New York’s Official Lottery Policies

Throughout history, lotteries have served as everything from party games—Nero loved them—to divining God’s will (see the Bible). The modern lottery has taken many forms, but its basic elements remain the same. There must be some way of recording the identity of the bettors and the amounts they stake, and there must be a process for shuffling and selecting tickets to pay out winners. Today, most lotteries use computerized systems to record the bettors’ names and amounts. But in the early years of state-run lotteries, it was common for bettors to write their own ticket numbers and symbols or purchase numbered receipts that were deposited with the lottery organization for subsequent selection.

The villagers are gathered in the square on a sunny June day for the town lottery. A black box sits in the center of the circle, and Mr. Summers, the town elder, introduces the proceedings. Village children are the first to gather, followed by men and women. Some families stand together, holding hands or huddling close. Families from the surrounding villages cram into the square, eager to watch the drawing and see whether they won anything.

New York’s lottery could be the next to change its rules in order to allow winners to keep their identities private, if the state is able to find a way to do so without compromising public safety and security. The lottery’s chief, Joe Addabbo, says the change is possible if the state can find actors for its marketing campaigns and other ways to promote the game that don’t threaten public safety.

In the meantime, he hopes state legislators will pass a bill that would allow lottery winners to remain anonymous—something a few neighboring states do. The bill has broad support in both parties and is expected to be considered this year.

While some critics fear that allowing winners to remain anonymous will lead to a proliferation of fraudulent claims, Addabbo says the lottery has an established track record for protecting its players. He is confident that lawmakers will support the bill.

The Lottery also has a number of other policies in place to protect its players. These include:

The Lottery also requires all agents to notify the Lottery of any pending sale of a licensed location. This includes a change in ownership in corporations as well as changes of ownership in individual licensed locations. In addition, the Lottery must receive a completed Lottery Application for a new licensed location from the new owner before any ticket sales can resume. Moreover, the Lottery is not responsible for lost, stolen, misprinted or erroneously issued tickets. For these reasons, if you win the lottery, make sure to save your ticket and the official claim form. You will need this information when claiming your prize. Some states have income taxes, so you may need to deduct tax withholdings from your winnings check. Be sure to consult your accountant or other tax professional for specific information regarding your state’s laws.