Moncton — Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) announced today that Americans living in New Brunswick will be forbidden to win Atlantic Lottery games.
In defense of the decision, New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant stated: “Too much of the winnings are being paid to the IRS, and it’s costing New Brunswickers jobs. They may continue to play though,” Gallant said. “We are not a cruel province. Our intent is not to deny them the ability to bet on American football and baseball. They just won’t be able to take home the payouts.”
Gus Shepherd, financial consultant for Atlantic Lottery Corporation, recently presented the ALC board with a report analyzing how winnings were being spent. “Our statistics showed that only 88 percent of monies paid stayed in the province,” he said in an interview with our reporter. “We discovered the other 12 percent was being paid to the IRS as income tax by American residents living in New Brunswick. We were shocked to learn America taxes its citizens on top of Canada’s taxes, and they tax lottery winnings too.”
Nearly 3,000 winning tickets are submitted by Americans daily. Shepherd estimated that in 2012, around $50 million was paid to the IRS from lottery winnings. “That’s a lot of lost jobs,” he said.
When asked how this information was uncovered, Shepherd replied, “America made it easy. Their new FATCA law forces every American living in Canada to register with their banks as Americans. All of our large payouts are made by direct deposit, and we will be instructing banks to reject all transfers to American persons.” American persons are American citizens as well as Canadian Green Card holders who have skipped out on America and are still required to pay American taxes. Americans can still receive small cash payouts made at a store, but “we are investigating solutions.”
“Many of us expats rely on lottery winnings to pay our taxes,” American expatriate Janice Armstrong of Riverview said. She was born in New York, but has lived in Canada for more than 60 years. Her husband and children are Canadians, she thinks. “Those Saturday night hockey winning tickets will be less valuable than toilet paper.”
Not all Americans pay taxes on their winnings. Bill Wambolt was born in Florida and moved to Fredericton in 1972 to teach political science at UNB. “I am scared to return home. I have not filed an American tax return since living in Canada. I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t,” he said. Wambolt was able to buy a new Hyundai last year with his Pro-Line winnings. “We Americans are born with the ability to predict football games; it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. This is going to hurt.”
Premier Gallant said the money not paid out would be added to future lottery prize funds.
The Manatee was unable to contact the IRS through email, telephone or Twitter. Americans interviewed said this is normal.