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The 6 States Where You Can’t Play Powerball

Many Americans have to jump the border to play for the $1.5 billion.

Powerball Frenzy Builds as Jackpot Soars to $1.4 Billion

— — With tonight’s Powerball drawing set at a staggering $1.5 billion, jackpot junkies eagerly await the announcement for the winning numbers to see whether they beat the odds.

Forty-four states across the country participate in the multi-state lottery, with Wyoming being the most recent addition to the Powerball game in 2014.

But residents of Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah will have to head out of state to buy a ticket for the chance to cash in on the winning numbers of the largest Powerball jackpot of all time. Not only do these six states not participate in the lottery game, they don’t even have state lotteries of their own.

While states like Utah and Hawaii outlaw all gambling of all kinds — be it charitable, commercial, at a racetrack, or on an Indian reservation casino — others just require residents to cross state lines to get their drawings fixes or play at state-approved casinos such as those in Nevada and Mississippi.

Nevada

Nevada State Gaming Control Board chairman A.G. Burnett told ABC News in 2013 that Nevada doesn’t have a lottery because of a decision in the state legislature made over 50 years ago.

“There was a decision in the state of Nevada as to whether we’d be just a casino-style gaming state or a state that allowed lotteries,” he said. “The legislature put that language in years ago that said, we’re just going to be a casino gaming state without a lottery.”

As a result, the state bans lotteries with the exception of charitable drawings held by schools, local elks’ clubs or boy scouts. Even then, these raffles need to be approved by the gaming control board, said Burnett, who signs off on five to 10 of those requests a month.

Burnett said every few years, there’s a proposal to instate a commercial lottery in Nevada, but the rumblings usually die down.

“I think it’s the gaming industry that doesn’t want to have a lottery,” he said. “That’s pretty much the prevailing view even today.”

Alabama

In the Bible Belt, Alabama state Rep. Mack Butler this week told ABC affiliate station WBMA-TV in Birmingham that residents should be able to vote on a state lottery.

“People are going to our border states and those dollars are leaving, so if we could keep those dollars here it will be beneficial to the people of Alabama,” he said, adding that the topic will be front and center this legislative session.

Mississippi

Meanwhile, in Mississippi, where the gaming industries in cities like Gulfport and Biloxi have grown sizably, instating a lottery has been off the table.

“Every year we do have lottery bills that are filed, but typically it doesn’t even make it out of the gaming committee,” Rob Vickery, staff officer at the executive division of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, told ABC News in 2013. “I think that casino operators like the current situation because they’re the only game in town and the more conservative legislators don’t really want to go on the record as voting for gaming.

“You have this kind of unholy alliance that the gaming industry and the anti-gaming people would come together and be against the expansion of gaming, which would include lotteries,” he said.

But Mississippi also offers charitable gaming to its residents, boasting dozens of bingo parlors throughout the state, Vickery said.

Jon Griffin, a senior policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures, said that while there’s ample funding for casino studies, there hasn’t been much empirical research on the economic impact on states that did not participate in lotteries.

“I’ve never conducted any research as to why these states aren’t participating in lotteries,” he told ABC News in 2013. “With so many states having lotteries compared to states that have casino gaming, most people don’t think much about state lotteries.”

In Utah, where the state constitution bans all forms of gambling, residents have flooded gas stations in recent days to buy tickets along the border with Wyoming and Idaho. And because most legislators are Mormons who oppose gambling, according to the AP, a change in the constitution is unlikely.

Alaska

Alaska residents can only try their luck in similar charitable gaming options, including bingo, pull tabs, dog mushers’ contests and raffles. But in terms of getting involved with the lottery, there’s no draw for locals.

“Alaska has been more concerned that a lottery wouldn’t pay off in such a sparsely populated state,” The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Hawaii

It’s the same story in Hawaii, where lawmakers have proposed lottery measures, the AP said, but the idea always fails.

And the state penal code is explicit: “Under prior law it was a misdemeanor to set up or assist in any type of lottery scheme, to sell or buy a ticket or chance in a lottery scheme.”

