Federal law makes it a crime to mail letters or circulars containing lottery material including tickets or forms claiming to represent tickets, chances, shares, or interests in lotteries.
Exception: State-owned and operated lotteries may mail to addresses within their own states when authorized by state law.
Illegal Lottery Elements
The three elements making a lottery illegal are:
- A payment is required (cash or money order)
- A prize is offered (money or something of value)
- A return on investment depends on chance (all recipients will participate)
Avoiding Lottery Scams
Be wary if you receive what appears to be lottery material from a foreign country, from another state, or from your own state that does not have an authorized lottery. Turn it over to your post office or Postal Inspector.