florida lottery rules and state law

Florida State Lotteries Laws

Created byВ FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors | Last updated June 20, 2016

Gambling has a varied history throughout the United States. While it is legal under federal law, states have the option to further restrict or completely prohibit various forms of gambling. MostВ states have lotteries, which are games of chance that award cash prizes. Generally, state lotteries are used to raise revenue for a public benefactor (such as schools, community improvement, etc.).

In Florida, the state government runs the lottery, offering games such as: scratchers, Powerball, Mega Money, Lucky Lines, and Mega Millions. Lottery proceeds are intended to enhance public education through the construction of new schools and educational facilities. Florida’s lottery laws dictate that 50% of lottery revenue is to go to the payment of prizes, 39% to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund, and the remaining revenue to go to the administrative expenses associated with running the lottery. The lottery laws also regulate: whether lottery prizes may be garnished (to go towards delinquent taxes, child support payments, etc.), the time limits to claim prizes, and other prize-related issues.

The main provisions of Florida state lottery laws are listed in the table below.

Code Section

Distribution of Lottery Revenue

50% payment of prizes; 39% Educational Enhancement Trust Fund; remaining revenue to pay administrative expenses of lottery department

Additional Purpose of Lottery

To support improvements in public education and not as a substitute for educational funds

Lottery Prize Subject to Garnishment

On prizes over $600; offset by outstanding obligation to any state agency or owing child support through a court

Time Limit to Claim Prize/Disposition

180 days/added to “pool from which future prizes are awarded or for special prize promotions”

Prohibited Related Activities

Unlawful assignment/transfer; unauthorized sale as retailer; sale to minor; counterfeited/altered ticket; at greater price; extension offered to purchase ticket

Note:В State laws are constantly changing –В contact a Florida gaming law attorneyВ or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

More Information

For more information, check out Florida’s state lottery website or click on the links listed below to explore additional resources on Florida’s gambling laws. If you have legal questions regarding the lottery or gambling, in general, consider speaking with a Florida gaming attorney.

Related Resources for Florida Gambling Laws:

  • Official State CodesВ – Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.
  • Gaming Law
  • Florida Statutes
  • Florida Legal Research
  • Lottery Winnings and Divorce

Chart providing details of Florida State Lotteries Laws

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does the Lottery verify a person claiming a prize is who they say they are? To claim a prize, a person must present valid photo identification. The Lottery also requires a social security number for US citizens. The social security number is used to check the State of Florida owed debt database. The Lottery has recently entered into a pilot program with the Internal Revenue Service which allows the Lottery to check social security numbers with the IRS database. 2. What is the Lottery’s policy on retailer wins? Florida law does not prohibit retailers from purchasing lottery tickets. When the Department of Lottery was first established, Florida Statutes made it unlawful for retailers and their employees to purchase lottery tickets. That provision was amended in 1988, by the Florida Legislature, removing the prohibition. 3. Have you found instances of people cashing in winning tickets worth $600 or more for other people? A winning ticket is considered a “bearer” instrument and the person presenting a winning ticket for payment is the one paid. If, however, changes have been made to the player Information area on the back of a ticket through the use of correction fluid, overwriting, or obliterating a prior entry, an investigation is conducted by the Lottery Division of Security to determine the rightful owner of the ticket. The Division of Security has a forensic lab and document examiner who is able to conduct investigations and inspections of lottery documents critical to making these determinations. 4. What does the Lottery do to track players who have an excessive number of wins? The Lottery has an internal database that tracks multiple winners and looks for irregularities that may exist. This extensive tracking is conducted by the Lottery’s Office of Inspector General and Division of Security. 5. Does the Lottery proactively investigate their retailers, how often, and what would cause a retailer to be investigated? The Lottery makes game security a top priority. The Lottery’s Division of Security and Office of Inspector General has conducted at least three extensive retailer sting operations since 2009. Some were initiated as a result of player complaints and some were random investigations to ensure that retailers are complying with the rules and laws governing the sale of lottery tickets. If wrongdoing is found, the Lottery will cooperate with and support law enforcement and the judicial process. 6. What does the Lottery do to prevent retailers/clerks from stealing customer’s tickets? The Retailer Integrity program is one way the Florida Lottery proactively works to ensure retail clerks are following the law in dealing with our customers. We encourage players to contact the Lottery if they feel a clerk has been deceptive. The Division of Security follows up and investigates every complaint received. In addition, prior to being authorized to sell Lottery tickets, retailers are provided extensive training on how to properly generate and validate tickets. In addition, the Lottery has 7,076 self service validation terminals installed at high volume retailers which prevent theft of customer’s tickets. 7. How do I know Florida Lottery drawings are not rigged? The Lottery is a fair and honest business that is highly scrutinized, audited and observed. The utmost in security and auditing procedures are in operation with each drawing to ensure the highest level of integrity possible. Drawings are conducted under strict security guidelines and procedures to ensure that every player is guaranteed a fair chance to win. Additionally, all Lottery drawings are monitored by an independent auditor and a Lottery draw manager. When a drawing is not taking place, all equipment is under lock and key in a secured location. 8. What are the Lottery’s powers to discontinue sales for a retailer? The Lottery may immediately suspend a retailer without prior notice if the Lottery determines that immediate suspension is necessary to ensure the integrity, security, honesty, or fairness of the operation of the Lottery.

