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Pennsylvania State Lotteries Laws

Official state lotteries are games of chance, such as scratch-off tickets and number drawings, that offer contestants relatively long odds of winning cash or other prizes. States typically use the revenue from lottery ticket purchases to pay for educational needs or other shared resources. States that allow for an official lottery have regulations dictating how such games are operated, how prizes are claimed, and prohibited activities (such as selling fake lottery tickets).

The Pennsylvania state lottery was established by the state's General Assembly in 1971 selling its first tickets the following year), and joined the multi-state Mega Millions game in 2010. The lottery is required to use at least 27 percent of its proceeds toward funding certain public programs, with at least 40 percent earmarked for prizes.

While most state lotteries fund education, Pennsylvania state lottery laws require lottery revenue to be used for social programs that benefit senior citizens and other traditionally underserved populations, such as:

  • Hot meals and other local services offered through senior centers
  • Low-cost prescription medications for older adults (PACE, PACENET, and PACE Plus Medicare programs)
  • Free and subsidized public transportation for older adults (65 and older)
  • Property tax and rent rebates for senior citizens and people with disabilities (18 and over)
  • Long-term living services for older adults and those with physical disabilities

While the lottery is pretty straightforward, it can get confusing for those lucky enough to win the big jackpot. The following table highlights general information about Pennsylvania state lottery laws, with links to related resources.

Code Section Tit. 72 §§3761-101, et seq.
Distribution of Lottery Revenue 40% to pay prizes; after expenses, rest pursuant to "Senior Citizens Property Tax or Rent Rebate and Older Persons Inflation Needs Act"
Additional Purpose of Lottery For purpose of providing property tax relief to the elderly and to provide free or reduced fare transit service for the elderly; also to curb illegal gambling operations in Pennsylvania
Lottery Prize Subject to Garnishment Yes
Time Limit to Claim Prize/Disposition 1 year/paid to state lottery fund for statutorily prescribed purposes
Prohibited Related Activities Sales in excess of fixed price; unauthorized sales; sales to minors

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

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Pennsylvania State Lottery Laws: Related Resources

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