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Play US Lotteries Online – Can I or Can’t I?

US Lotteries

US Lotteries – Digging Deeper…

After receiving so much conflicting information regarding playing online lottery games like US Powerball and Mega Millions, it was time we took a serious look at what are the rules and regulations are for people residing outside the United States of America. The size of these jackpots is attracting attention and serious lottery players want to know whether their play will be legal.

The Bottom Line on US Lotteries

It was concluded in an opinion by VIRGINIA A. SEITZ, United States Assistant Attorney General in reference to the states of New York and New Jersey, that lotteries do not form a part of the Wire Act which is the primary federal legislation governing interstate transactions.

The amendment to the Wire Act was a result of the growing use of the Internet. Though initially introduced in 2009, it was on the 20th of September 2011, when Seitz wrote a 13 page legal opinion that said “nothing in the materials supplied by the Criminal Division suggests that the New York or Illinois lottery plans involve sports wagering, rather than garden-variety lotteries. Accordingly, we conclude that the proposed lotteries are not within the prohibition of the Wire Act.” In other words, the US federal government conceded the Wire Act only applied to sports betting.

This affects the concept of interstate purchasing of lottery tickets. There is no question that US citizens cannot play lotteries online internationally, but people are allowed to play lotteries online outside the US for games in the US. Some of the US states do have specific rules that prohibit foreigners from playing lotteries in their state, but it is clear where foreigners are welcome!

Can Foreigners Play US Lotteries?

The California Lottery site is very specific and says “It is not necessary to be a California resident, nor a US citizen to play and win any of the California Lottery‘s games, but a player does have to travel there to collect any big jackpot. Most good concierge services will help facilitate this.

In speaking to the Georgia State Lottery, they confirmed that a player would not have to be a resident but would have to fly down to Georgia to physically pick up their big jackpot if a player won US Powerball or Mega Millions. Oh – and they would have to pay the 30% Federal tax. Technically, players are supposed to buy the tickets themselves, but when I discussed getting a friend to do it for me, they assured me that was not an issue. Just to make sure that I either trusted the friend to hold my ticket for me or send it to me immediately (before the draw!).

The Texas State Lottery also confirmed no worries – come get your money! Funny, they also confirmed that this could be processed from outside of Texas with the proper form completed and identification provided. Forget that – if I won the big jackpot, I’d be on a plane on to get my money!

Getting Technical on Tax

In a legal opinion by Martha L. Arias, Immigration and Internet Law Attorney, Miami, IBLS Director, she commented on the income tax implications of Israel residents who might win a lottery in the US. It was clarified that they can receive either their lump sum or annuity, but must pay federal tax applicable to foreigners (30%).

Stay Tuned to This Channel

Keep in mind folks that this is evolving legislation, but for now, I have talked to enough people and received information in writing that as long as you use an online lottery concierge that you trust, they will walk you through the correct legal process to claim your big jackpot!

Many of the FAQs and Terms & Conditions online are slightly out of date and do not reflect the current rules and regulations. Happily, I feel much more confident in giving US lotteries a serious thumbs up as well as our approved concierge lottery services.

That is the point – using a concierge lottery service that you trust and that will provide you with the necessary information to collect your jackpot.