In many families, holiday gifts and stocking stuffers for children and teens can include scratch tickets or lottery tickets. If a ticket is a winner, can minors legally claim the winnings in Texas?
Minors cannot purchase lottery tickets in Texas
Players must be 18 years old to purchase lottery tickets from a licensed retailer in Texas. Players can also purchase tickets online from Jackpocket, but, again, they must be 18. Any lottery ticket purchased by someone under 18 is deemed void.
Can minors in Texas receive a lottery ticket from an adult? The answer is yes. Minors can legally possess Texas lottery tickets. Can minors claim winnings from lottery tickets? Once again, the answer is yes … with stipulations.
Minors can claim winnings through an adult
If a minor is gifted a lottery ticket that wins, the process for claiming those winnings depends on how much they won. If it’s less than $600, than the winnings can be paid out to an adult family member or also a guardian. For winnings that exceed $600, Texas law requires the money be deposited into a bank account or other financial institution of the minor’s family member or guardian.
A minor’s family member can include an adult parent, stepparent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt, whether of whole blood or half blood or by adoption. Also, the minor does not lose claim to the money at any time. It is up to the guardian or family member to act as a fiduciary of the money and act in the best interests of the minor.
If the winnings are items other than money, like a house or vehicle, the cash equivalent of the prize must go to the minor.
Texas Lottery discourages giving lottery tickets to minors
While it seems harmless, allowing minors to gamble can create a path toward irresponsible gambling. This is why the Texas Lottery has been an active proponent of the Gift Responsibly campaign. The campaign educates adults about the problems of gifting children lottery tickets, said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling.
“Youth problem gambling has emerged as a significant and growing public health issue. We applaud the Texas Lottery’s commitment to raising awareness about risks of youth gambling through the Gift Responsibly campaign. Our message is a simple one: Lottery tickets are never appropriate gifts for children.”
So, while minors have a legal standing to claim winnings from lottery tickets, adults should refrain from giving them tickets.
It’s important to remember that each state has its own laws and practices concerning minors and lottery tickets.