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How Do I?
Common questions about the Lottery are answered below. We hope that your question will be answered by one of the responses listed below.
If it isn't, please feel free to contact us at the Maine State Lottery office 1(800) 452-8777.
- Where does the money go ?
The proceeds from the sale of lottery tickets go to the programs and services supported by Maine’s General Fund. These programs and services support the citizens of Maine.
- What happens if a Megabucks Plus or Powerball winner dies before collecting all the annual payments due ?
The remaining annual payments will be made to the estate of the deceased.
- Will there be any taxes withheld from my winnings ?
The Maine State Lottery will withhold Federal and State taxes at 25% and 5% respectively on prizes over $5000. It is important to understand that the taxes withheld, if any, may not cover your entire Federal or State tax obligations. The final tax amount owed will depend on your personal tax situation. As the Maine State Lottery or its employees cannot provide you with financial advice, we suggest you consult with a tax professional. Additionally, IRS Form W-2G will be mailed to you in January for any prizes claimed in the amount of $600 and over.
- Can I deduct gambling losses?
You must report the full amount of your gambling winnings for the year on IRS Form 1040 in order to deduct gambling losses. You deduct your gambling losses for the year on Schedule A (Form 1040). You cannot deduct gambling losses that are more than your winnings. The Maine State Lottery does not collect non-winning tickets and does not send you a tax form for gambling losses. You may need to keep your non-winning tickets with your tax records in the event you need to prove your losses. For more information on gambling winning/losses and your Federal taxes, please consult a tax professional or visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov.
- If a person is retired, receives government payments (social security for example), how will lottery winnings affect them?
The affect of lottery winnings will depend on your personal tax situation. As the Maine State Lottery or its employees cannot provide you with financial advice, you should consult a tax professional.
- What is the Maine State Lottery’s Federal and State ID number?
The Maine State Lottery’s Federal ID number is 01-0495137 and the State ID number is 01-049513700.
- What happens if I lose a winning ticket ?
The Maine State Lottery is not responsible for lost or stolen tickets. To protect yourself and your winnings, we strongly encourage you to sign the back of your ticket. Lottery tickets are bearer instruments; therefore, without a name and address on the back of the ticket, anyone in possession of the ticket can file a claim.
- Can I buy tickets in advance ?
Powerball, Megabucks Plus, Hot Lotto and Mega Millions tickets may be purchased for up to 20 consecutive drawings. Pick 3 and Pick 4 tickets may be purchased for up to 21 consecutive days.
- How can I buy tickets for more than 20 draws ?
For Megabucks Plus or Powerball, you can purchase a subscription for 26 draws, 52 draws or 104 draws. However, by administrative rule and federal law, you must have a mailing address in the State of Maine in order to purchase a subscription.
- How long do I have to claim my winning ticket?
For Powerball, Megabucks Plus, Hot Lotto, Mega Millions, Pick 3 and Pick 4 games, players have up to one (1) year from the drawing date to claim a prize. For instant ticket games, the last date to claim varies by each game, but is always one year from the date the ticket is removed from the selling inventory of the Maine State Lottery.
- If I win Megabucks Plus, do I have to wait before I receive my winnings?
You can claim your winnings at any time within one (1) year of the draw date; however, there is a mandatory five (5) business day waiting period before you will receive your check.
- If I win a Megabucks Plus, Powerball, Hot Lotto or Mega Millions jackpot, what are my choices to claim the grand prize?
There are two options available for prize payment. You may choose the “Cash Option” which allows you to receive one lump sum payment or you may choose the “Annuity Option” and receive annual payments. The Maine State Lottery encourages winners to seek professional financial advice before making a decision.
- I got an email or telephone call saying that I won the lottery. Is this legitimate?
NO. It is a common scam. You never have to send money to collect a legitimate lottery prize. You should never reply to emails with this subject. If you receive a telephone call from someone claiming to be from the Maine State Lottery, do not call the number they give you, rather, call the Maine State Lottery.
You should never send money to anyone with respect to an email or telephone call. You should never give your bank account number or your mother's maiden name to anyone. You may even be sent a check to cover the costs and then be asked to wire back some money. The check will bounce, but sometimes not for months. It is best not to respond or you can be put on a list to receive other scams. Progress is being made in catching these crooks, but there are many crooks still out there. For more information on lottery scams, just go to news.google.com and search on "lottery scam" for the current day's scam victims.
Here are some links to sites that have common lottery scams - your exact situation may not be there, but it is still a scam; the scammers keep changing things a bit to keep the authorities at bay and guessing: www.snopes.com/crime/fraud/lottery.asp, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lottery_scam. For a list of common internet scams, visit the Powerball's website at www.powerball.com/Common-Scams.asp
The United State's Federal Trade Commission has information on foreign lottery scams on its website at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt022.shtm. You can also file a complaint if you have been targeted by one of these scams. You can file this complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The IC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center, and the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Visit the IC3 website at www.ic3.gov/ for more information and to file a complaint.
- Can I play the Maine State Lottery on the internet?
The Maine State Lottery does not currently offer internet based lottery games. There is much debate over whether the Wire Communications Act of 1961 prohibits all internet based gaming or just sports betting. The U.S. Department of Justice has interpreted it to prohibit all types of internet gaming, including lottery games administered by state governments. There is much debate over internet based gaming including rulings from the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. To date, the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on this matter for a final resolution.
In 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was enacted, prohibiting the use of payment systems for Americans seeking to gamble on-line where such gambling is unlawful under any Federal or state law. Under UIGEA, unlawful internet gambling does NOT include a bet initiated or received or otherwise made exclusively within a single state where the bet is authorized by state law, and age and location verification requirements are in place to block minors and out-of-staters from betting.
State lotteries contend and are prepared to expand their games to the internet based on their understanding that a lottery bet placed via the internet in accordance with the above UIGEA exception to unlawful internet gambling is lawful.
- Can non-U.S. residents play the lottery?
Yes, however, U.S. federal law prohibits transporting lottery ticket across the U.S. border. A non-U.S. resident is permitted to play the lottery while traveling through or spending time in Maine. A non-U.S. resident who wins a prize of $600 and over is subject to 30% federal tax and 5% state tax withholding. In January of each year, the Maine State Lottery will issue to a winner of this prize level Internal Revenue Service form 1042-S, Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income, detailing prize payment and taxes withheld.