The 6 States Where You Can’t Play Powerball Many Americans have to jump the border to play for the $1.5 billion. Powerball Frenzy Builds as Jackpot Soars to $1.4 Billion — — With tonight’s

Lottery in Utah (UT): FAQs and How to Play

Is there a lottery in Utah?

Utah is one of five (5) US states without a state lottery. Of these, Utah is one of two states with no form of legal gambling at all. (Hawaii is the other.) In fact, all games of chance — including but not limited to lotteries — are illegal in Utah.

Why Utah doesn’t have a state lottery

The Utah state constitution explicitly forbids the state legislature from starting or authorizing lotteries. Article VI, Section 27 of Utah’s constitution specifically states, “The Legislature shall not authorize any game of chance, lottery or gift enterprise under any pretense or for any purpose.”

Can you buy lottery tickets in Utah?

Unfortunately, you can’t. Utah’s laws don’t just forbid the creation of a state lottery. Under state laws, the act of gambling (or any related actions, such as selling a ticket) is a criminal offense. Gambling is defined as staking any item of value on the results of a game of chance.

Any person who “solicits, requests, commands, encourages, or intentionally aids another person to engage in” gambling can be held criminally liable in Utah courts. Likewise, anybody who engages in gambling can also be charged with a crime.

What’s interesting is that these laws apply to any apparent participation in games of chance within Utah, even if the game itself is held outside the state. For example, if you buy Idaho lottery tickets within Utah state lines, you could still face gambling violation charges. (The person selling those tickets would be liable, too!)

How can people in Utah play lottery?

To get around this problem, many Utah residents go to neighboring states like Idaho or Wyoming to buy lottery tickets.

In 2018, at the height of the Powerball and Mega Millions jackpot madness, Utah residents flocked to border towns like Franklin, Idaho to buy tickets. In fact, a convenience store in Franklin called La Tienda actually dubbed itself the “home of the Utah Lottery.” Another store, KJ’s Kwik Stop in Malad, Idaho, reported a similar jump in the number of Utah-based customers . The store stands several miles from the Utah border.

If you’re a Utah resident, you might also consider going to an area (e.g., Canada) where online lottery is allowed. Then you could register for online lottery agents like theLotter and play through these services.

Can you win the lottery if you live in Utah?

Yes, you can. It’s still legal for Utah residents to buy lottery tickets in neighboring states, after all.

Here’s the catch, though: you’ll likely have to pay state taxes for both Utah and the state where you bought the ticket. That’s on top of federal income taxes, which already entail around 24% of the total prize money.

Is online gambling allowed in Utah?

No. The legal provisions that penalize any participation in gambling cover online activities, too. Utah state law doesn’t make distinctions between different channels or means of playing games of chance. Consequently, buying tickets online won’t exempt you from the ban against gambling within the state.

Does Utah have scratch tickets?

No. Scratch tickets fall under the broad definition of gambling in Utah’s constitution, so the Utah government can’t run scratch-off games either.

Will Utah ever get the lottery?

That remains to be seen.

There’s certainly interest in lottery games among Utah residents, as the Utah license plates in Idaho convenience store parking lots can tell you. Some state legislators are also pushing for a people’s initiative to legalize lotteries.

State Senator Jim Dabakis (D-Salt Lake), speaking to KUTV in October 2018, said, “This is a voluntary tax. People want to pay it. They are waiting in line to pay it.”

Citing the millions of earnings reported by neighboring states’ lottery commissions, Dabakis further asked, “Why give the money to Idaho and Wyoming? We are missing out.”

Yet there remains strong resistance to the creation of a state lottery. Even Dabakis himself, in the same interview, noted that amending the Utah constitution to allow lotteries would be unlikely. Any changes to state lottery policies, claimed the legislator, would have to come through residents’ initiative.

Find out why Utah doesn’t have a state lottery, and if it will ever have one. Also, we go into detail about you can play if you’re from Utah. ]]>