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New Mexico State Lotteries Laws

Many states have enacted lottery laws over the years to create a lottery revenue source for the state. New Mexico passed a law permitting a state lottery in 1995. The New Mexico Lottery Authority officially started selling scratch tickets in April of 1996.

Despite the draw of winning big, most people who play the lottery are giving to their state more than they will ever see back. Some critics argue that investing in your retirement is a much better long-term strategy than spending $5 or $50 a month on the lotto. However, unless you truly are spending more than you can afford, you can rest easy knowing your money on the lottery is going to help educate New Mexicans.

New Mexico Lottery Laws

The following table details the main lottery laws in New Mexico.

Code Sections New Mexico Statutes Chapter 6, Article 24: New Mexico Lottery Act
Distribution of Lottery Revenue Half of the lottery revenue goes to prizes minus operating expenses, the net remaining revenues (100%) go to the lottery education and tuition fund.
Additional Purpose of Lottery To benefit New Mexico resident undergraduates at New Mexico post-secondary schools by providing tuition assistance. More than $629 million has been raised since 1996 and more than 90,000 New Mexicans have received lottery-funded scholarships.
Lottery Prize Subject to Garnishment On prizes over $600, those owing money for child support can have it taken out of their lottery winnings by the New Mexico Human Services Department.
Time Limit to Claim Prize and Disposition The New Mexico Lottery Authority has determined that all drawing and scratcher prizes must be claimed within 90 days of the drawing or announced end of game. If you don’t claim a prize, it’s paid into the prize fund for future games.
Prohibited Related Activities Many lottery-related activities are unlawful, including:
  • Selling lottery tickets at a greater price than fixed by the lottery authority, to minors under 18 years old, or by anyone other than an authorized lottery retailer
  • Forging or altering lottery tickets with the intent to defraud the lottery
  • Stealing and attempting to redeem stolen lottery tickets
  • Trying to influence the winning of prize through fraud or deception

Getting Help for Big Wins and Problem Gambling

Should the improbable winning of a major lottery prize happen to you, you should immediately seek help from an experienced local tax expert and estate planning lawyer to create a strategy to not only collect, but also protect your lottery winnings. You don’t want to lose all that money to taxes and poor money management.

If you have a problem with gambling and lottery ticket buying, even when you know you’re past your limit, please seek help. The New Mexico Council on Problem Gambling has a helpline available 24/7 at 1-800-572-1142 (1-800-GAMBLER).

Note: State laws are updated frequently, so please conduct your own legal research or contact a lawyer to verify these lottery-related laws.

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