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Tennessee Lottery temporarily closes in-person prize claim centers, offers alternatives due to COVID-19

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NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Lottery is temporarily closing its in-person prize claim centers at its Nashville headquarters as well as its district offices across the state amid the COVID-19 crisis.

But winners of less than $600 can still claim their cash prizes at retailer locations, officials said.

And anyone who wins $600 or more isn’t entirely out of luck when it comes to claiming a prize, although it will take longer: Lottery officials say those winners can mail those winning tickets to the lottery headerquarters. The same applies to those winning prizes less than $600, as well.

Tennessee Education Lottery CEO Rebecca Hargrove said the move stems from general provisions in Gov. Bill Lee’s Executive Order 17, as well as in directives issued by Metro Nashville Mayor John Cooper.

District offices are are tentatively scheduled to resume normal business operations on April 6.

“The most important thing right now is for all our players to take the appropriate precautions to stay safe and healthy,” Hargrove said in a news release. “Players with winning tickets can rest assured their prizes will be paid if postmarked prior to the end of the claim expiration period.”

Players should remember to sign the back of their tickets. And lottery officials also suggest winners may want to use registered mail when mailing claims.

Winners mailing in claims for draw-style games must have them postmarked within 180 days of the official winning draw date for that ticket.

Mail-in claims for instant games must be postmarked within 90 days of the announced instant game end date. Players should visit tnlottery.com for additional details.

Drawings will continue as scheduled, and instant ticket games will continue to be delivered to retailer locations. By law, the prize expiration date cannot be extended.

A claim form is not required for claims of prizes less than $600 made by mail. Players should sign the back of the ticket and include their name and address either on the ticket or on a separate piece of paper, lottery officials say.

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Lottery is temporarily closing its in-person prize claim centers at its Nashville headquarters as well as its district offices across the state amid the COVID-19 crisis.

COVID-19 Closures Mean Your TN Lottery Winnings Might Have To Come Via Mail

While Tennesseans can still buy lottery tickets right now, the process of claiming a big prize has changed somewhat. That’s because the state has closed its Tennessee Lottery claim centers amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Those with tickets for such prizes aren’t left out in the cold right now, however. They merely have to account for a procedural change.

Details on the closure of Tennessee Lottery claim centers

All four such offices in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, and Nashville are closed. The TN Lottery made the decision to protect the health of its workers and help to slow the spread of COVID-19.

It’s unclear how long the closure will last. The lottery will continue to award prizes during this time.

Tennesseeans who have winning tickets for prizes of $600 or less can redeem those tickets at any TN Lottery retailer. For prizes of at least $601, you can mail your winning ticket to:

Tennessee Education Lottery
P.O. Box 290636
Nashville, TN 37229-0636

You must sign the back of your ticket prior to mailing it off. Additionally, you must provide a photocopy of a valid government-issued ID and proof of your Social Security number.

Proof of your SSN can include a copy of your Social Security card, valid driver’s license (from any state), a pay stub, a voter registration card, a passport or a military ID. Do not send original documents, photocopies only.

The third thing you must include is a completed claim form. You can either download one or obtain one at any lottery retailer still open. The TN Lottery also recommends you send your redemption request via registered mail.

Processing times will vary for different games and prizes. Players have 180 days to claim prizes won in draw-style games (Mega Millions, Powerball) and 90 days for instant-win (scratch-offs) tickets.

So far, the TN Lottery has not altered those timeframes. If that changes, there will be further announcements.

What there won’t be any announcements on for the time being is the rollout of legal sportsbooks in TN. That could be on hold for quite some time.

TN Lottery delaying sports betting meetings as well

The TN Lottery board can’t hold its meetings right now because state law requires such meetings to be open to the public. As TN Gov. Bill Lee has declared a state of emergency over the pandemic, such a meeting can’t take place until Lee rescinds that order.

The big reason why that’s brought everything to a standstill is that the board has yet to vote to finalize regulations for future sportsbook operators. Until that’s done, potential operators can’t even begin to fill out license applications.

As with everything else right now, the situation remains fluid. It partially depends on whether the TN Legislature takes any more action on a bill that would shift regulatory responsibilities from the TN Lottery’s board to the lottery’s Sports Betting Advisory Council.

The Legislature won’t reconvene until June 1, however. A vote to finalize regulations could wait until after then. If that’s the case, sportsbook operators may not get their first crack at licensure until early June.

For the time being, the virus has altered the preferred course of action on many facets of society. Even the TN Lottery isn’t immune and has done all it can to keep people safe.

The state government has closed Tennessee Lottery claim centers around the state but there are still ways for Tennesseans to claim prizes