The lottery can be an amazing thing. We’ve heard stories of families down on their luck, just one week away from losing their house that suddenly hit it big. Or the single mother who’s trying to send her kids to college. Or the retired grandmother whose husband is stuck with big medical bills for an ongoing but treatable condition.

When we hear those stories, we smile and feel great that the lottery gods hit the mark perfectly. But this past week, we learned that the lottery devil was filling in back in 2012.

Up in Canada, a police officer who is facing almost four dozen fraud and breach of trust charges related to an insurance scam won $275,000 playing Daily Keno, an Ontario Lottery draw.

While the win is back in the news several years after it happened, there’s good reason for it. Watson is on trial for that insurance scam. Some believe his lottery win should be forfeited. Others argue that because he won the lottery after he was arrested for those charges, even talking about forfeiting the money is just ridiculous.

The lottery agency notes that there’s nothing stopping someone with a criminal record from winning the lottery. You could be charged with pretty much anything and still qualify to win the lottery. As long as you bought the ticket, any money tied to that ticket is yours.

So will Watson get to keep his money? We’re not so sure. A judge could very well force him to pay back the money he’s siphoned out of the insurance system, but it’s not clear how deep the scam goes.

This isn’t the first time someone charged with a crime has hit it big playing the government lottery. In December of last year, a Florida resident won $3 million in a lottery scratch ticket. He also happened to be a convicted sex offender who had served time in the slammer.

The man in question, Timothy Poole, might not get to keep his winnings, though. His alleged victims are suing him for the money.

What do you think? Should someone accused of a crime be able to keep their lottery winnings? Or should they be forced to give it up, regardless of what that crime might have been? Comment on this article or tweet us at @SilverOakCasino with the hashtag #winner.


Simon is an overactive gambler and the Staff Writer here at Silver Oak. He loves casino bonuses, online slots, and using the em dash too often. Currently, he rests his typing hands in Vancouver, Canada.