Taxes on Lottery Winnings

A number of lottery winners end up blowing their winnings. One way to avoid this is to assemble a financial triad and focus on pragmatic financial planning.

Lottery commissions rely on two messages primarily. The first is that playing the lottery is fun. This obscures the regressivity of lottery spending.


Lottery is a form of gambling in which players purchase tickets for a drawing for prizes. The prize money may be cash or goods. In some cases, the ticket holders must match certain criteria to win a prize. This type of lottery is popular in countries that have low tax rates. It is also a popular way to support charity organizations.

Lotteries are common in many states around the world. They are a form of public gambling that raises funds for government projects and services, including roads, libraries, canals, bridges, and colleges. The first state-sponsored lottery was established in New Hampshire in 1964, and the concept soon spread to most other states.

In the nineteen-sixties, as states faced a growing population and rising inflation, balancing budgets became increasingly difficult without raising taxes or cutting services. As a result, they began to promote lotteries as a source of “painless revenue.” In many states, the proceeds from lottery games are classified as government funding.


Lottery formats are a key factor in the success of any lottery game. While early games were simple raffles in which a ticket was preprinted with a number and participants waited weeks for a drawing, modern lotteries are much more complex. Some involve a combination of fixed-sum and percentage-of-receipts prizes. Others use a pseudo-random number generator to select numbers.

While these changes have increased lottery profits, they have also sparked concern that they could exacerbate existing alleged negative impacts of the lottery, such as the targeting of poorer individuals and the presentation of more addictive games. These new games, particularly video keno, blur the line between traditional gambling and the lottery.

Some lottery games have partnered with popular brands to promote the game and attract customers. Examples include scratch-off games that feature celebrities, sports teams, and cartoon characters. These merchandising deals provide the companies with brand exposure and help them cut advertising costs. In addition, some lottery games offer tickets that can be used to purchase goods or services.


Regardless of how much you win, Uncle Sam is going to want his cut. The amount of taxes you pay depends on the state where you live and whether you choose to take a lump sum or annuity payment. For example, New York State taxes lottery winnings at 8.82% and the City of New York levies an additional 3.876%. In addition, some states with income taxes withhold tax from lottery winnings.

The federal government counts lottery winnings as ordinary income, so they’re subject to the same tax rates as other income. However, a large jackpot could push you into a higher tax bracket for the year of the win.

Before claiming your prize, you should consult a financial planner or tax expert to understand the impact of your winnings. They can also help you decide whether to take a lump sum or annual payments. Both options have their pros and cons. For example, if you want to buy a house or put your kids through college, annual payments may make more sense for you.


In the United States, lottery winners can choose to receive their prizes in lump sum or as monthly payments. Many choose the lump sum option, believing that they will receive more money overall because of taxes and other withholdings. But this may not be true, especially if they are investing their prize winnings.

Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, researchers compared lottery winners to non-winning control households. This approach allowed them to cleanly isolate the causal effects of unanticipated income changes.

They found that lottery winners reduced their labor supply immediately after winning, and maintained these lower earnings for at least ten years. This effect persists even after adjusting for their age and other characteristics. It also appears to be more pronounced for those who won larger prizes, suggesting that other factors drive the effects of winning the lottery. These include a change in health behaviors such as smoking and drinking, and in evaluations of overall financial and life satisfaction.