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READ THIS before you buy someone a lottery ticket for Christmas

There are caveats with gifting lottery tickets.

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(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

SAN ANTONIO – Lottery tickets are a popular Christmas gift or stocking stuffer, but they're not always a good idea.

Aside from the fact that in most cases you're basically giving someone a worthless piece of paper, other complications come with a lottery ticket gift.

For starters, it could be illegal. Not only do you have to be 18 years old or older to purchase a lottery ticket in Texas, you've got to be 18 years or older to redeem one.

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The Texas Lottery along with the National Council on Problem Gambling and McGill University’s International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors are raising awareness of the risks of underage lottery play. They have a campaign called “Gift Responsibly. Lottery Tickets Aren’t Child’s Play.”

Researchers have found that most adults with either problematic or pathological gambling started gambling before adulthood.

Even if you're gifting to someone who is old enough to cash it in, there are other caveats with gifting lottery tickets.

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What happens if the recipient of the ticket actually wins? Don’t expect them to share. They’re under no legal obligation to do so. If you think you’d be resentful if the recipient actually hits the jackpot, don’t gift it in the first place, Consumer Reports recommends.

Even if they would want to share with you, they’d be capped at $15,000 a year, according to Internal Revenue Service rules. After that, they’d have to pay a gift tax.

What if you’re the lucky recipient of a winning ticket? Consumer Reports recommends that you sign it right away. If you don’t and it gets lost or stolen, someone else could cash it in.


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