The Main Lottery Rules and Regulations by Country

There are hundreds of lottery games around the world that people love to play. But even though the lottery is fun and exciting they do have rules and regulations that you have to adhere to. Every country’s lottery will have different rules when it comes to choosing numbers and claiming your prize.

On the other hand, you might find that other lotteries have the same rules when it comes to age restrictions. To assist you, we’ve provided information on the main lottery rules and regulations by country. This way you’ll find out what to expect when playing your favorite lottery game.

Do All Lotteries Have the Same Rules and Regulations?

There are lotteries that are licensed by the same organizations so they may have the same rules and regulations. But there are other lotteries such as the games in the US and India where each state has different rules because they are governed by different jurisdictions.

To check the rules and regulations on the lottery game you’re playing you can simply read their terms and conditions. Online lottery sites such as WinTrillions or LottoAgent will provide the terms and conditions on all the lotteries they have on their websites. This is helpful if you’re playing various lotteries and want to know the rules for each game.

Types of Rules Set by Lotteries

Each lottery you play will have a specific set of rules that players must adhere to or you risk losing your winnings if you happen to earn a prize. In this section, we discuss the types of rules set by lotteries and why they’re important.

Age You Have to Be to Play

Some countries are strict when it comes to minors playing the lottery. In the past, people as young as 16 years old could buy tickets to the UK National Lottery. In fact, one of the youngest people to win a massive jackpot was Callie Rogers who won her fortune at the age of 16 years old. The UK National Lottery has now changed their lottery age to 18 years old. There are even some states in the US that have a lottery age restriction of 21 years.

Most lotteries have an age restriction of 18 years old. Anyone who who is below the requires age and wins a prize won’t be able to claim because of the age restriction rules. The reason for the rule is to prevent minors from winning large sums of money they may not be able to manage. 

Although there are adults who’ve handled their jackpot winnings poorly, minors are more likely to make bad decisions when they have lots of money to spend. When someone turns 18, they’re no longer considered a minor and can start making their own financial decisions.

How Many Numbers You Must Pick

Lotteries will have a specific number of balls that are drawn and a range of numbers. For example a 5/69 game will require you to choose five numbers between 1 and 69. You won’t be allowed to choose a number higher than 69 and you won’t be able to choose more than five numbers.

There are lotteries that have different rules on the numbers you must pick. For example, SuperEnalotto is a 6/90 game. This means you have to choose six numbers between 1 and 90. On the other hand, Eurojackpot requires you to choose five main numbers between 1 and 50 and an additional two numbers between 1 and 12. 

Whether you play these lotteries online or at a physical vendor you won’t be able to choose numbers higher or lower than the required amount.

How to Claim Your Lottery Prize

Another important rule to be aware of is how to claim your lottery prize. It’s important to learn this rule before playing the lottery you choose. This is because there are lotteries such as US Powerball that don’t allow you to claim your jackpot anonymously. You may also have to claim your prize in person, so if you live in a foreign country this may be a difficult task.

For most lottery games, you must fill out a claims form. This will provide the lottery agency with all the details and proof they need to analyse your claim.

You must also claim your lottery prize within a specific time period. Lottery organizations provide a grace period to claim your prize and if you don’t hand in your form before the grace period is up, the prize will be forfeited.

Some lotteries such as Mega Millions will provide a grace periods of up to 1 year depending on the state you reside in. On the other hand EuroMillions gives you a grace period between 60 and 180 days depending on the European country you live in. You can find the rules on grace periods in the lotteries terms and conditions.

Which Countries Are Restricted to Play

There are some lotteries such as the EuroJackpot that allow anyone to play their games regardless of where they stay. But there are lotteries that have strict rules on who can participate in winning their jackpots.

Some places that are restricted from participating in a lottery are due to the fact that the state or country prohibits lotteries as it’s considered gambling. This could be due to religious or ethical reasons. Countries such as Cuba, Qatar and Iran prohibit lottery playing of any kind.

It’s important to check if your country is prohibited to play a lottery game before you play because if you win you won’t be able to claim your prize.

Rules on Taxes

Most lotteries tax their winners. But the question is how much tax does the lottery take from your winnings. With the US Powerball, the IRS can take up to 37% of your jackpot winnings. On the other hand, the South African lottery has a tax free lottery so your prize money is solely your won.

