Summary: A new change in lottery regulations for Pennsylvania sees winners paying financial obligations before they earn their winnings.
Pennsylvania is one of several states in the US that offers several options for gambling, including the lottery. Each of the gambling options offered in the state have rules and regulations that must be followed, by players as well as regulators.
For the lottery in Pennsylvania, a recent change may have some players wishing they hadn’t won any lottery games. The state will now be taking out a portion of the winnings for those who have financial obligations, such as back child support or taxes.
Pay What You Owe
If players who win the lottery have a financial obligation to the state, they will now have to pay up before they see any of their earnings. Back in 1992, the lottery was given the green light to collect back child support from a prize won by an individual who had not paid what they owed. Just recently, the Intercept Program saw an expansion which lead to the lottery having more authority to take prize money to pay off debt before it is given to the player.
Last year, a law signed by Governor Tom Wolf went into effect that impacts winners of the lottery who earned prizes larger than $2,500. Once any back child support payments are made or unpaid tax debts are cleared, a winner will be given whatever remains of the prize. Financial obligations like court costs, fines, etc. will all be covered under this regulation change.
An additional change affects big winners who take part in public assistance programs. The Department of Human Services now have the ability to review winners and see if they receive public assistance benefits from the state. If they do, the Department can then decide if the winner should continue to receive assistance after the lottery prize has been paid.
State Representative Adam Harris spoke out about this change recently to Penn Live. The Representative discussed how the bill change is important because there are people who really need the assistance. The change helps to protect the less fortunate and ensures the welfare systems integrity.
Winners who are on public assistance and earn a large payday will be at risk of losing their benefits. Such an instance has not happened yet but could in the future.
Most players are open to the changes involving child support and tax benefits. It seems only fair that those who have skipped out on their responsibilities will have to make these payments first before being able to enjoy their spoils.
Online Casino Gaming Next?
With the lottery making such changes, it begs the question as to if the online casino gambling industry might come up with a similar rule change. Players will be able to take part in real money gaming once the industry is live, able to win large jackpot prizes via slots and other games. Will the state decide to make a similar ruling in the future regarding such prizes and financial obligations?
It will certainly be interesting to see how the lottery handles these changes and if lawmakers decide a similar rule should apply to online gaming as well. Only time will tell if similar changes will be made to see players held accountable for payments that need to be made to the state when they earn a major prize from an online casino game.