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Ohio State Lotteries Laws

States use official lotteries to raise revenue for schools and other shared public resources. These are primarily games of chance, which don't require any specific skills or knowledge, such as scratch-off tickets and games where numbers are drawn at random. Ohio state lottery laws were enacted in 1973, after a voter-approved constitutional amendment created the Ohio Lottery Commission.

The first lottery tickets went on sale that next year. Ohio joined the popular, multi-state Mega Millions lottery game in 2002. In 2005, the Ohio Lottery began administering and monitoring the licensing of bingo games for charitable causes.

As with many other states that run an official lottery, Ohio uses the proceeds from its lottery primarily to fund public education (lawmakers earmarked lottery profits for education in 1983). Now, roughly 4 percent of Ohio's education funding comes from the state lottery, according to the Ohio Lottery Commission's website.

Lottery winners have up to 180 days in which to claim prizes, including both drawings and scratch-off tickets. Prizes of up to $599 may be cashed out at any Ohio Lottery retail location, while winners will be given a "Pay to Bearer" ticket for prizes of between $600 and $5,000. You will need to show a valid photo ID with current address and Social Security number (or a separate SSA card) when claiming prizes.

While the lottery is fairly straightforward, each state has its own rules and regulations. The highlights of Ohio state lottery laws are listed below, with links to related resources.

Code Section 3770.01, et seq.
Distribution of Lottery Revenue 50% prize payment less operation expenses; then at least 30% Lottery Profits Education Fund
Additional Purpose of Lottery Lottery Profits Education Fund used to support elementary, secondary, vocational, and special education programs in appropriations made by the general assembly
Lottery Prize Subject to Garnishment On prizes over $600, for default of support payment under support order
Time Limit to Claim Prize/Disposition 180 days/returned to state lottery fund in unclaimed lottery prizes fund
Prohibited Related Activities Sale at greater price; unauthorized sale; sale to minor; influence lottery sales agent; on Ohio fairgrounds at annual exhibition

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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