When finding a lottery to play online, first check how much tax they take from your winnings. This will help you make an informed decision on whether it’s the right lottery to play. Although there are lotteries that tax winners you’ll still get paid out a large sum of money depending on the jackpot prize.

For example, according to Forbes, a winner of a $1.28 billion MegaMillions jackpot claimed $433.7 million after taxes. Although it’s not the full amount, the final claim is still a lot of money that will last a lifetime if the winner is smart with his or her finances.

Regulations on Debit or Credit Card Purchases

In the digital world, people prefer to pay for items using their card as opposed to cash. There are lotteries that allow you to buy lottery tickets with a debit or credit card. However, there are some US states that prohibit the use of debit or credit cards when buying lottery tickets because there’s a higher risk of fraud.

If you play the lottery online through site’s such as LottoSmile or TheLotter, you can buy lottery tickets with a debit or credit card. Lottery sites will usually have a list of payment methods you can choose when buying lottery tickets. So before you play your favorite lottery have a look at what payment methods they allow to see if it’s convenient for you.

Where Is Online Lottery Legal?

We mentioned that there are some countries that are prohibited from playing the lottery even if it’s through online vendors. Here is a list of countries where it’s legal to sell and purchase tickets provided the lottery is licensed:

  • Albania
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Channel Islands
  • Czech Republic
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Montenegro
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Spain
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom
  • Bermuda
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • US Virgin Islands
  • Australia
  • USA

Lottery Rules and Regulations by Country

Now that you know the type of rules you can expect from lottery agencies we’d like to provide the rules and regulations by country. This is because not all lottery rules are the same and you’ll need to know the regulations of your favorite lottery depending on where you reside.

Europe

Europe is a large continent that has popular lotteries such as:

The lottery that’s organized in each country in Europe will have a different set of rules and regulations. The European State Lotteries and Toto Association or European Lotteries (EL) is the umbrella organization that operate games of chance in more than 40 European countries. The EL members have strict WLA Security Standards to manage fraude in the lottery industry.

Furthermore, the EL provides the countries the right to regulate lotteries as they see fit. These countries may prohibit lottery games or adjust their regulations to protect consumers. In the table below you’ll see a quick overview of the rules and regulations for some of the popular lotteries in Europe.

EuroMillions
Required Age 18
Claim Grace Period 180 days
How to claim prizes Fill out a claims form for prizes over  £30,000
How prizes are paid Direct for prizes between £500 and £30,000 . Prizes of more than £30,000 will need a claims form
Rules on canceled draws Camelot will refund to You the amount You paid for Your Entry into that Cancelled Draw
Taxes None
Can non residents play? Yes
Eurojackpot
Required Age 16 years for Estonia and 18 years for Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden
Claim Grace Period Varies by country:

  • Croatia 60 days
  • Sazka 35 days
  • Denmark 90 days to 3 years
  • Estonia 90 days
  • Finland 1 year
  • Hungary 180 days
  • Iceland 1 year
  • Italy 60 days to 3 years
  • Latvia 30 days
How to claim prizes Fill out a claims form and speak to an authorized retail store
How prizes are paid Varies according to country. Lower prizes will be paid into your account automatically. Higher prized jackpots need to be claimed using a form.
Taxes Varies according to country:

  • Poland 10%
  • Croatia between 10% and 30%
  • Italy 20% on prizes higher than £500
  • Netherlands 29% on prizes higher than £499
  • Sweden 20% on tax on prizes worth more than €40,000
Can non-residents play? Yes
UK National Lottery
Required Age 18
Claim Grace Period 180 days
How to claim prizes Fill out a claims form for prizes over  £500 and visit a PO counter
How prizes are paid Prizes of £500 are paid without a form. Prizes of more than £30,000 will need a claims form
Taxes None
Can non-residents play? Yes
SuperEnalotto
Required Age 18
Claim Grace Period 90 days
How to claim prizes You will need to bring ID and your tax code. Visit a Dedicated Payment Centre or a Sisal Office.
How prizes are paid Prizes up to €1 million are paid within 30 days, prizes over €1 million are paid 91 days after the draw.
Taxes 20% on prizes exceeding €500
Can non residents play? Yes

Asia

Asia has many great lotteries for players to try such as:

The Asia Pacific Lottery Association (APLA) represents the state-regulated lottery in the Asia Pacific region. This organization regulates over 20 lottery agents in Asia. The company discusses lottery related issues and provides a forum to encourage professional exchange of experience and information. The rules and regulations for lotteries will differ depending on the country and the organizations that govern the lotteries in each area.

