Illegal lottery scams are ever present. To protect yourself from becoming a victim:
Never give your credit card numbers, bank account numbers or social security numbers over the phone or over the Internet to a business promising lottery jackpots.
Never accept a collect phone call from someone claiming to be a lottery official. Legitimate lotteries do not call collect.
Never believe a letter, phone call or Internet message from someone who offers you a guarantee of winning a prize or a secret system for winning a prize. Legitimate lotteries do not guarantee that you will win a prize. Legitimate lotteries also do not require people to join a prize pool in order to play or win.
Never trust someone who says you can win the lottery by purchasing a set of "winning numbers" instead of a ticket. Legitimate lotteries require you to buy a ticket for a chance to win a prize.
Never play a foreign lottery by phone, mail or Internet. It is against the law and increases your risk of falling victim to a scam.
Never pay processing fees, insurance or commissions to claim a lottery prize. Legitimate lotteries do not require winners to pay anything upfront to receive their prize.
Signing the back of your Lottery tickets discourages theft and helps identify the owner of the ticket. The Louisiana Lottery strongly encourages players to sign the back of their tickets as soon as possible after purchasing them and before claiming a prize at a retail location. Even if you are unsure whether the ticket has won a prize, it is still important to sign the back of it for security purposes prior to having the ticket scanned or validated at a retail location. Any alteration to a signature on the back of a winning ticket worth more than $600 prompts a security investigation.
The Louisiana Lottery advises players to learn about how a game is played, the various winning combinations for the game and the odds of winning prior to playing. This website contains instructions, prize charts and odds of winning for all the games the Lottery offers.
For instructions on playing scratch-off games, visit this page "How to Play Scratch-Offs" and click on the game you are interested in playing.
If you believe you have won a prize of $600 or less you can redeem that at participating Lottery retailers. When presenting a ticket at a Lottery retailer, a discreet screen called the Customer Display Unit will indicate whether the ticket is a winner and if so, its value. You may also request a printed Validation Receipt containing this information.
If you are told your ticket isn't a winner, you may request the return of the ticket. For accounting purposes, winning tickets are retained by the retailer or Lottery office that paid the prize. To report a problem or a concern with cashing a winning ticket at a retail location, please e-mail us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lottery players are encouraged to double check their tickets prior to leaving the store for any discrepancies or inaccuracies. Players are NOT required to purchase a misprinted ticket they do not want, provided they alert the retailer prior to leaving the store. Refunds cannot be issued for scratch-off tickets that have already been scratched or for draw-style game tickets in which the drawing has already occurred. To report a problem or a concern with purchasing a Lottery ticket, please e-mail us at email@example.com.
If you win more than $600 and are therefore required to claim your prize at a Lottery office, you will be required to complete a claim form for tax purposes. Under the Lottery's statue, all prize payment records are open records, meaning that the public has a right to request the information. Depending upon the amount won and public or media interest in the win, winners may NOT be able to remain anonymous. The statute also allows the Lottery to use winners' names and city of residence for publicity purposes such as news releases. The Lottery's regular practice is not to use winner information in paid advertising or product promotion without the winner's willingness to participate.
1. The Lottery Draw Show. Television stations across Louisiana broadcast winning numbers nightly beginning at 9:59 p.m. For a complete list of stations, click here. 2. Your Lottery Retailer. A winning numbers report for the most immediate and recent drawings can be obtained from your Lottery retailer. 3. The Lottery's Website. You can check winning numbers often as soon as 30 minutes following the drawing, but sometimes as late as midnight, depending on the number of drawings that occur that evening. Winning information goes through an extensive verification process before being posted to the website. Winning information for all drawings that have taken place in the past is also available here. 4. Winning Numbers Hotline: 1-800-735-5825.
The simplest way for players to protect their interests is to sign the back of the ticket at the time of purchase. Anytime the Lottery is presented with a ticket that appears to be altered in any way, we conduct an immediate investigation prior to paying the claim. In fact in 2004, we were successful in locating the owner of a $100,000 winning ticket which was stolen by a retailer, who was convicted of the crime. In that case, the player had signed the back of the ticket, but his signature was scratched through by the parties attempting to claim it. This triggered an internal investigation which led us to the player and payment of his prize.
By far, most of the cases we investigate involve theft of lottery tickets, where our retailers are the victim. We investigate about a half dozen player complaints a year, the majority of which are unfounded, such as when a player was mistaken about the amount of his winnings or believed he won when he did not. In every case, however, we take our players' concerns seriously and follow through to resolution. We encourage players to contact us immediately if ever they have a concern about cashing a winning ticket at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1-800-735-5825.
Lottery tickets are "bearer" instruments, which means that we are obligated to pay the holder of a winning ticket presented for payment. We pay hundreds of prizes every month. It would not be feasible nor appropriate to investigate every winner who claims a Lottery prize. In addition, identification is required only when claiming prizes over $600 at a Lottery office.
State law specifically prohibits the Lottery from paying a prize more than once. After a winning ticket is claimed, a complainant's only recourse is to pursue the individual believed to have stolen a ticket in a court of law.