can felons win the lottery

Almost anyone can win the Powerball jackpot — except for these 2 million Americans

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Pretty much everyone in the United States is eligible to win Wednesday’s record $1.4 billion Powerball jackpot —except for a not-so-fortunate group of 2.2 million people.

The list of people eligible to win the Powerball even includes Americans abroad, who can buy tickets online, and non-U.S. citizens in the states with dreams of striking it rich. Tourists visiting the U.S. can buy a Powerball ticket and claim the prize. Just about any adult who can get themselves online or to an authorized retailer is eligible.

But for one big group — the estimated 2.2 million adults behind bars in the U.S. — winning the Powerball isn’t really an option.

Most states strictly forbid people in prison from gambling, including participating in state-approved lottery contests . Others just make it impossible by not permitting internet access or prohibiting lottery tickets from being mailed.

Theoretically, an adult in prison could phone a friend and ask them to both front the money for the ticket and accept the winnings on their behalf. But that’s also illegal in states with laws that prohibit people in prison from gambling.

There is one extraordinary story of a U.K. man who happened to buy a winning lottery ticket while serving time for attempted rape. In 2004 Iorworth Hoare was on a permitted weekend outing when he won the winning ticket for a £7 million ($10 million USD) jackpot. Hoare, who had previous convictions for rape, two other attempted rapes, and three indecent assaults, now lives in a castle and is known for his art collection. One victim who heard about his record lottery win sued Hoare and settled for an undisclosed sum of money.

But in the U.S., it might be the state suing the lottery winner. Experts say in the off chance a current or former prisoner in the U.S. manages to win the Powerball, the state could take a chunk of it away.

As counties and states struggle to pay for their prisons, they have started charging fees for everything from bookings to room and board. More than half the nation’s state prisons have instituted “pay-to-stay” fees, charging inmates for their own incarceration.

An estimated 10 million people owe more than $50 billion in debt resulting from their involvement in the criminal justice system, according to a study published by the The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s School of Law.

Criminal justice advocates say the debt can increase recidivism and that prisoners who have already served their time should not be doubly punished with added fees.

If a former prisoner wins the jackpot, chances are the state or a victim could come after them.

In December 2014 Timothy Poole of Mount Dora, Florida, a registered sex offender, won nearly $3 million on a scratch-off lottery ticket. Two unidentified brothers who say they were sexually assaulted by Poole asked the state court to temporarily freeze his earnings ahead of their trial, but a judge denied their request.

After the judge’s ruling Florida State Senator Darren Soto (D-Orlando) said he would introduce legislation that would allow judges to freeze assets of convicted sex offenders who win the lottery.

Another registered sex offender in Florida was the sole winner of the state’s $14 million lottery drawing in 2007. The Florida Lottery commision did not respond to request asking if the state has considered banning certain groups from being eligible to win the lottery.

Pretty much everyone in the United States is eligible to win Wednesday's record $1.4 billion Powerball jackpot—except for a not-so-fortunate group of 2.2 million people.

Can a felon win the lottery?

For a bitter truth to the felons, life rarely goes back to normal after a release from jail on a felony conviction. How grounded reality is this statement revolves around how government and society perceive felons. Even if prison might have changed convicts ultimately, to become responsible people in the community, people still hold the previous instincts that such people are still criminals.

Outcomes that come about with being a felon are tremendous. Surprisingly, these outcomes go along felon life. Many countries across the globe document gloss conduct of their citizens. Once you have been listed as a felony and you go seeking government services like a job post, or a visa to fly out of the country, your felony record denies you the privilege.

In this article, we explore the chances and limitations of playing and winning a lottery for a felon. Our motive is driven by one query, i.e., can a felon win the lottery or the entire participation for a felon in the lottery is also denied? We have worked to establish the background truth and the possibility of winning. Read through to get answers.

Is it possible to win?

Some people out of their personal or selfish interest holds believe that felons should never be allowed to win lotteries. Felons convicted of severe cases like murder or sex assaults have continued to receive negative social perception. If you look at our media mainstream today, a felon participating in an ongoing international event is never described without his or her felony records. To add insults, descriptions that come in the process are never definite.

People believe that if a felon wins such a huge amount of money, it might trigger him or her to indulge in the previous illegitimate activities. This belief has continued to be a massive drawback to felons since even acquiring a chance to be part of the competition is a big challenge.

From a legal point of view, felons have a chance to win a lottery. This makes a bitter truth to those who fight felons’ participation in lotteries. This privilege, however, comes with conditions. A felon already incarcerated has no chance to take part in the play series.

When a felon participates and wins a lottery, it’s a door for media attention and thorough government scrutiny at all times. The government would want to know how the felon in question is using such a massive amount of money.

Further, for lottery companies that allow felons participation and finally win, have their image becomes tinted. Media typically latch such companies with a perception that they promote criminals while they are not at any point doing as such.