In this table, we’ve provided the standard rules for the top lotteries in Asia.

Mark Six
Required Age 18
Claim Grace Period 60 days
How to claim prizes Prizes can be claimed from HKJC racecourses or any off-course betting branch
How prizes are paid Paid by cash, cheque or cash voucher
Taxes None
Can non-residents play? Yes
Japan Loto 7
Required Age No age restriction
Claim Grace Period 1 year
How to claim prizes To claim first, second or third prizes you must visit a regional office or head quarters.
How prizes are paid Prizes less than 10,000 yen can be claimed at a lottery stand. Payments are done with in a day of claiming.
Taxes None
Can non residents play? Yes
Lotto India
Required Age 18
Claim Grace Period N/A
How to claim prizes You must present proof of identification and your ticket to claim prizes.
How prizes are paid Prizes are paid out in a single lump sum, and not as an annuity.
Taxes 30.9%
Can non residents play? Yes
Philippines Ultra Lotto 6/58
Required Age 18
Claim Grace Period 1 year
How to claim prizes Tickets must be signed and identification must be given as proof. And you must fill out a claims form.
How prizes are paid A check will be given for large prizes. Smaller prizes can be transferred directly into your bank account.
Taxes 20%
Can non residents play? Yes

United States of America

The lotteries in the United States can reach up to $1 billion. Here is a list of the most popular lotteries to play in the US:

Lotteries are operated independently in the US so there is no national lottery organization. Therefore, lotteries in the US are regulated by state or provincial governments. Each state will have their own rules and regulations on taxes, grace periods and how to claim prizes.

In the tables below we’ve provided the rules on some of the major lotteries in the US.

US Powerball
Required Age 18
Claim Grace Period 90 days to 1 year depending on the jurisdiction
How to claim prizes Prize up to $600 can be claimed at any licensed lottery retailer in the jurisdiction where you bought the ticket. For higher prizes you must fill out a claims form and visit a head office in your state.
How prizes are paid Paid out as annuity or lump sum. Smaller prizes canbe claimed at a local lottery vendor.
Taxes 37% but may vary depending on the amount and the state you reside in.
Can non residents play? Yes
Mega Millions
Required Age 18
Claim Grace Period 180 days
How to claim prizes For prizes of $600 you can claim from your state’s lottery office. For jackpot prizes fill out a claims form and hand it in to local head quarters.
How prizes are paid By cheque. Lump sum or annuity can be paid out.
Taxes 37%
Can non residents play? Yes
Cash4Life
Required Age 18
Claim Grace Period 1 year
How to claim prizes Must be claimed in the state where your ticket was purchased.
How prizes are paid Annuity or lump sum options. Prizes are paid in accordance with the CASH4LIFE Regional Game Agreement
Taxes Prizes between $600.01 and $5,000 will be taxed at 30%. Any prize above $5,000 is subject to a tax rate of 36%.
Can non residents play? Yes
Lotto America
Required Age 18
Claim Grace Period 180 days to 1 year depending on the state you live in.
How to claim prizes You must come forward with a valid winning ticket before the deadline. The method for claiming prizes depends on where you played and how much you won.
How prizes are paid Annuity or lump sum
Taxes Prizes over $5,000 are taxed at 25% for federal tax
Can non residents play? Yes

Africa

Africa is the second largest continent in the world so there are hundreds of lotteries in ares such as Namibia, South Africa, Kenya and Zambia. Each country may have their own organizations that regulate their lotteries. For example, the South African lottery is regulated by The National Lotteries Commission (NLC). On the other hand, Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) governs lotteries in Kenya.

This means that countries in Africa that have legal lotteries will have their own set of rules and regulations set by their respective organizations. To give you an idea, we’ve provided tables for the top lotteries in Africa.

South African Lottery
Required Age 18
Claim Grace Period 1 year
How to claim prizes For small prizes you can scan your ticket at a local lottery vendor. For jackpots, sign your ticket, fill out a claims form and provide proof of identification.
How prizes are paid Cash is paid for small prizes between of up to R2000. For larger prizes money will be paid into your bank account after 15 days
Taxes None
Can non residents play? Yes
Kenya 6/49
Required Age 18
Claim Grace Period 1 year
How to claim prizes You may need to fill out a claims form and provide proof of identity for large prizes
How prizes are paid Only offers a lump sum option
Taxes 20%
Can non residents play? No
Ghana Daywa Lottery
Required Age 18
Claim Grace Period N/A
How to claim prizes Prizes are automatically paid. But you must register on the website to play
How prizes are paid Money is sent directly to your mobile money account.
Taxes None
Can non-residents play? Yes

Oceania

Oceania includes countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Polynesia. Each country will have their own organizations that govern their lotteries. In Australia, The Department of Treasury and Finance regulates lotteries and ensures each lottery is licensed to sell lottery tickets.

