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Powerball giveaways are in violation of the Criminal Code, actually

Last Updated Jan 14, 2016 at 12:17 am EDT

A man receives his tickets in Wednesday's $1.5 billion Powerball lottery. PHOTO: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

In the rush to cash in on the billions up for grabs in the U.S. Powerball lottery, several Toronto establishments are actually breaking an obscure section of the Criminal Code – and if you picked up one of these promotional tickets, you may be too.

Sections 206 and 207 of the Criminal Code of Canada expressly prohibits the sale – and even offer – of foreign lottery tickets.

Section 206:
Foreign lottery included
(7) This section applies to the printing or publishing, or causing to be printed or published, of any advertisement, scheme, proposal or plan of any foreign lottery, and the sale or offer for sale of any ticket, chance or share, in any such lottery, or the advertisement for sale of such ticket, chance or share, and the conducting or managing of any such scheme, contrivance or operation for determining the winners in any such lottery.

The cash-craze has led World Class Bakers on St. Clair West to offer hundreds of tickets to patrons spending $20 on baked goods. Tortilla Flats on Queen St. West is handing out Powerball tickets to diners who spend $25 at the licenced establishment.

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“We’ve had quite a few people call in and ask about it, we’ve had some people in right at 1 p.m. to come get their tickets,” explains Jordan Theodore-Carter, a Tortilla Flats server. “We’re expecting some more, its been good so far.”

Theodore-Carter and the bar’s management were shocked to hear about the law but aren’t worried they’ll be charged. “There are other people doing this across the city, it’s not just us,” she said.

Toronto Police confirm that businesses engaging in this practice are breaking the law, but don’t plan on enforcing the relevant sections until they receive a complaint. An investigation could lead to criminal charges and jail sentences of up to 2 years. Anybody who receives or buys a ticket could also be charged.

(4) Every one who buys, takes or receives a lot, ticket or other device mentioned in subsection (1) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
-Criminal Code, Section 206 & 207

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