warnings at the border that you can buy a Powerball ticket and take it back to Canada, but then you can’t bring it back into the U.S.

Doing so violates the “immoral articles” law, which states “all persons are prohibited from importing into the United States from any foreign country any … lottery ticket, or any printed paper that may be used as a lottery ticket, or any advertisement of any lottery.”

But the rules stipulate you can actually claim your prize by mail by downloading a form. Foreign winners would also be taxed more.

The Powerball draw is at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday.

With files from Kevin Misener and Jaime Pulfer