California Lottery Won’t Pay Out on Courier-Bought Tickets

Posted on: June 21, 2024, 10:07h. 

Last updated on: June 21, 2024, 10:13h.

Buy a ticket for the California Lottery from an online lottery courier and your prize will be voided. Even if you hit it big, you could end up with nada, Lottery officials said this week.

California lottery, lottery couriers, Edwin Castro
Edwin Castro, above, became California’s biggest lottery winner when he claimed the $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot last year and has been splurging on luxury property. But had he bought his ticket from an online courier, it might have been a different story. (Image: Boss Hunting)

Meanwhile, the Lottery has written to its 23K ticket retailers warning them that selling tickets to lottery couriers could result in the termination of their contracts.

Lottery courier services are third-party companies that sell tickets online through mobile apps. They fulfill orders from customers by purchasing tickets in bulk from licensed retailers. The courier service handles the process of collecting and distributing winnings to their customers.

Legal in New York and New Jersey

Couriers operate, but are unregulated, in many states. Currently only two states, New York and New Jersey, license and regulate couriers, such as, The Lotter, and JackPocket. These companies are required to comply with a framework of regulation that includes things like age verification and responsible gambling measures.

While some states tolerate couriers, California does not, and has been one of the most vocal in denouncing them. In a statement this week, Lottery spokesperson Carolyn Becker emphasized that such services were illegal in the state.

“…[W]e are thankful for the support of our retail partners in helping our customers play safely, rather than exchanging money with a third-party, unregulated business. Any California Lottery player who buys their games through an online courier is not eligible to win,” she added.

The Lottery said it is prohibited by law from knowingly paying a prize on any ticket acquired online.

DoorDash for Lottery Tickets

Couriers who operate in California deny what they’re doing is against the law. They are simply buying tickets from licensed retailers on other people’s behalf, as you might do for a friend or family member, they argue.

In May last year, one courier, Mido Lotto, told NBC 4 Los Angeles that it “does not sell Lottery tickets, much like DoorDash and UberEats do not sell food.”

There is no legal prohibition on our services, but at the same time, the [California] Lottery has no express authorization to offer these services and are therefore unable to authorize or endorse what we do, and we have no formal affiliation with them,” Mido Lotto added. “We absolutely welcome the adoption of greater oversight to give the Lottery increased visibility into our operations and greater assurance to our customers…”

Becker told NBC that the Lottery had never had to invalidate a jackpot claim on a ticket that had been purchased by a courier, but she added that this was something that could happen in the future.

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