Can Non-US Residents Play and Win the Lottery?

Lotteries
Tuesday January 15, 2019 12:29 pm

The Lottery Lab Staff

Have you ever wondered if your immigration status affects your lottery winnings? Can you play the lottery inside the US if you are not a US resident? Can you buy a US lottery ticket outside the US if you are living in a foreign country? And would you be able to claim your winnings if you won? The answers might surprise you! Find out here-

Can Non-Residents Play Powerball, Mega Millions, and other US lotteries?

Yes, you can buy the Powerball, Mega Millions and other lottery tickets, regardless of your residency status. However, rules which restrict US residents still apply to non-residents. For example, in many states, you can’t buy a lottery ticket unless you are 18 years old, even if you are not a US resident.
And of course, if non-US residents are eligible to purchase the lottery ticket, they certainly can claim their winnings as well. However, you should be aware of where you live and what effect will it have on you AFTER you win. For instance, different states have different protocols for claiming the prize like whether or not you can stay anonymous when you claim your prize.
Taxes and other formalities also vary for lottery winner outside the US. So, it’s will be wise to consult with a tax professional for more information. If you are planning to enter any lottery game as a non-US resident, check the rules before you enter.

Is there a way to purchase US lottery tickets outside the US?

It is illegal to purchase US lottery tickets outside the US. Non-US residents are allowed to play lotteries but you have to be physically in the US to purchase the lottery ticket. It is illegal to buy US lottery tickets via the mail or the internet. There are services, as well as mobile apps, which send an employee to physically purchase the tickets for its customers, but these services can have their own rules.
Keep in mind that some scams attempt to trick people into believing that they’ve won the lottery from a foreign country. Remember that you need to buy the ticket yourself to actually win the prize. If you didn’t buy the ticket from the country, any claim that you won is just a scam trying to trick you. There are also bogus websites which claim that you’ve won a large amount. These sites claim that before you can claim your prize, you need to pay taxes upfront. No legitimate lottery commission asks you to make any payment prior to claiming your prize.

Can an illegal immigrant win a US Lottery?

The lottery is just as simple as purchasing a lottery ticket, winning it and claiming it. But it’s not that simple for one illegal immigrant. In 2011, Jose Antonio Cia-Toc, who won a lottery jackpot worth $750,000 jackpot in Georgia. But he was reluctant to claim his winnings because he feared that it might alert the authorities about his illegal immigration status. So, he asked his boss to claim the winnings for him. Erick Cervantes, his boss, and his wife allegedly took the money and spent it all.
Cia-Toc was arrested for threatening to kill Erick Cervantes and his wife. Apparently, the authorities are now well aware of the current immigration status now. He went to court over his winnings and in the end, after the jury deliberated for just 35 minutes, he was awarded the ownership of his $750,000 lottery ticket. At first, he was exempt from collecting the prize because he failed to present a valid social security number; however, his lawyer argued that Cua-Toc’s immigration status doesn’t affect his legal right to claim the money.
At The Lottery Lab, we routinely recommend that winners establish a team of professionals including an accountant, a financial advisor, and legal support. In case you are an illegal immigrant and you’ve won the lottery, you should consult a legal professional with experience dealing with immigration issues before claiming your prize. It can smooth the road to a green card.

Are people with criminal records able to play the lottery?

Although rules can vary depending upon the state, the majority of states allow felons to buy a lottery ticket and play legally. Actually, there is an incident that happened back in December 2014, when a person named Timothy Dale Poole won $3 million in the Florida Lottery. He was accused of sexual battery on a 9-year-old and eventually pled guilty. He was sentenced for 13 months of jail and is currently listed as a sex predator in state records.
At first, he was sentenced for 13 months of jail and 10 years of probation period but was sent to prison for 3 years more, when he failed to appear on his mandatory sex offender counseling sessions. The Florida lottery commission doesn’t have a restriction against people with criminal records playing and winning the lottery, which means he’s entitled to receive a lump sum of $2,219,807.90.
The public criticized Poole’s win because of his status as a sexual predator and they’re horrified by the thought of him receiving such a big amount. In addition to being convicted for sex offenses, he also served jail time for grand theft and forging a check in 1996. Opposite the people criticizing his win are some people who say that he deserves to start his life over,
especially since he has already paid for his crimes.
When it comes to playing the lottery, it is not so much about WHO you are as much about WHERE you are. Tickets which are legally purchased can in most cases be claimed by their owner; however, tickets purchased illegally cannot be claimed by anyone.