Lottery Prize Wins (WA)
Lottery prize wins sometimes do not turn out the way that a person was hoping. When disputes arise about lottery prize wins, they can become complex and protracted so it is important to understand the laws surrounding lotteries and claiming prize money. This article outlines the laws that regulate lottery prize wins in Western Australia.
In Western Australia, the conduct of lotteries is governed by the Lotteries Commission Act 1990 and the Lotteries Commission (Authorised Lotteries) Rules 2016.
Claiming lottery prize wins
Under Rule 34A, in order to claim a prize in a lotto draw, the holder of the winning receipted ticket must present it:
- at an appropriate location depending on the amount of the prize; and
- within the payout period for the lotto draw; and
- if the ticket is registered by a Lotterywest membership number that was used to register the ticket, together with the holder’s Lotterywest membership card.
Lotterywest pays or delivers a prize to a ticket holder upon receipt of the winning ticket. It is not obliged to satisfy itself that the person presenting evidence of a winning entry is lawfully entitled to claim possession or ownership of that evidence. Possession of the ticket is sufficient.
Lotterywest is the only government owned and operated lottery in Australia. Lotterywest customers can apply to become Lotterywest members, which entitles them to a number of benefits as well as giving them increased security for their tickets. When a person becomes a member, they are provided with a digital membership card. Winnings can be linked to the member’s bank account registered to their membership.
Lotterywest membership provides protection to a member if a winning ticket is lost or stolen. A person cannot claim a prize for a winning ticket if the membership number on the receipted ticket is different to the number on the Lotterywest membership card presented, or if the person presenting the winning ticket does not also present a membership card.
If a winning ticket that is linked to a Lotterywest membership is lost or stolen, the member can still claim their prize.
Syndicates and lottery prize wins
Sometimes winning lotto draws are formed by way of a syndicate.
A syndicate is a group of players who share the cost of a Lotterywest ticket in order to play more games and increase the chance of winning. If the syndicate wins, the prize is shared by syndicate members according to the number of shares held by each member.
Syndicates are permitted by Lotterywest. There are four types of syndicates permitted: a retailer syndicate, a group syndicate, a network syndicate and a player-run syndicate.
Syndicates must be run according to the Rules, which set out how syndicates must be formed and established. It is particularly important that syndicates are run in accordance with the legislation, as an individual member of the syndicate is placing great trust in the syndicate operator to manage the syndicate in a proper and law-abiding manner. This includes printing syndicate tickets at point of sale, providing syndicate tickets to the individuals who purchase them, and allowing an individual the opportunity to register their ticket.
Lottery tickets not to be sold online
Lotterywest tickets are not allowed to be sold over the internet or by any other electronic means. The main reason for this is that if a customer transfers money to purchase tickets that are not printed for that person at the point of sale, the customer does not know whether they have a ticket in a particular syndicate or other draw.
The sale of lottery tickets online would be considered a material breach of the Rules and would have potential to compromise the administrative integrity of the lottery for players.
Lottery ticket disputes
Disputes over lottery prizes may arise where a person believed they were part of a syndicate that purchased a winning ticket, but this is disputed by other members.
When a party claims they have been a lottery prize winner, and this is disputed, an application can be filed in the Supreme Court seeking an injunction preventing the party from claiming their prize money, until the legal issues have been determined. A dispute such as this has the potential to be costly and time-consuming.
A lottery ticket dispute may be resolved through mediation or in an out of court settlement. If resolution in these manners is not possible, a trial may be necessary to determine the entitlements of parties.
If you have been involved in a lottery prize win and are facing a challenge, we encourage you to attain legal advice as quickly as possible. Thorough and timely legal advice will put you in a strong position to maximum your chance of achieving the outcome you desire.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.