The lottery prizes, especially the Christmas ones, an endless source of legal conflicts

What should be a cause for joy some times turns into a raw court battle for the prize. The problems are typical, the most common one: not wanting to share eventually the rewarded lottery ticket. But there are a multitude of legal issues that can affect the winners.


For example, keeping the entire prize of the lottery ticket, even when shared, can be a crime of misappropriation. This is how the Provincial Court of Santa Cruz de Tenerife understood it when it sentenced a man to one year in prison for not respecting the verbal agreement with his friend and collecting for himself the entire jackpot that amounted to a not inconsiderable amount of 125,000.-Euros.


Finding a lost coupon and not returning it despite the fact that its rightful owner can be identified is also criminally sanctioned. In a notorious case of 2017, a woman found lost a lottery ticket that had an inscription in pencil at the back, which she tried to erase. As luck would have it, it was finally awarded, verifying by the court that the handwritten letter on the back corresponded to the woman who claimed its ownwership. The defendant was sentenced to a heavy fine and to return the money she had appropriated.

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