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Woman Asks If She'd Be Wrong To Cash In A Winning Lottery Ticket That Her Ex-Boyfriend Bought And Left Behind

The question of who a lottery ticket's winnings belong to has been dissected many times over the years.

But when one Reddit user's ex boyfriend left a winning ticket at her house, she didn't know what to do.


Reddit user qwertycats- visited the popular subReddit "Am I The A**hole?" to help her decide whether she was wrong for keeping the money.

Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked if she was:

  • NTA - Not The A**hole
  • YTA - You're The A**hole
  • ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH - No A**holes Here
"Alright I'm gonna try to just stick to the objective facts of this story because my ex is pissed at me right now. So my ex bf used to always use his spare cash to buy lottery tickets. He would come to my apartment with them, we'd have fun scratching them off and normally not winning anything, and it was just a fun little tradition."
"We ended up breaking up a few weeks ago, and he still had a ton of his stuff here at my apartment that I repeatedly asked him to retrieve (clothes, PS4, etc). He never came to pick them up and basically acted like I should just bring them all to him next time I'm back in the suburbs."
"Finally I gave up on asking him, gathered up all his stuff to bring to him this weekend, and decided to do a deep cleaning of the apartment as well. Lo and behold, I ended up finding another lottery ticket that had gotten pushed underneath the couch. It was one that my bf had purchased and I remember the night we couldn't find it and eventually gave up on looking for it."
"I scratched it off and it ended up being a winning ticket for a small chunk of money. It's nothing crazy but it's also definitely an amount that could make a difference. I didn't tell my boyfriend about this, but I did tell my parents just because I was surprised that it was a winning ticket, and they were happy for me."
"However my ex bf works for my dad (definitely complicates things now that we're broken up lol) and yesterday my dad ended up mentioning the ticket to him ("did you hear ____?") which was pretty annoying. My ex realized it was probably a ticket that he bought, texted and asked about it, and I replied that maybe he would have found the ticket if he had bothered to come over and pick up his stuff during the 2+ weeks I asked him to."
"Now he feels entitled to it and I don't know whether or not I'm the asshole for keeping it. In my perspective he had 2 weeks to come and pick up his stuff and that could have included a last effort to look for his lottery ticket if he really wanted but he chose not to."
"Edit : ex didn't live with me or pay rent he just came over a lot"

There were some people who felt the ticket belonged to the Original Poster (OP) now.

"Info: does the card have a place on the back for a signature? If it does, then just sign it. In my state it doesn't matter who bought it, sold it, scratched it, or anything else. Ownership is 100% the person who signs the back of the ticket." -Adventures_to_Come

Others said that morally the ticket belonged to the ex-boyfriend even if he couldn't legally prove it.

"I'd say YTA. I'd doubt that if he had come over to get his belongings that you would have let him tear apart the apartment to look for anything else that may have been his."
"It's his.. you know it's his, he knows it's his. Can he legally prove it, no. Is it worth the Karma? I guess that's up to you. Surely you guys should have won on a few of the scratch offs in the past, right? So how was that handled. Best case, you guys split it."
"Now if you guys were in a lease together, and he left.. then I'd say call it even since you now are paying all of it. However, I doubt that's the case or it would have been stated." -SticksandHomes

The occasional Reddit user still tried to stick up for OP.

"NTA. It isn't nice, but it's not wrong. Possession is 9 10th of the law and I'd chalk it up as storage fee since he's practically declared your home his storage unit after the break up. Tell your dad to stop reporting your life to your ex." -VinnyVincinny

But it was quickly pointed out that "not nice" is pretty much the same as being an a**hole.

"Wow. Not only is this morally and most likely legally wrong but you do realise her taking it as a "storage fee" not only would not hold up in court but indirectly implies it is his - as she was storing stuff that belongs to him including the ticket. I'm not seeing how people on this sub are justifying OP stealing the ticket because he didn't get his shit back."
"The post states that the ticket was under the couch, so unless he deep cleaned her whole house how on earth was he meant to reclaim it? Perhaps read this story about a couple who found a lottery ticket for 30k on the floor, cashed it and then were given 11 month suspended sentences. This is what is waiting for OP if she follows the awful advice here." -MarcusArguello

Many suspected the Dad told the boyfriend about the lottery ticket intentionally.

"Dad only reported it to the ex because he knew that his daughter was planning on keeping it all and the dad felt a moral obligation to tell him. Just because it's your kid doesn't mean you agree with all of their bad choices. The ex works for him. They have a relationship outside of just guy my daughter used to date. He did what he felt was the right thing to do, dad is not stupid." -pantsRrad

Reddits most generous readers felt everyone had a share of the blame.

"ESH - he should have made more of an effort to get his stuff and you should give him the ticket he paid for. Doesn't matter that you found it on the floor, if he paid for it then it's his."
"Use it as an incentive for him to come and get his stuff from your place. Tell him he can have the ticket and his stuff if he comes and gets it within a week, otherwise you are cashing it in for yourself and will be donating his stuff to Goodwill." -dookle14

Most agreed, however, that OP needed to return the cash.

"YTA. It was his, and it wouldn't have been difficult to get it to him--you were in the process of getting together other possessions of his to give to him, after all. People are focusing on how you weren't obligated to go to extra efforts to get his stuff to him, but in that case, you should at least have informed him that you had it, and then let him come pick it up." -Rivka333
"Lol you can't keep something that belongs to him just because it's worth something. You wouldn't keep his TV, his XBOX, or his watch. Give him back his property the same way you would if you found something material he left in your place after you guys broke up. YTA." -UnlitLights
"YTA. He bought it, it's his ticket and his winnings. Even though he also sucks for not bothering to get his stuff, it doesn't really have much to do with that anymore. You said that you only found it through 'deep cleaning' so I can't imagine he would have found it even if he had picked up his stuff. Give him the ticket, it's not yours." -eggarino

Fortunately, it seems OP took Reddit's advice to heart.

She returned to update people on what she was doing.

"Edit 2: Consensus is pretty much that it would be an asshole move to keep it so he's coming tomorrow to pick it up and cash it, he said he would give me a small amount which is nice. I already dropped his other stuff off this past weekend since some people seemed confused on whether or not he had it yet." -qwertycats

The moral of the story is that, no matter how much we want it, finding a bunch of cash lying on the ground doesn't automatically make it ours.