The New Zealand Lottery Grants Board operates lotteries in New Zealand to ensure that games are licensed and safe for players to participate in. In the tables below, we’ve provided the rules for two of the most popular lotteries in Oceania.

Australian Powerball
Required Age 18
Claim Grace Period 6 months
How to claim prizes Small prizes can be claimed and a local retailer. For large prizes, you must fill out a claims form and visit a head office.
How prizes are paid Prize payment should be processed and paid within 10 working days of receipt of your Prize Claim Form.
Taxes None
Can non residents play? Yes
Lotto NZ
Required Age 18
Claim Grace Period 1 year
How to claim prizes Claim small prizes from your local retailer. Fill out a claims form for larger prizes and visit a head office.
How prizes are paid Small prizes are paid in cash at a vendor. Larger prizes will be paid directly into your account after processing the claims form.
Taxes None
Can non residents play? Yes

The Differences Between the European and US Lottery Rules

The largest lottery games come from Europe and the US. However, there are distinct differences between he two continents when it comes to how lotteries are developed and regulated. In this section, we explain those differences in detail.

United States Lottery

There are no official national lotteries in the US but there are state lotteries that can be played in most jurisdictions. On the other hand, MegaMillions and US Powerball serve as de facto national lotteries. The state lotteries in the US are organized in 48 jurisdictions. However, there are states that don’t have lotteries such as:

  • Nevada
  • Mississippi
  • Alabama
  • Utah
  • Hawaii
  • Alaska

Every state in the US will offer different options but most rules and regulations are the same. The age to play the lottery in most states is 18 years and older. But there are some areas that have a lottery age restriction of 21 years.

You don’t need to be a local in a state to play the lottery and win prizes. In some US states, lottery winners aren’t allowed to stay anonymous and you will be taxed based on the amount of money you win.

Lastly, there are some states that allow players to buy lottery tickets with a debit or credit card and there are others they prohibit it. You can also choose a lump sum or annuity payment.

European Lottery

The biggest game in Europe is Euromillions because it’s available for players living in:

  • Switzerland
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
  • Portugal
  • Monaco
  • Luxemburg
  • Ireland
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Austria
  • Andorra

These countries may have different rules on age restrictions but most allow players who are 18 years and older to play. All prizes are tax free except in Spain, Switzerland and Portugal.

You are allowed to claim prizes anonymously in Europe, but they only offer lump sum payments and no annuity options. Claims and payment methods may differ depending on which country you live in. Anyone can play lotteries in Europe through sites such as WinTrillions and LottoAgent. 

What Happens if You Don’t Follow the Rules of the Lottery

If you don’t follow the rules when playing the lottery you could lose your winnings. You must claim your prize within the claims period and you must provide proper proof that you are the sole owner of the ticket. Lost or damaged tickets can be difficult to claim for but lottery organizations are willing to assist you provided you come forwarded before the grace period ends.

Rules are absolute but there are some that you can work around. For example, if you are required to reveal your identity when claiming your jackpot you can claim your prize through a trust. Essentially, lottery rules are put in place to:

  • Protect the player
  • Provide details on how the game is played
  • Inform those who are prohibited to play in their country
  • Give information on how long players have to claim prizes
  • To give players and idea of how much they’ll get after taxes
  • Provide information on how to claim prizes

Always read the rules and regulations online for the lottery you’re playing and ensure you follow the steps accordingly so you don’t risk losing your prize money.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the rules and regulations in each country are different and are subjected to change when new regulations are introduced. For example, the age to play the lottery in the UK was changes from 16 years to 18 years.

Lottery rules are developed and changed by the organizations that govern lotteries in each jurisdiction. So every time you play, read through the rules of the game to ensure you don’t miss any changes. If you’re playing through a lottery site such as LottoLand you can read the terms and conditions for every game on their website. Use this guide to assist you before you buy tickets to your favorite lottery game!

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