California Lottery Says It Won’t Pay Out Winners From Courier Purchases

The California Lottery is coming out strongly against courier services.

Recently, it had to reaffirm that stance to its tens of thousands of retailers.

While California is not among the states with online lotteries, courier Mido Lotto claims to offer its services within the state’s borders.

The lottery is denying that and saying it won’t recognize any wins that come from a courier purchase.

California Lottery warns retailers about couriers

California has reached out to all of its lottery retailers, over 23,000 in total, about the consequences of working with couriers.

A courier offers online sales of retail lottery draw games in a given state. In some cases, the courier may also sell scratch tickets. Customers buy their tickets from the courier, and the company then purchases the ticket through a retail location and provides the ticket to the player.

In a communication sent to retailers last month, the California Lottery states it is not affiliated with any couriers.

It also mentions that retail participation in online lottery courier services violates California Lottery regulations and the California Lottery retailer contract:

“Lottery retailers are directed not to partner with or participate in sales to online lottery courier services. Any retailer that knowingly participates in or facilitates California Lottery ticket sales to online lottery couriers, their employees, agents, and/or contractors may be subject to the termination of their retailer contract.”

Mido Lotto, one of the five recognized lotto couriers in the country, lists California as one of the nine states where it is operational in the US.

PlayiLottery reached out to Mido Lotto for clarification of the courier’s legal status in the state. It has not provided an immediate response.

Players not eligible to win through lottery couriers in California

The courier threat doesn’t just extend to retailers in the state. It also could impact customers.

The California Lottery indicates it is legally prohibited from knowingly paying prizes on tickets acquired through a courier.

Carolyn Becker, a California Lottery spokesperson, confirmed that stance in a written release:

“Online lottery ticket courier services are illegal in California. We are thankful for the support of our retail partners in helping our customers play safely, rather than exchanging money with a third-party, unregulated business. Any California Lottery player who buys their games through an online courier is not eligible to win.”

This isn’t the first time the California Lottery has addressed online ticket purchases.

Frequently, over the past few years, it has sent out releases warning customers and retailers about online ticket purchases through couriers or digital applications.

Eilers & Krejcik Gaming reported last month that courier services accounted for less than 1% of the US lottery sales in 2023.

Despite that, the industry is gaining steam in 2024. Just recently, the Associated Press named its official courier and lottery results provider.


Photo by Jiri Hera via Shutterstock
Graphic from the California Lottery

About the Author

Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis

Lead Writer
A member of Catena Media since 2020, Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer at PlayiLottery, where he handles coverage of the online and retail lottery industry in the US. He previously spearheaded news content at PlayMichigan, where he covered one of the most prominent online lottery industries in the US — among the many other aspects of Michigan's sprawling iGaming market. You can email him at [email protected].
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