Powerball fever spreads across the border

Canadians rush to U.S. for Powerball tickets 02:43

The largest lottery prize in history is getting bigger ahead of Wednesday night's drawing, currently standing at $1.4 billion.

Excitement is growing internationally, with thousands of Canadians pouring into the U.S. to try their luck, reports CBS News correspondent DeMarco Morgan.

While millions of Americans think they're lucky enough to beat the unimaginable odds, so too do Canadians.

"I'm going to take my chances just like everyone else," said one player, Shari Ann, who drove nearly two hours from her Ontario home for a chance to become the world's next billionaire. "We come here and drop a lot of money on a regular basis. We shop in the U.S. a lot. So we give to you. It's time to give back!"

Our neighbors to the north have been traveling across the border from cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, which they are legally allowed to do.

Record-setting Powerball jackpot nears $1.5 b... 01:47

"The Canadians -- they're coming like crazy here for the lotto," said Alex Traverso of the California State Lottery. "You don't have to be a U.S. citizen to buy a Powerball ticket, as long as you're buying your tickets at an authorized retail location, then that's fine with us."

But winners outside the U.S. can expect more taxes. The federal government can withhold 30 percent of gambling winnings paid to a foreigner - five percent more than for a U.S. resident.

There could also be state taxes, depending on where the ticket was purchased. New York has one of the highest state lottery taxes at more than 8 percent.

But for those who are willing to make the trip across the border, there are online retailers willing to do it for them such as TheLotter.com. This week, the server said it became temporarily unavailable after experiencing high demand.

"We don't endorse them and we tell everyone to be careful," Traverse said.

But no matter which side of the border you're on, there's no escaping the one in nearly 300 million chance of winning.

"Even though the odds are totally against winning, somebody has to win. So you can dream," said a Niagara Falls resident.

The $1.4 billion jackpot converts to about $1.9 billion in Canadian dollars. That's a long way from the jackpot of Canada's comparable "Lotto Max" game, which currently sits at an estimated $50 million.