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Washington State Lotteries Laws

Lotteries: A State-Run Tax

Lotteries are ultimately considered a taxable activity designed to bring revenue to state. The history of state-run lotteries in the U.S. began almost 400 years ago under King James I of England. He had the grand idea of creating a lottery in London to aid Jamestown, the first British colony in America.

The colonists enthusiastically embraced England's lottery tradition and started their own, organizing both public and private lotteries.

State-Run Lotteries Today

These days you don't have to be a pilgrim wearing black and white clothing with large golden buckles on your shoes and a cloth hat to try your luck at the lottery.

State-run lotteries exist today and can raise quite a bit of revenue in those states which allow them. Lotteries often include a combination of scratch-off tickets and number-picking games with sizable cash prizes. Think smiling Powerball winners displaying $20 million checks for the at-home viewing audience.

Washington State Lottery Laws

Washington's state lottery laws require the proceeds to be used for education construction, student achievement funding, and for the payment of Seattle's baseball stadium, Safeco Field. Individuals have 180 days in which to claim prizes for winning tickets.

Gambling Addiction

Problem addiction is a complex health issue that often requires treatment, counseling and support. If you cannot walk away when you've reached your limit, or if you find yourself pre-occupied with thoughts of gambling or in conflict with others because of your compulsive gambling activity, call Washington State's Problem Gambling Helpline for assistance.

The specifics of Washington state lottery laws are detailed in the following chart, with links to related articles and resources.

Code Section 67.70.010, et seq.
Distribution of Lottery Revenue State lottery fund used for: payment of prizes and lottery administration; deposits to education construction and student achievement fund; distribution to county for payment of baseball stadium bonds (for no more than 20 years)
Additional Purpose of Lottery -
Lottery Prize Subject to Garnishment On prizes over $600, any debts to state agency or political subdivision may be setoff
Time Limit to Claim Prize/Disposition 180 days/retained in state lottery fund for further use as prizes
Prohibited Related Activities Sale to minors; sale at greater price; altered/forged tickets

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

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Washington State Lottery Laws: Related Resources

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