Can a Non-resident Claim a Prize of the US Lottery?
This time, we will enquire into the question of whether a non-resident (a tourist or a player who purchases lottery tickets online, for example, using the lottery service Lotto Agent, can claim the prize providing his win in the American lottery. The winning mechanism is clear: a lottery provider invites the player to match several numbers of a special set. So whilst the answer to the question “how to win in a lottery?” is obvious, the question “how to claim a lottery prize?” thrills all lottery fans without any exception.
Legal issue: the information straight from the horse’s mouth
Each lottery is a highly profitable activity from a pecuniary point of view. First of all, a lottery operator in America is a public institution, so the gross revenue of lottery ticket sales is required for improvement of citizens’ welfare. Therefore, lotteries contribute to the partial coverage of social needs: “a single thread from everyone – and there’s a shirt for a naked one”.
On the second hand, each solid lottery prize is a subject to the American government tax. We have intentionally picked the US lotteries for considering, as their tax structure is more complicated than that of the, for instance, European or South American lotteries. Tax fees in several states can reach 49%. Such figures can frighten away potential players, but we shouldn’t forget that the American lotteries draw the biggest cash prizes in the world. Even after the tax deductions the winning amount is very big.
It follows that the state is not interested in restricting access to its lotteries to foreign citizens. However, the operators caution: winners are responsible for tax payment in their home countries. The point is people are prohibited to gamble in some countries including, for example, some Muslim regions. Fortunately, there are only a few of these countries.
The official Powerball website under “Frequently Asked Questions” published an answer to the question: “CAN A NON-RESIDENT WIN POWERBALL?”
“If you legally purchase a Powerball ticket, you can play the game and you can collect prizes. You do not have to be a citizen or a resident to play the game. You can be a tourist. That said, some states do have rules that seem to imply that a winner must produce evidence of citizenship or a federal SSN, but there are other ways to hold back taxes for a winner who does not have a U.S. SSN. Occasionally, some state lawmaker talks about limiting wins to U.S. citizens, but no laws have passed so far.”
The reason why people are skeptical of lotteries lies in the psychology: the player simply doesn’t believe that he could be paid such a large amount of money without any serious effort on his part. Along with that he doesn’t realize that a huge amount of money is huge from his point of view, and that kind of money is not considered something critically important for a government or a large company.
What to do in case of a big win
Reliable lottery concierge services (such as Lotto Agent) provide official confirmation of payments and scanned copies of tickets before the draw. We recommend players to keep copies of tickets, letters, confirmations and copies of bank statements with transfer amount as long as the draw is over. Once find that you have won, you need to immediately contact the agent using online chat, email, feedback form or hotline.
Be careful: in case of a big win the agent may require to verify your identity. This is done for security reasons: so the agent checks that you are over 18 and that you are the one who has bought the winning ticket and is entitled to the prize. Therefore, make sure that the real information about you (name, surname, date of birth, etc.) is listed in your account, as well as the fact that your mail is confirmed.
Lottery agents describe the process of transfer of winning tickets as follows: the winner receives the ticket at a local office or anywhere else by appointment. Then he presents the ticket to the lottery operator and gets the prize after taxes. The winner is responsible for travel costs for himself.
However, reliable lottery agents understand that each individual winning case is different, so that sometimes lottery winners receive financial support from them. Some lottery agents also help to conclude an agreement of mediation services or create a power of attorney, if the other person receives the prize on winner’s behalf.
The question of anonymity
Another important issue that should be discussed is the question of anonymity. In fact, the player, who has won a major prize in the American lottery, can remain anonymous only in 6 states. In other states it won’t be able to remain anonymous. However, it doesn’t mean that the lottery will post detailed information about the winner with all contacts and addresses on its website. This means that anyone can see the name in the public domain.
In some cases, lottery organizers go to the extreme step and preserve anonymity of some winners if something threatens their life or health (see the story below). America may be called the country that lives by the principle of “customer is always right”, so if you have good reason to remain anonymous, your requirements will be met.
Stories that surprised the world
Over the past few months, two users who purchased tickets of the American lotteries online received major prizes. These cases once again prove that you can get the lottery prize, regardless of your place of residence and citizenship:
Iraqis won $ 6.4 million in the lottery Oregon Megabucks
The man wanted to take his winnings in the form of monthly payments for 25 years at a rate of 256,000 per year before taxes. The winner showed his lottery ticket on December 1 at the company’s headquarters in Salem, Oregon. The winning ticket was bought on August 24.
According to the Associated Press, in spite the lottery prohibits remaining anonymous; the winner’s request to keep his identity in secret has been satisfied. The organizers did that, because the man worried about his family’s safety after returning home.
Quebec Pensioner won $ 1,000,000 in Powerball
73-year-old Michael Glickman from Quebec has been buying lottery tickets online for six months. The winner says that he likes to participate in lottery draws, but it takes much time and effort to time cross the border to buy tickets.
When there was the Powerball draw with the Jackpot of $ 1.6 billion, the pensioner managed to scoop a big prize. Michael was extremely surprised: unlike many people, he played for fun, not for profit. However, later the pensioner admitted he was very happy to win.
Actually, there are much more winners, who recently have won big prizes through online lottery concierge services. But the public only knows those episodes that occurred in the United States, because European lotteries comply with the law under which the winners’ identity can’t be disclosed.