READ THIS before you buy someone a lottery ticket for Christmas

There are caveats with gifting lottery tickets.

SAN ANTONIO – It’s been quite a year. So, if you’ve daydreamed about winning the lottery, you’re not alone.

Lottery tickets are a popular Christmas gift or stocking stuffer, but they are also a gamble... literally.

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.

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.

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.

About the Author

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.

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