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Maryland State Lotteries Laws

Who hasn’t dreamed about one little ticket taking us out of financial stress and putting us onto easy street? Just a dollar or two for the chance at an early retirement? It seems so simple. But where do those dollars go? And how does the Old Line State regulate the games and guarantee payouts? This is a brief summary of lotteries laws in Maryland.

Lotteries Laws

In the states that run lotteries, their lottery laws will determine everything from the time limits for claiming prizes and where, how, and to whom tickets can be sold, to how revenues will be distributed. A majority of states allocate their lottery income to the state’s general fund, where it can then be earmarked for specific projects. The same is true for Maryland, where lottery revenue is the fourth-largest contributor to the economy.

Lotteries Laws in Maryland

The Maryland lottery law was created by a constitutional amendment in 1972. Games include mutli-state lotteries like Mega Millions and Powerball, as well as in-state games Keno, Racetrax, Bonus Match 5, and various video lottery terminals. Total ticket sales in 2012-2013 generated $1.756 billion, $545.2 million of which went into the state’s general fund while $1.036 billion went back out in prize money.

Almost half of the general fund contribution ($284.3 million) went to the Maryland Education Trust Fund, while other allocations went to local impact grants ($30.7 million) and small, minority, and women-owned businesses ($8.3 million). Since the lottery’s inception in 1973, it has generated approximately $13.9 billion in state revenue.

Code Section

State Gov't. §9-101, et seq.

Distribution of Lottery Revenue

Pro rata basis for prizes and administrative expenses; for sports lotteries, proceeds go to Maryland Stadium Authority; for other lotteries, into General Fund of the state

Additional Purpose of Lottery


Lottery Prize Subject to Garnishment

Under appropriate court order, prize may be paid to person other than winner; any child support arrearage over $150; or any unpaid state or municipal tax

Time Limit to Claim Prize/Disposition

182 days/added to unclaimed prize fund or nondaily/weekly lottery drawing

Prohibited Related Activities

Sale to minor; forged/altered tickets; unauthorized sale

Related Resources for State Lotteries Laws:

The regulations regarding how state lotteries are run and where the revenue is allocated can be confusing. If you would like legal assistance regarding a lottery matter, you can contact a Maryland gaming law attorney. You can also visit FindLaw’s Gaming Law section for more articles and resources on this topic.

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