Two folks on Facebook recently said they'd like to see a game where you'd have to be an Iowa resident to play or win. We've also heard through the years from those who wondered if someone who lives outside the United States can win a lottery prize in Iowa.
I get the home-state pride that people feel and how fun it is when someone from your state or maybe even your city wins the lottery. Hey, if you didn’t win the big prize yourself, it's always nice to have a "close brush" with someone who did!
But I also find the subject interesting because I've played lotteries in countries outside the United States, had fun while I was doing it, and won some prizes. And I'm pretty sure I would have been offended if I'd been told I couldn't play there just because I was from another country! So, those are the thoughts I have when someone questions just who can play the Iowa Lottery.
The short answer is that people from other states and countries can play - and win - in the Iowa Lottery's games. The requirements for them are the same as those for everybody else: They have to be at least 21 years old to buy a ticket and the ticket must be purchased in person at a lottery retailer here in Iowa.
If you win an Iowa Lottery prize and you're not a resident of the United States, you may need to pay a higher amount in withholding than a U.S. citizen would, but it's perfectly OK for you to play and win! By its very definition, a lottery is a game that can be won by anyone from anywhere, provided that they have a ticket. A good example of that is the man who claimed Iowa's latest $1 million prize in Powerball®. He’s Richard Watson from Belton, Mo., and we blogged about him back on May 20 after his big win. Richard travels a lot for work and when he's on the road, he likes to buy lottery tickets in whichever state he's visiting. He bought a ticket back in November while on a job in eastern Iowa and although it took him months, he did finally realize that he'd won a big prize.
We're pretty sure Richard is glad that people from outside Iowa can buy tickets and win prizes here! And Iowa Lottery sales do help our state - no matter where the person is from who made the purchase. So we see it as a win-win for all!