(1) The department shall promulgate rules to establish a system of verifying the validity of tickets claimed to win prizes and to effect payment of such prizes; however:
(a) The right of any person to a prize, other than a prize that is payable in installments over time, is not assignable. However, any prize, to the extent that it has not been assigned or encumbered pursuant to s. 24.1153, may be paid to the estate of a deceased prize winner or to a person designated pursuant to an appropriate court order. A prize that is payable in installments over time is assignable, but only pursuant to an appropriate court order as provided in s. 24.1153.
(b) No prize shall be paid to any person under the age of 18 years unless the winning ticket was lawfully purchased and made a gift to the minor. In such case, the department shall direct payment to an adult member of the minor’s family or the legal guardian of the minor as custodian for the minor. The person named as custodian shall have the same powers and duties as prescribed for a custodian pursuant to chapter 710, the Florida Uniform Transfers to Minors Act.
(c) No prize may be paid arising from claimed tickets that are stolen, counterfeit, altered, fraudulent, unissued, produced or issued in error, unreadable, not received or not recorded by the department by applicable deadlines, lacking in captions that confirm and agree with the lottery play symbols as appropriate to the lottery game involved, or not in compliance with such additional specific rules and public or confidential validation and security tests of the department appropriate to the particular lottery game involved.
(d) No particular prize in any lottery game may be paid more than once, and in the event of a binding determination that more than one claimant is entitled to a particular prize, the sole remedy of such claimants is the award to each of them of an equal share in the prize.
(e) For the convenience of the public, retailers may be authorized to pay winners amounts less than $600 after performing validation procedures on their premises appropriate to the lottery game involved.
(f) Holders of tickets shall have the right to claim prizes for 180 days after the drawing or the end of the lottery game or play in which the prize was won; except that with respect to any game in which the player may determine instantly if he or she has won or lost, such right shall exist for 60 days after the end of the lottery game. If a valid claim is not made for a prize within the applicable period, the prize shall constitute an unclaimed prize for purposes of subsection (2).
(g) No prize shall be paid upon a ticket purchased or sold in violation of this act or to any person who is prohibited from purchasing a lottery ticket pursuant to this act. Any such prize shall constitute an unclaimed prize for purposes of subsection (2).
(2)(a) Eighty percent of all unclaimed prize money shall be deposited in the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund consistent with the provisions of s. 24.121(2). Subject to appropriations provided in the General Appropriations Act, these funds may be used to match private contributions received under the postsecondary matching grant programs established in ss. 1011.32, 1011.85, 1011.94, and 1013.79.
(b) The remaining 20 percent of unclaimed prize money shall be added to the pool from which future prizes are to be awarded or used for special prize promotions.
(3) The department shall be discharged of all liability upon payment of a prize.
(4) It is the responsibility of the appropriate state agency and of the judicial branch to identify to the department, in the form and format prescribed by the department, persons owing an outstanding debt to any state agency or owing child support collected through a court, including spousal support or alimony for the spouse or former spouse of the obligor if the child support obligation is being enforced by the Department of Revenue. Prior to the payment of a prize of $600 or more to any claimant having such an outstanding obligation, the department shall transmit the amount of the debt to the agency claiming the debt and shall authorize payment of the balance to the prize winner after deduction of the debt. If a prize winner owes multiple debts subject to offset under this subsection and the prize is insufficient to cover all such debts, the amount of the prize shall be transmitted first to the agency claiming that past due child support is owed. If a balance of lottery prize remains after payment of past due child support, the remaining lottery prize amount shall be transmitted to other agencies claiming debts owed to the state, pro rata, based upon the ratio of the individual debt to the remaining debt owed to the state.
History.s. 15, ch. 87-65; s. 1, ch. 88-8; s. 91, ch. 95-147; s. 1, ch. 96-310; s. 7, ch. 96-341; s. 2, ch. 99-184; s. 1, ch. 2001-158; s. 1, ch. 2005-84.