Whether or not a lottery is legal depends on individual state laws; there is no national lottery. Approximately 37 states have a state lottery that people can enter for a chance to win cash prizes. However, lotteries that are not run by the state are generally illegal.
In addition to state laws, there are federal laws that help to regulate lotteries. The primary thing these laws control is the transfer of lottery materials between states.
- The federal lottery statutes made it illegal to transport lottery materials across state lines, or ship them to other countries
- The Interstate Wagering Amendment of 1994 made it illegal to procure a ticket for someone in a different state than that in which the lottery was held
You may be able to get a friend to purchase a lottery ticket in another state for you without violating lottery laws. The Interstate Wagering Amendment makes it illegal to purchase a ticket for some out of state person for a fee. So, if your friend doesn¿t charge you for the ticket, he may be able to purchase one for you.
Forms of online gambling are very controversial these days. It is uncertain how online gambling fits into the state and federal statutes that regulate gambling. Buying a lottery ticket for another state online may or may not be legal. Technically, a company that sells lottery tickets online is not violating the original federal lottery statute because no tickets are physically shipped across state lines. However, it may violate the Interstate Wagering Amendment because tickets are purchased for a person outside of the state. The legality of online lotteries remains uncertain at this time.
If you violate a federal lottery statute, you may be subject to some stiff penalties. You may receive fines, or up to two years in jail, or both.
If you have questions about the laws regulating lotteries, or if you are facing charges for violating those laws, you may want to consult a business lawyer with experience in gaming law. An experienced gaming law lawyer will be able to answer any questions you have and make sure you understand your rights.