Based upon Chapter 24.112, Florida Statutes, the Lottery has the authority to suspend or terminate a retailer’s contract for reasons not limited to the reasons below:
1. A violation of Chapter 24 or any administrative rule filed by the Lottery;
2. Failure to accurately account for lottery tickets, revenues or prizes as required by the Lottery;
3. Commission of any fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;
4. Insufficient sale of tickets;
5. Conduct prejudicial to public confidence in the Lottery; and
6. Any material change in any matter considered by the Lottery in executing the contract with the retailer.

Additional information can be found in Rule 53ER07-15 Suspension and Termination of Retailer Contract, Florida Administrative Code. The reasons include:
1. Retailer has jeopardized the integrity, security or efficient operation of the Lottery;
2. Retailer has sold a lottery ticket or paid a prize to any person under 18 years of age;
3. Retailer has violated any rule or regulation promulgated by the Lottery;
4. Retailer’s reputation is no longer consistent with the protection of the public interest; and
5. Retailer has violated the Lottery’s ethics rules or policies. 9. What should I use to sign my ticket? The Florida Lottery recommends signing tickets using a pen, but any writing instrument or signature stamp is acceptable. Mailing labels or postage stickers are not acceptable. 10. How should I sign my name on my ticket? Players should sign the back of the ticket in the same way they would sign a check or any other legal document. 11. Do ALL tickets presented to the clerk to be checked/cashed have to be signed? No, but the Lottery recommends that players sign the back of all tickets. Signatures are only required for tickets of $600 or more, which must be claimed at a Florida Lottery district office or Headquarters. When a player signs the ticket, it ensures he/she is the rightful owner of the ticket and is entitled to any prize won on the ticket. 12. Will the retailer give non-winning tickets back to the player? Yes, retailers will offer to give back any non-winning tickets or dispose of them. If the retailer does not offer to give back your non-winning tickets, you may request them. If a retailer refuses, please contact the Florida Lottery’s Division of Security. 13. If players mail their tickets to the lottery to be checked/cashed, do they have to be signed? No, but the Lottery recommends that players sign the back of all tickets before mailing them. By signing the ticket, players ensure they are the rightful owner of the ticket. 14. If a group of players purchase tickets together, do all the members have to sign the tickets? No. The players must designate one person to sign the ticket on behalf of the group. The Lottery encourages the designated player to sign his/her name along with the group’s name.

© 2021 Florida Lottery, All Rights Reserved.
Must be 18 or older to play.
Play responsibly.

Frequently Asked Questions 1. How does the Lottery verify a person claiming a prize is who they say they are? To claim a prize, a person must present valid photo identification. The Lottery also