ohio lottery laws

Ohio State Lotteries Laws

Created byВ FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors | Last updated June 20, 2016

States use official lotteries to raise revenue for schools and other shared public resources. These are primarily games of chance, which don’t require any specific skills or knowledge, such as scratch-off tickets and games where numbers are drawn at random. Ohio state lottery laws were enacted in 1973, after a voter-approved constitutional amendment created the Ohio Lottery Commission.

The first lottery tickets went on sale that next year. Ohio joined the popular, multi-state Mega Millions lottery game in 2002. In 2005, the Ohio Lottery began administering and monitoring the licensing of bingo games for charitable causes.

As with many other states that run an official lottery, Ohio uses the proceeds from its lottery primarily to fund public education (lawmakers earmarked lottery profits for education in 1983). Now, roughly 4 percent of Ohio’s education funding comes from the state lottery, according to the Ohio Lottery Commission’s website.

Lottery winners have up to 180 days in which to claim prizes, including both drawings and scratch-off tickets. Prizes of up to $599 may be cashed out at any Ohio Lottery retail location, while winners will be given a “Pay to Bearer” ticket for prizes of between $600 and $5,000. You will need to show a valid photo ID with current address and Social Security number (or a separate SSA card) when claiming prizes.

While the lottery is fairly straightforward, each state has its own rules and regulations. The highlights of Ohio state lottery laws are listed below, with links to related resources.

Code Section 3770.01, et seq.
Distribution of Lottery Revenue 50% prize payment less operation expenses; then at least 30% Lottery Profits Education Fund
Additional Purpose of Lottery Lottery Profits Education Fund used to support elementary, secondary, vocational, and special education programs in appropriations made by the general assembly
Lottery Prize Subject to Garnishment On prizes over $600, for default of support payment under support order
Time Limit to Claim Prize/Disposition 180 days/returned to state lottery fund in unclaimed lottery prizes fund
Prohibited Related Activities Sale at greater price; unauthorized sale; sale to minor; influence lottery sales agent; on Ohio fairgrounds at annual exhibition

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

Research the Law:

  • Official State Codes – Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.

Related Resources for State Lotteries Laws:

Chart providing details of Ohio State Lotteries Laws


I recently had the good fortune to represent a million dollar lottery winner.

The winner chose to remain anonymous so I had to do some investigative work with the Ohio Lottery Commission to make that happen. Once the winner confirmed the winning numbers the ticket was signed, and dated by the winner on the back of the ticket, and stored for safe keeping. The procedure from there was a little cumbersome. I needed to create two separate trusts. One trust was to appoint me, as the trustee on behalf of the winner, to contact the Lottery Commission and accept the Lottery winnings. The secondary trust was set up for me as trustee of the first trust, to transfer the proceeds to the second trust with the winner as the beneficiary. This enabled me to present the ticket, accept the proceeds, and transfer it to the winner with no public record or disclosure.

In addition to coordinating these trusts with the Lottery Commission, we also needed to prepare confidential disclosures of the winner and relevant tax information. The Lottery Commission never lets the money out the door without the appropriate tax information. In addition to tax information, a search is done by the Lottery Commission to determine if the winner is delinquent in any child or spousal support proceedings.

Once all that was completed I was required to personally present all the paperwork, and the winning ticket, to the Lottery Commission office in Cleveland. To preserve the anonymity, my winner did not go to Cleveland with me. In order to gain access to the Lottery Commission personal identification needs to be shown, you need to sign the register, and all transactions are video recorded – the exact opposite of anonymous.

Once in the office I presented them with the paperwork and the winning ticket. The next cloak and dagger event came into play because the winner had signed the ticket. When I presented the ticket they first verified the authenticity of the ticket. Then I was handed a bottle of white out. I was instructed to completely white out the winner’s signature. I then was required to endorse the ticket with my signature as Trustee. Lastly, I then had to execute an affidavit that I was the one who actually blotted out the signature with white out. Finally I was done and could leave – only without the money.

After all that secrecy and cloak and dagger stuff I was told the check would be mailed in about two weeks. I asked if it would be sent FedEx, USPS Express Mail or other some other trackable method. To my surprise the answer was “No, we just send it regular US mail.” All that complicated procedure, secrecy, and in person meeting requiring 450 miles round trip drive – seemed sort of anticlimactic.

Regardless, it was a different experience in my law career and I hope to do it again someday. You learn something new every day.

I recently had the good fortune to represent a million dollar lottery winner. The winner chose to remain anonymous so I had …