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Virginia State Lotteries Laws

State lotteries are used to raise revenue for state coffers, often for education funding. In general, lotteries are games of chance with mostly cash prizes, which are heavily regulated.

What Is The Law Surrounding The Virginia State Lottery?

The Commonwealth of Virginia has the distinction of being the first state-run lottery in the U.S. in 1612. It went on to fund Virginia's College of William and Mary and University of Virginia, churches, and libraries.

However, in 1849 the Virginia Legislature banned all forms of gambling, including the lottery. Voters changed that in 1987 and brought back the government-run lottery.

Where Do The Lottery Funds Go?

The Virginia state lottery laws earmark revenues specifically for public education; with a mandate that administration and operating costs do not exceed 10 percent of total revenue.

By law, all unclaimed Virginia Lottery prizes go to the Literary Fund. The Literary Fund is used solely for educational purposes, such as school construction, renovation, and teacher retirement funding.

Since 1988, the Lottery has transferred more than $222.6 million in unclaimed prizes to the Literary Fund.

Lottery Winnings And Child Support

If you win the lottery and haven't paid your child support, the support collection unit can intercept Lottery prizes in excess of $600 and apply it to the repayment of the past due support/arrears.

Gambling Addiction

Virginia law requires that each ticket include a telephone number for a counseling service that addresses compulsive gambling. That number links to the Virginia Problem Gambling Helpline.

The basics of Virginia state lottery laws are detailed in the following table, with links to related articles.

Code Section 58.1-4000, et seq.
Distribution of Lottery Revenue Operating costs and administration not to exceed 10% (with special reserve fund); rest to general fund solely for purpose of public education
Additional Purpose of Lottery -
Lottery Prize Subject to Garnishment Unpaid child support obligations and payment of public assistance owed by individual
Time Limit to Claim Prize/Disposition 180 days/paid into Literary Fund (prizes of less than $25 go into state lottery fund)
Prohibited Related Activities Sale over fixed price; sales to minors; altered/forged tickets

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

Research the Law

Virginia State Lottery Laws: Related Resources

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