How Old Do You Have to Be to Buy a Lottery Ticket?

How old do you have to be to buy a lottery ticket in the USA? Spoiler alert, the answer is 18! Click here to find out why.

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Adam Moelis
Sep 17, 2021
5 min Read

Do you ever fantasize about winning the lottery? If you did, what would be your first big purchase? Would it be a house, a brand new car?

This is great and all, but before you begin to imagine a new life, you need to know how old you have to buy a lottery ticket. The answer is 18, but they're also other factors to consider! Keep reading to learn more.

What's the Lottery and How Does It Work?

The lottery is considered a form of gambling in the United States. The lottery has many different subsections of games that are all randomized. The best-known game is called the lotto; this game works by choosing the correct six numbers from a set of balls, with each ball numbered from 1 to 50.

People can earn thousands of dollars with this particular game. However, depending on your win, the US will take out taxes. The percentage of taxes can be as high as 40% in some cases!

The history of the lottery is fascinating and can be dated back to the Renaissance Era. Of course, the version we see today is very different from what it was thousands of years ago. Nevertheless, the basis of gambling through the lottery has remained essentially the same.

US History of the Lottery

As stated previously, the lottery can be dated back to the Renaissance Era. However, the lottery made its way into the US in 1776. Initially, the lottery was introduced to raise money for the War of Independence.

However, before 1776, there were many tries for a state-run lottery, but they were unsuccessful. For example, in 1768, George Washington tried to create a lottery fund for a building but sadly, this failed.

Similarly, in 1826 a Virginia legislature created a private lottery fund to pay off his debts. However, this fund would be unsuccessful as well.

However, in 1761 a similar lottery was held by John Hancock to fund a building. This lottery was one of the first to be successful and would pave the way for more lottery-funded projects.

Later in 1832, nearly 500 lotteries were successfully held in states across the United States. These lottery funds would later begin to fund education buildings. Some of these buildings include prestigious universities like Harvard and Yale!

Many historians say that the original creation of the lottery was to fund education programs. This may have been true in earlier years, but the tax revenue has not gone to its intended place over time.

Lottery Ticket Laws

As stated earlier, in most states, the lottery ticket laws are the same. However, there are also other lottery ticket laws you should be aware of. For starters, your payment might be halted or seized f you have unpaid child support payments.

Similarly, if you have purchased a ticket before filing for bankruptcy, your winnings will be assigned to your lenders. This might not be the worst-case scenario, especially if you were planning on using this money to pay off your debts. The only downside is that you may be left with nothing depending on your winnings and your amount of debt.

Lastly, there are no laws from stopping an ex-felon from purchasing and redeeming a lottery ticket. There have been instances where an ex-sex offender has won big money, which caused a huge stir.

In fact, many citizens worked together to change these laws and not allow serious offenders to purchase and redeem lottery tickets. However, there have been no laws put in place at the moment.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Buy a Lottery Ticket

Lottery ticket laws do vary slightly from state to state. For the most part, those buying a lottery ticket need to be at least 18 years or older. However, there are states like Alabama and Mississippi that have banded state-run lotteries.

This means they don't have a state-run lottery system and can only gamble in casinos! Some states have changed the buying age to 21. For example, states like Arizona, Iowa, and Louisiana, have all changed their age to 21

It's important to mention that buying a lottery ticket and redeeming a lottery ticket also have separate laws. For example, in some states, the buy-in age is 18. In comparison, the redeeming age is 21, which has led to trouble in the past.

For example, there have been instances of someone buying a lottery ticket at 18 and winning big but not redeeming their price. When this happens, the winnings have to be transferred to a family or friend of legal age.

These laws can be frustrating, especially if you're not of age yet but won a good amount of money. That's why it's essential to know your individual state's lottery laws.

Redeeming a Lottery Ticket

Before redeeming a lottery ticket, you first must decide what kind of payment you would like to receive. For big wins like the Powerball, you have the option to have a one-time fee with the taxes taken out immediately. The other option is having annual payments with smaller increments of taxes taken out for over three decades.

Keep in mind that you will have 180 days to claim your money and 60 days if you want one payment. Once you've decided this, you have options for redeeming your cash.

Redeeming with Mail-in Form

A mail-in form out of state wins is an option for lottery ticket winners. This can be done by mailing in your winning ticket with a claim form. Once you've filled out this form and signed the back of your ticket, send these to the lottery office to the state where the ticket was purchased.

If you purchased a ticket in a different state that you live in, you could still mail in your ticket. Simply look up the location and instructions for the state where the ticket was purchased.

Redeeming With the State Lottery Office

Redeeming your lottery ticket can be done at your state lottery office for any prize amount, big or small. In fact, many winners prefer to take their tickets to the lottery office because of easier accessibility.

To find your local lottery office, simply type in your state, followed by "lottery office." Before you begin this process, ensures that you have a valid license or passport and sign the back of your lottery ticket!

Once you've done one of these options, you will need to wait for the prize money to come through. The final prize will come in the form of a check but can be transferred to your bank account!

Out of State Wins

Buying a lottery ticket in a different state than where you reside is legal. In fact, the rules for out-of-state wins are the same for in-state in wins. However, the tax percentages may be different.

Based on your home state and where you purchased the ticket, a 15% state tax may be placed in addition to the federal tax. Be aware that this percentage changes from state to state, and you may also have a tax for redeeming at your local tax-filing office.

However, some states don't tax lottery prices like California, for example. Similarly, some states impose a meager tax rate. For example, North Dakota imposes a 2.9% tax cut for winners.

What to Do After a Winning

Buying a lottery ticket in the USA can be pretty inexpensive, yet 80 million dollars are spent in this practice. Oddly enough, many people tend to have more problems after they've won the lottery.

In fact, over 30% of jackpot winners file for bankruptcy within just five years! Usually, jackpot winners begin buying cars, houses, and vacations without knowing financial literacy. That's what it's essential to receive financial counseling after winning the lottery and save as much as you can!

However, saving can be hard especially when you're receiving a lump sum amount of money and you begin to forget how these payments are temporary!

However, many financial analysts recommend paying off any debts or mortgages, then putting a percentage of your price money into savings. You could also invest part of your earnings into the stock market but be aware that this could cause you to lose more money if a crash occurs.

Similarly, many lottery winners begin dealing with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Many times winners face backlash from their own families and struggle with distributing their money to the right family members.

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