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N.C. Lottery prohibits illegal aliens from collecting big prizes

North Carolina LotteryNorth Carolina Lottery: N.C. Lottery prohibits illegal aliens from collecting big prizes

The estimated 390,000 illegal aliens in North Carolina are welcome to spend money on the state's new lottery, but they may not be allowed to collect.

Lottery officials said state law does not prohibit illegal aliens from collecting a prize, but the lottery's claim policies may effectively bar them from getting the money.

N.C. lottery rules require a winner of $600 or more to claim their prize at a lottery office, showing a photo identification and proof of a Social Security number. If the winner doesn't have a Social Security number, the lottery will accept: a U.S. passport, a foreign passport, an identification card issued by another state, a U.S. armed forces identification card, voter registration card or permanent resident card (green card), which is now pink or white.

Typically, illegal aliens cannot legally obtain a Social Security number.

"If they don't have a green card or foreign passport, they're not going to get anything," said lottery spokeswoman Pam Walker. "Because they're likely to be an illegal alien."

An outright ban on jackpots for illegal aliens would put North Carolina in a small minority. As few as two states, Maryland and North Dakota, restrict prizes to legal residents. Most states' guidelines don't address the issue, while states along the Mexican border make no effort to determine residency. One of California's first big prize winners in 1985 was an illegal alien who won $2 million and was promptly deported back to Mexico.

The issue comes just as the illegal immigration debate is boiling over nationally with protests across the country, a congressional showdown and fellow Republicans criticizing President Bush over his policies.

At the same time, North Carolina's lottery is less than a month old in a state with one of the fastest-growing Hispanic populations. One in every five lottery retailers on opening day last month was in a neighborhood where the adult population was at least 10 percent Hispanic, according to an Observer analysis of lottery and demographic data.

It would be unfair to block illegal immigrants from winning, said Sandra Machuca, owner of La Centroamericana convenience store on South Boulevard in Charlotte. She has been selling about $1,000 worth of scratch-off tickets a week. Her biggest winner won $150.

"None of my clients are American," Machuca said. "Whoever wins has a right to the prize. That's why they buy the ticket."

State Controller Robert Powell, who oversees the state's cash flow and accounting, said lottery officials should address the issue.

"If you're here illegally, then there should be at least a legal determination as to whether you should receive the funds," Powell said. "If you're not here in this country legally, I don't know whether you should be eligible to receive lottery winnings."

Powell said he is not proposing a rule one way or the other.

"I'm just saying it ought to be discussed and answered," he said.

Walker said a winner who has no Social Security number but does have required identification will still get paid but at the higher, nonresident tax withholding rate, 30 percent instead of 25 percent.

"Our policy on this mirrors many other states' and there is no intent to prohibit any person from claiming a prize," Walker said. "They simply must have the required identification."

'It's easy to get around the law'

A bill in the S.C. legislature would limit winners to legal residents, but that legislation is stalled in committee. Lottery Director Ernie Passailaigue said winners must give a Social Security number, which effectively bars illegal aliens, but all they need is a friend."It's easy to get around the law," he said. "Just give (the winning ticket) to somebody who has a Social Security number."

Several state lottery Web sites carry warnings about a current lottery scam in which someone claiming to be an illegal immigrant sells a winning ticket for less than its value to avoid the spotlight of claiming the prize. The ticket, of course, is fake, but the fear of scrutiny is not.

Jose Caballero was an illegal alien delivering furniture in San Jose, Calif., when he won the California lottery in 1985. Federal authorities returned him to Mexico after reading news accounts, but he kept his prize.

North Dakota's lottery instituted a policy on April 1 prohibiting illegal aliens from buying tickets or collecting prizes, though director Chuck Keller acknowledged it is impossible to ban the ticket buying and claiming of small prizes.

"As a matter of public policy," Keller said, "an illegal alien should not have the privilege of buying a state service ... nor be able to win a prize."

Education or enforcement?

Nolo Martinez, a former governor's adviser in North Carolina on Latino affairs, said such policies criminalize people who would be paying taxes and want nothing more than to live outside the shadows.

"We're creating a mentality of a police state by suggesting that we're going to bring in immigration enforcement to a game that was designed to benefit education," said Martinez, now with the Center for New North Carolinians at UNC Greensboro.

The Texas lottery is among several southern border states that make no effort to screen for illegal aliens, some of whom likely have won a jackpot at some point, said spokeswoman Leticia Vasquez.

"We're pretty sure that they have," Vasquez said, "but we don't ask them to present any documentation to certify that they're in this country legally. We just ask for photo ID."

Charlotte Observer

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49 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by chuck32.
Page 1 of 4
RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
United States
Member #9
March 24, 2001
20130 Posts
Posted: April 14, 2006, 1:59 pm - IP Logged

 "As few as two states, Maryland and North Dakota, restrict prizes to legal residents."

I wonder if they post that where lottery tickets are sold so visitors to their states will know if they play and win big they can't collect.

 * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning one * 
              Evil Looking       


    United States
    Member #33085
    February 18, 2006
    752 Posts
    Posted: April 14, 2006, 2:33 pm - IP Logged


      Coastal Georgia
      United States
      Member #2653
      October 30, 2003
      1866 Posts
      Posted: April 14, 2006, 2:43 pm - IP Logged

      I'm gonna place an ad in the NC Hispanic newspaper that I will happily cash their winning JP tickets, for a nominal fee.... Big Grin







        Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
        United States
        Member #487
        July 15, 2002
        17638 Posts
        Posted: April 14, 2006, 3:20 pm - IP Logged

        I think that is the saddest thing I have ever heard of.  The "illegal aliens" are getting the shaft from every direction.  Kind of reminds me  of the struggle that blacks had to gain equal status..this country is so damn racist..!!!!

        If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

        You never know when you will get another hit.

          United States
          Member #1424
          April 25, 2003
          696 Posts
          Posted: April 14, 2006, 3:35 pm - IP Logged

          The illegal aliens are breaking the law.  Most states deduct child support and outstanding fines from lottery winnings.  Why not penalize these law breakers?  Makes sense to me.  I would feel the same way about an illegal Irishman.  Either respect the law or change it.  The law is not a cafeteria where you pick and choose the statutes you agree with.

          Orangeman                                            Boxing

            United States
            Member #23806
            October 16, 2005
            188 Posts
            Posted: April 14, 2006, 3:41 pm - IP Logged




            They should wait in line just like everybody else to enter the USA. 

              Coastal Georgia
              United States
              Member #2653
              October 30, 2003
              1866 Posts
              Posted: April 14, 2006, 3:44 pm - IP Logged

              There's nothing racist about it. They are illegal. Period. End of story.






                SassyOhio's avatar - Picture012
                Columbus Ohio
                United States
                Member #35946
                March 25, 2006
                234 Posts
                Posted: April 14, 2006, 4:26 pm - IP Logged

                WOW, I am not a racist person at all!! BYYY FAR But I do agree. My thought and question is this Have you all askd yourselves... Since they dont HAVE to pay taxes for what is it? the 1st 7 years? That may be a reason that they are doing this too I know that there is nothing more that pisses me off then a Alien coming over with no residency no ins and on a student visa that can borrower thousands of dollars in educational funds and then collect welfare benefits and still live tax free and were the us cit. and they take HALF of the money that WE RESIDENTS put in to make that 200 mill jackpot but we only get 60 mill Jacked up I tell ya!!!!!

                Hopin To Be The Lucky Ones!!

                COME ON MEGA! MEGA-ME-RICH!


                Please feel free to visit my sisters memorial page that I have now completed



                  United States
                  Member #26469
                  November 18, 2005
                  160 Posts
                  Posted: April 14, 2006, 5:15 pm - IP Logged

                  Since the law requires photo ID and SS numbers for prizes over $600 look for these folks to concentrate on the Pick 3 once it gets started.


                    United States
                    Member #34931
                    March 9, 2006
                    100 Posts
                    Posted: April 14, 2006, 5:59 pm - IP Logged

                    Wonder if an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number would be acceptable?

                      vulcanclassic15's avatar - Lottery-067.jpg
                      New Member
                      Ashtabula, Ohio
                      United States
                      Member #19785
                      August 6, 2005
                      16 Posts
                      Posted: April 14, 2006, 7:03 pm - IP Logged

                      They come for the "American Dream", but do not want to pay taxes? That is 25% + of are dream. No state should pay out any prize to illegal aliens, and American citizens should not half to pay tax on prizes won on a state lotto.

                        angelman's avatar - wings2
                        New Member

                        United States
                        Member #536
                        August 4, 2002
                        9 Posts
                        Posted: April 14, 2006, 8:45 pm - IP Logged

                        I think that all those people (?) should be sent back to wherever they came from. They are not supposed to be here if they are illegal. Send their sorry butts back. Get rid of all of them.

                          New Jersey
                          United States
                          Member #21206
                          September 4, 2005
                          953 Posts
                          Posted: April 14, 2006, 8:59 pm - IP Logged

                          Most of the comments disgust me.

                          All I can say is that if many of you had your dreams come true and kicked people out and/or killed them or whatever, you would have real economic problems.  These people keep your Walmarts running.  You may not understand that, but it is indeed the case.

                          These people don't come here because they are useless or lazy.  They come because they are poor and because they have no hope if they stay home.  Most of you benefit by their labors in ways you simply choose not to see, mostly because the modern American habit is to tell ourselves pleasant lies.   These people suffer degradation on an unbelievable nature, not only at home, but in the places they live.

                          You are all very smug.  But you don't realize, perhaps, that you live in the world's largest debtor nation, that you are rapidly decending into third world status yourselves, your resources squandered (as is often the case in the third world) in an orgy of corruption, excess, delusion and illusion.  You can't even grasp the surface of how easily and how obviously you are being manipulated and how much risk you face.  You think you live in the world's richest nation, but actually you live in the world's poorest nation.  The time may come when Mexico is closing the border, to keep you out.

                          May God have mercy on you when you realize what is coming. 






                            United States
                            Member #7853
                            October 15, 2004
                            11350 Posts
                            Posted: April 14, 2006, 9:10 pm - IP Logged

                            I'm gonna place an ad in the NC Hispanic newspaper that I will happily cash their winning JP tickets, for a nominal fee.... Big Grin


                            i agree.we could charge a percentage and we'll all make good,lol.