In the October/November issue of Generations Magazine, I explained that it is better to make a logical and legal argument against someone being a winner of a lottery, as opposed to showing them they are a victim of a lottery scam.

The following facts prove that you have a zero percent chance of winning a lottery if you live in Hawai‘i.

There are no registered lotteries in Hawai’i. Businesses that operate in Hawai’i must register with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Business Registration Division. This allows the state to regulate businesses and ensure compliancy with local laws. The only states that don’t have state lotteries or don’t participate in multi-state lotteries are: Hawai’i, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.

Tax liability only occurs after the money is received. Once you receive a lottery payout, Uncle Sam wants a fair share, because prize winnings are considered income. The state and federal governments collect taxes after, not before, you receive your money (either earned or won).

In lottery-participating states, you must buy the ticket yourself and in person. Lotteries were created to generate revenue for states conducting the lotteries. These states receive a portion of the purchase price of the lottery ticket and place taxes on the prize money.

If you want to participate in the lottery, you must physically go to that state and buy a ticket yourself. It is illegal for businesses to buy tickets for non-residents. If tickets were bought online, there would be no control over who won the lottery. You cannot win the lottery if you didn’t enter the contest yourself.

It is illegal to play foreign lotteries while in the United States. Governments from every country (including the U.S.) want to regulate funds that enter and leave their economies. This includes lottery winnings. No government wants to lose millions to someone outside their country. Therefore, lotteries are specific to residents.

You have time to collect your money. Lottery-participating states allow ticketholders a set amount of time, typically one year, to receive winnings. For every day that a state holds the unclaimed lottery money, interest is collected on the money. States benefit when money isn’t claimed right away.

You are required to notify the lottery that you won. The lottery doesn’t notify you. Millions of dollars have not been claimed in lottery winnings because no one went to the lottery office in the participating state to present the winning ticket.

If you live in Hawai’i and are contacted by a lottery or sweepstakes, you now know the truth. And you also know how to break the news to a scam victim.

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