§ 18C-132. Procedures for drawings and claiming prizes; payment of prizes; protection of information concerning certain prize winners.
(a) If a lottery game uses a daily or less frequent drawing of winning numbers, a drawing among entries including second chance drawings where the value of the prize is five thousand dollars ($5,000) or more, or a drawing among finalists, all of the following conditions shall be met:
(1) The drawings shall be open to the public.
(2) The drawings shall be witnessed by an independent certified public accountant or by an auditor employed by a certified public accounting firm.
(3) Any equipment used in the drawings shall be inspected by the independent certified public accountant or auditor employed by a certified public accounting firm and an employee of the Commission both before and after the drawings.
(4) Audio and visual records of the drawings and inspections shall be made.
If a lottery game uses a drawing among entries for (i) a second chance drawing or (ii) any other promotion conducted by the lottery, where the value of the prize is less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) in value, the requirements of subdivisions (2) and (3) of this subsection do not apply.
(b) Prizes that remain unclaimed after the period set by the Commission for claiming the prizes shall not be considered abandoned property. If a valid claim is not made for a prize within the applicable period, the unclaimed prize money shall be handled in accordance with this Chapter.
(c) After the expiration of the claim period for prizes for each lottery game, the Commission shall make available a detailed tabulation of the total number of prizes of each prize denomination that was actually claimed and paid directly by the Commission.
(d) No prize shall be paid for a lottery ticket or share that is stolen, counterfeit, altered, fraudulent, unissued, produced or issued in error, unreadable, not received or recorded by the Commission by the applicable deadlines, lacking in captions that conform and agree with the play symbols as appropriate to the lottery game involved, or not in compliance with any additional specific rules and public or confidential validation and security tests appropriate to the particular game involved.
(e) No valid claim for a prize in any lottery game shall be paid more than once. The Director, Commission, and the State shall be discharged of all liability upon payment of a prize.
(f) Winners of less than six hundred dollars ($600.00) shall be permitted to claim prizes from any of the following:
(1) The same lottery game retailer who sold the winning ticket or share.
(2) Any other lottery retailer.
(3) The Commission.
(g) Winners of six hundred dollars ($600.00) or more shall claim prizes directly from the Commission.
(h) The right of any person to a prize shall not be assignable. Payment of any prize may be paid to a person designated pursuant to a court order. Any prize or portion of a prize remaining unpaid at the death of a prize winner shall be paid to the estate of the deceased prize winner or to the trustee of a trust established by the prize winner or as designated in the deceased prize winner's will, living trust, or other prepared legal instrument if a copy of the trust document or instrument has been filed with the Director, and no written notice of revocation has been received by the Director prior to the prize winner's death.
(i) No ticket or share in a lottery game shall be purchased by, and no prize shall be paid to, a member of the Commission, the Director, or employee of the Commission, or to any spouse, parent, or child living in the same household as a person disqualified by this subsection.
(j) No prize shall be paid to a person under the age of 18.
(j1) If requested by the prize winner, the identity of a prize winner of fifty million dollars ($50,000,000) or more shall be treated as confidential information under G.S. 132-1.2(8) until 90 days after the winner has claimed the prize.
(k) If a prize winner submits to the Commission a copy of a protective order without attachments, if any, issued to that person under G.S. 50B-3 or a lawful order of any court of competent jurisdiction restricting the access or contact of one or more persons with that prize winner or a current and valid Address Confidentiality Program authorization card issued pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 15C of the General Statutes, that prize winner's identifying information shall be treated as confidential information under G.S. 132-1.2 as long as the protective order remains in effect or the prize winner remains a certified program participant in the Address Confidentiality Program. That prize winner's identifying information shall be available for inspection by a law enforcement agency or by a person identified in a court order if inspection of the address by that person is directed by that court order.
(l) All prizes are subject to the State income tax.
(m) An eligible person serving on active military duty in any branch of the United States Armed Forces during a war or national emergency declared in accordance with federal law may submit a delayed claim for a lottery prize. The claim shall be submitted to the Commission in writing no later than 540 days after the date the online game prize was announced or the instant game has closed. For the purposes of this subsection, the term "eligible person" means a person who has a valid claim for a prize in a lottery game and meets either of the following criteria:
(1) While on active military duty in this State, is transferred out of this State as the result of a war or national emergency declared in accordance with federal law before the applicable time period for claiming a lottery prize has elapsed. For the purposes of this subdivision, the term "active military duty" means a person who is covered by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 50 U.S.C. App. § 501, et seq., as amended, or the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, 38 U.S.C. § 4301, et seq., as amended.
(2) While serving in the Armed Forces Reserves in this State, is transferred out of this State as the result of a war or national emergency declared in accordance with federal law before the applicable time period for claiming a lottery prize has elapsed. (2005-344, s. 1; 2005-276, s. 31.1(k); 2006-225, s. 4; 2009-357, ss. 8, 14; 2018-5, s. 5.3(c); 2019-142, s. 5.)