In 2014, a sex offender in California called Timothy Poole who hailed from Mount Dora US, who according to media report had been arrested for over ten times won a lottery of $3 million. This win prompted two unknown brothers who claimed to have been assaulted sexually by Timothy to ask the court to freeze his earing ahead of trial semi-permanently, but their request was declined. Media tried all means to cook bad negative stories about him but already he had won, and nothing could overturn the reality.

Therefore, the chance of winning is there, but it depends on the felon himself especially how he or she fights the lousy image created by media.

What If They Have a Warrant?

The next commonly asked question in the industries of lottery gaming is whether or not an individual who holds a warrant has a chance of winning a lottery.

This question is vital since warrants are for felons or people with misbehavior records. Typically speaking it holds no water to prevent anyone with a warrant to win the lottery.

Let us take a case where someone with a warrant wins a state lottery say $2.5 million. What should happen and what is the procedure for such a person to access his or her money?

The first procedural step is to take the lottery winning a ticket to the local lottery office for verification and collection of the win. In such a scenario, the police or the government would have no business in interfering with awards to the winner.

Interferences by police, however, comes in when cases of bribery erupt citing the winner (a felon with a warrant) to have bribed his or her way in the whole process. This happens in most cases especially when a felon is in dire need for money to settle cases in courts and clear their names with police.

For police to detect cases of cheating, hypothetically, they monitor CCTV footages of the winner. In case they realize any misconduct was present in the entire process, the winning is revoked and the necessary measures are taken abruptly.

By now, you might have started wondering if such cases of bribery do happen. Yes, they happen most frequently.

What Happens if a Felon Wins the Lottery?

Typically, apart from being convicted of mischievous activities felons are like any other human being. Therefore, the first thing that a felon experience upon receiving news that he or she has won the lottery is total excitement. The second, step would be to pick the reward from the local lottery office. Such a scenario would never fail to attract media attention.

That said and done, a felon under win would henceforth be on total guard that would otherwise compromise their freedom. Those who do not subscribe to the ideology that a felon should be allowed to win the lottery would otherwise be watching jealously from a distance.

Additionally, for felons who had serious crime and are the liable victim, winning a lottery would send signs to victims that their offender has money capable of initiating compensation. To some point, this statement is true though it’s not evident that the felon will pay automatically. The victims need to launch legal action against the offender and sue them for payments. In most cases, this is what it usually happens.

Lastly, the other case that happens whenever a felon wins a lottery is the subjection of the felon money to government restitution. This occurs mostly for a criminal who has restitution to the government or other legal bodies. Lottery winning is considered an income and therefore subject to the terms of restitution clause in courts.

Should Felons Play the Lottery?

Whether or not you are a felon, standing a chance of winning a lottery is almost to infinity. It’s like competing between 17 million people, and you still expect to be exceptional. Ideally, if you so wish to go on records as one who had ever won a lottery with million participants, its worth to give it a trial.

Even though the odds of winning a lottery are ever against any participant, people always brave themselves and participate. Back in mind, lottery players know that a lottery is a bad bet and might backfire on them negatively.

Felons undergo a challenging life in prison. Such kind of life sometimes changes their perception in life to the extent that they do not fear to take any risk. Further, the time at which felons had stayed in jail prompt them to participate in a lottery and hopefully get a win. A win to them serve to give them abrupt recovery financially that was otherwise wasted during imprisonment.

When felons get incarceration, usually it leads to debt, and such bills never go away unless repaid

Typically speaking, a felon has a chance to use that money he or she is taking in gambling to repay a debt or take up a training that would otherwise change his or her life. However, this is never the case. Practically, when felons leave prison, their hope and dream lie in the limit. This makes them hope to change their life in a single night something that prompts them to buy a lotto ticket.

If you are a felon and you believe you are, lucky enough perhaps you can participate in a lottery. Even though we cannot say, a candidate A is luckier than candidate B everyone should participate in lottery regardless of being a felon or not.


In conclusion, society should stop judging felons on accounts of their mischievous. Most of them upon conviction and jail sentence come back the society as reformed people. Most of them except for a few cases reported, contribute to the development of a nation. If you take up a close follow up on felons already convicted, accepted their faults and are now back to their normal life, they end up engaging themselves on community charity work. Such people need to be given a chance since their contribution to society is positively driven.

It is, however, vital to note that cases of felons winning the lottery, stands a high chance of making them mischievous again. A felon like Freddie Young, who won the Detroit split lottery jackpot of $46 million in February 2011, was on 2012 sentenced for 25 years imprisonment. It happened that three months after he won the lottery, Freddie was accused of murdering Greg McNicol a 45 years old man, who was the landlord to his daughter. Sources indicated that Freddie and McNicol argued over unpaid rent by his daughter. It was reported that Freddie fatally shot MacNicol killing him instantly.

The above scenario might be truth or not true bearing in mind that the media holds a negative perception to almost all felons and can report anything contrary to the truth.

You now have some insightful information about felons and winning of a lottery. If you have an experience over a felonies case and lottery, feel free to share with us any time.

Can a felon win the lottery? For a bitter truth to the felons, life rarely goes back to normal after a release from jail on a felony conviction. How grounded reality is this statement revolves