Can a US citizen play international or foreign lotteries?

US Lotteries

This question has been asked quite a number of times from US residents. Many people have given different views on this subject. But the true answer is NO you cannot play international or foreign lotteries and even if you did you won’t be able to get back your winning amount. According to the US Postal Service simply says  “Don’t Do It!”

While there is no law that says Americans cannot play a foreign lottery, there are laws saying that prohibits us from buying a ticket, share, or a chance of winning a by mail, telephone or online which makes it illegal to play international lotteries.

If you are wondering why law prohibits US residents from playing foreign lotteries then the foremost reason is that US laws wants us to be safe and protected from getting scammed.

Here are the reasons not to play foreign lotteries

You will receive a call or mail that you have won a lottery

Recently there was a news that a US woman named Tracy Salter who never even played the lotto received a call that she has won a foreign lottery worth of $4.5 million lottery prize. The FBI calls it one of the most prevalent forms of mass marketing fraud and advises never respond to notifications that you won a foreign lottery if you live in the U.S.

When she opened an award letter claiming to be from an international lottery headquartered in Madrid, Spain, the red flags went up immediately. “Oh yeah, I knew it wasn’t real,” said Salter. “I believe it’s getting a person to give up their bank account information.” Salter fears some people will take the bait. She has good reason for concern.

Between 2015 and 2017 a Better Business Bureau investigation reveals more than 500,000 people reported lottery and sweepstakes fraud. People lost more than $344 million.

Consumer watchdogs say for all the people like Salter, who know not to respond, there are others who will – which is why the phony lottery deception continues. Scammers cast a wide net, knowing all they need to do is catch a small percentage, in order to cash in. If they take money out of your account, you’ll never get it back. If you send money to win your prize, you’ll never get that back and you’ll never get a payment.

Why US players should not play foreign lotteries

Foreign lotteries are illegal

The Federal Trade Commission warns if you play a foreign lottery through mail or by phone you’re violating federal law and  U.S. postal inspectors stress that most if not all foreign lottery come-ons sent through the mail are bogus.

Also remember that when you win a legitimate lottery, sweepstakes or drawing of any kind, you never have to pay to collect your prize. Requesting money for fees, taxes or any other purpose is a strong reason to walk away.

Most of the foreign lotteries do not exist at all but are fraud

Many of the foreign lottery sites are fraud and the lottos mentioned on it never exist at all. The dishonest crooks like the Nigerian Prince a.k.a. Albert Onolunose from Canada who used the telemarketing tactics and the postal system to scam $3 million from people in the US. According to the US Postal Inspection Service, it is said to be impractical because we cannot be sure we are getting the ticket that we paid for. Not only that, but it is an invitation to have your identities stolen.

Foreign lotteries

What happens if you still play international or foreign lottery from US?

If as a US citizen if you still opt to play international or foreign lottery then remember that it is illegal and as a first-time offender you might be convicted of knowingly violating the postal anti-lottery law and would face penalties of up to a $1,000 fine and two years in prison or even more.

The law prohibits you from purchasing a ticket, share or chance of winning the lottery by mail/telephone or online for security reasons. The US Postal Inspection Service goes on to state that it is impractical in terms of there not being any tangible guarantee that the dealings made via mail/internet correspondence are legitimate . Unlike playing in your state’s lottery, you could not be certain that you would obtain the play  you paid for.

What if you are travelling to foreign land and wish to play lotto?

As the US law bans you from playing foreign or international lottery online or via mail or phone but no law can stop you from purchasing lottery ticket if you are visiting overseas. But in case you win you need to remind yourself that your winning cash prize will be subject to double taxation which means you will be taxed with the IRS in US as well as with the country where you played and won the lottery.

Powerball lotteries

The best remedy to be in safe side when playing lottery

To be safe and secure as well  as play lottery in US within the legal framework is to play your own home lotteries like the Mega Million, Powerball and various other state lotteries. There are several other lotteries available in USA  that offer major jackpot prizes and give you chances to win big.

There are also state lotteries which offer sizable payoffs, with many states such as New York, Georgia and Texas as all reporting largest jackpots being in excess of $300 million. Such home lotteries offer such huge prizes then why to go for international lotteries and be a scam victim and ruin your reputation as well as lose your money.

Finally the choice is yours to select which lottery you wish to play.

If you are but a foreigner living in USA and want to know how to play lotteries in US then click here.