The U.S. Attorney’s Office has announced that the World Triathlon Corporation has agreed to forfeit more than $2.7 million in lottery proceeds to the United States government.
A sworn complaint had been filed in US District Court in Tampa, alleging that the Kona Lottery was illegal.
The Kona Lottery offered participants who won a chance at registering for the Ironman World Championships. Entries cost $50 for the lottery. Winners of the lottery then had to pay the full registration cost of the World Championship slot. Thousands of athletes had purchased multiple chances to win.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, WTC was allowed to give away the chance at slots, but could not charge athletes for the chance to win. By charging athletes, the complaint states, WTC was afoul of 18 U.S.C. 1955.
The WTC has surrendered all proceeds of the lottery since October 24, 2012 to the US government, which totaled $2,761,910. The lottery awarded 100 slots in each of the years in question in the complaint.
This amount represents:
- the Kona Lottery proceeds of 2013 (10,939 entries at $40 each plus 4,337 Passport entries at $50 each) totaling $654,410;
- the Kona Lottery proceeds of 2014 (12,292 entries at $50 each plus 5,940 Passport entries, also at $50) totaling $911,600;
- the Kona Lottery proceeds of 2015 (14,254 entries at $50 each plus 6,889 Passport entries at $50) totaling $1,057,150;
- the proceeds of the Valentine’s Day 2014 lottery (1,352 entries at $50 each) totaling $67,600;
- the proceeds of the “Gift of Kona” 2014 drawing (1,423 entries at $50 each) totaling $71,150.
Under the terms of the forfeiture agreement, the U.S. Attorney and WTC stipulated to the forfeiture of proceeds from the lottery. Further, the agreement stipulates that it does not represent an admission of criminal or civil wrongdoing on the behalf of the WTC.
In a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office, WTC cooperated fully with the investigation, voluntarily providing any and all information regarding the matter, leading to a prompt resolution between the two parties.
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