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District of Columbia Lottery Laws

Just about every jurisdiction now sells lottery tickets, which help states raise revenue for various stated benefactors. For example, many states use the revenue to help pay for public education or environmental initiatives, while others simply transfer the money to the general fund.

State lottery laws determine which kinds of games are allowed, who is eligible to play, how the money is used, and other aspects of running a lottery. Jurisdictions that offer lottery tickets usually have a combination of instant-win, "scratch-off" tickets and tickets for cash drawings. Prizes typically ranges from a free lottery ticket to a multi-million payout.

Washington, D.C. State Lottery Law at a Glance

Washington, D.C. began selling lottery tickets in 1982, with the stated purpose of funding D.C. education, public safety, child services, and other causes. The District of Columbia draws winning numbers multiple times each day, participates in multi-state lottery games, and sells scratch-off tickets.

The following chart provides additional details about the laws governing D.C.'s official lottery.

Code Section 3-1301, et seq.
Distribution of Lottery Revenue 1st pay operation, administration and capital expenses (including payment of prizes); remainder to General Fund of District of Columbia as general purpose revenue funds Lottery and charitable games fund pays for operation
Additional Purpose of Lottery -
Lottery Prize Subject to Garnishment -
Time Limit to Claim Prize/Disposition 180 days/General Fund of District of Columbia
Prohibited Related Activities

Unauthorized sales; forged/counterfeited/altered tickets; sale to minor

No ticket or share shall be purchased by, and no prize shall be paid to, any of the following persons: Any member or employee of the Board or any spouse, domestic partner, child, brother, sister, or parent residing as a member of the same household in the principal place of abode of any member or employee of the Board.

Penalty for Violations Fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment of up to six months

Note: State laws are always subject to change at any time, usually through the enactment of newly signed legislation but also through higher court decisions or other means. You also may want to contact a District of Columbia gaming attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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