As the State of Maryland continues its effort to administer COVID-19 vaccines and end the pandemic, Governor Larry Hogan, the Maryland Lottery, and the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) today announced the launch of the $2 Million VaxCash Promotion, which will award $2 million in cash prizes to a total of 41 Maryland residents who have been vaccinated.
Daily drawings will be held from Tuesday, May 25 through Sunday, July 4. Maryland residents 18 and older who have received a COVID-19 vaccination in Maryland at any time are eligible to win. No registration or entry is needed.
Each day from May 25 through July 3, one winner will be randomly drawn to win a $40,000 prize. The $2 Million VaxCash Promotion wraps up on the Fourth of July when a final drawing will award one winner a grand prize of $400,000.
“Go out and get vaccinated to protect yourself, your family, your friends, and your fellow Marylanders,” said Governor Hogan. “And if you needed one more good reason, then go out and get vaccinated for your chance to win a share of this $2 million. So remember Maryland—get your shot for a shot to win.”
As part of an unprecedented partnership, the Lottery will work in close collaboration with MDH on the $2 Million VaxCash Promotion. Each Maryland resident age 18 or older who has been vaccinated in Maryland will be randomly assigned a number in a secure system maintained by MDH, which serves as the custodian of Maryland’s vaccination records. Separately, the Lottery will use a random number generator to select a winning number each day from the total number of people who have been vaccinated.
“Getting more people vaccinated is good for Maryland, and this is a promotion the Lottery is especially proud to be part of,” said Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director Gordon Medenica. “And most importantly, putting COVID-19 in the rearview mirror is great for Maryland’s businesses. We know everyone is eager for a fun-filled summer where the pandemic is a distant memory.”
MDH will notify the winners, who must provide written consent of their willingness to accept the prize. Then, the Lottery will contact the winners with instructions on how to claim. Winners will be permitted to remain anonymous, but will certainly be encouraged to share their stories.
“I am beyond proud of every single vaccinated Marylander who has stepped up to protect themselves and keep Maryland safe and healthy.” said Maryland Department of Health Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. “We need every eligible Marylander vaccinated, and this lottery is a further incentive to get a life-saving vaccination to ensure we leave no arm behind in our fight to put this pandemic behind us.”
Prizes will be paid directly from the Lottery’s marketing budget, and will not at all diminish the Lottery’s contribution to the Maryland General Fund. Since its inception in 1973, the Maryland Lottery has awarded more than $28.2 billion in prizes to players and contributed nearly $17.3 billion to the State of Maryland. One of Maryland’s largest revenue sources, the Lottery supports important state programs and services including education, public safety and health, human resources, and the environment.
For more information, go to mdlottery.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the $2 Million VaxCash Promotion?
To incentivize Marylanders to get the COVID-19 vaccination, the Maryland Lottery will award one vaccinated person per day a $40,000 prize every day from May 25 through July 3. And on July 4, a final drawing will be held to award one vaccinated person a $400,000 prize.
How do I enter?
Entry is simple: All you have to do is be a Maryland resident and get at least one vaccination for COVID-19 in Maryland. There are no extra steps. Certain employees of the Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland Lottery, as well as certain vendor employees are not eligible. See official rules for details.
What if I am already vaccinated? Am I still eligible?
Yes. Maryland residents who have received at least one vaccination for COVID-19 administered in Maryland at any time are eligible.
Can my kids enter?
Winners must be at least 18 years of age.
How will you conduct the drawings?
The drawings will be conducted using a random number generator – a computer program that will randomly select a number from within the range of those provided to the Maryland Lottery by the Maryland Department of Health. The Maryland Lottery will not have anyone’s name. We’ll be drawing numbers only.
How will I be notified if I won?
Winners will first receive a notification from the Maryland Department of Health, which will send each winner a “$2 Million VaxCash Promotion Authorization Form” that will allow the Maryland Department of Health to release information to the Maryland Lottery. Winners must sign and return the authorization form to the Maryland Department of Health in order to accept the prize. By signing and returning the form, winners will give the Maryland Department of Health consent to provide their names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses to the Maryland Lottery so that the Lottery can contact winners to guide them through the claims process.
How will the Maryland Lottery know that I have been vaccinated? How is my personal data being protected?
The Maryland Department of Health maintains the records and personal data of those who have had COVID-19 vaccinations administered in Maryland within a secure computer system. The Maryland Lottery has no access to that system. The Maryland Department of Health will randomly assign a number to each person for the purposes of this promotion.
Each day, the Maryland Department of Health will report to the Maryland Lottery the total number of Maryland residents 18 or older who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination administered in Maryland that was received and accepted as valid in the Immunization Information System, ImmuNet. This report will not include anyone’s identity or other personal information.
The Maryland Lottery will use a random number generator to draw a winning number each day from within the range provided by the Maryland Department of Health. The Maryland Department of Health will then make the initial contact with winners. The Maryland Lottery will only receive the winners’ names and contact information after they have signed and returned their “$2 Million VaxCash Promotion Authorization Form” to the Maryland Department of Health.
The Maryland Lottery will then guide the winners through its standard prize claiming process, which requires each winner to provide a copy of their Social Security Number, a valid photo ID, and a signed Maryland Lottery claim form. Prizes can be claimed by mail or in person, by appointment only at Maryland Lottery headquarters in Baltimore.
Can I remain anonymous if I win?
The winners of this promotion will be permitted to remain anonymous. For winners from larger towns with populations of 60,000 or more, the location of the winners’ hometowns will be published. For winners from smaller towns, only the winners’ home counties will be published.
What if I was vaccinated out of state?
The drawings are open to Maryland residents who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination administered in Maryland. The State of Maryland does not have access to vaccination records from other jurisdictions.
Do I have to pay taxes on my winnings?
For tax purposes, the prize will be treated like any other Maryland Lottery prize. For all prizes larger than $5,000, taxes are automatically deducted (24% for federal tax and 8.95% for Maryland resident state tax). Outstanding obligations to state and child support arrears will be deducted from the prizes if winners owe any such debts. The Maryland Lottery encourages the winners of all large prizes to consider speaking with a qualified tax professional.
If I had more than one COVID-19 shot, do I have more than one chance to win? Can I win more than once?
No. Each Maryland resident who has had at least one COVID-19 vaccination administered in Maryland will be listed in the Maryland Department of Health’s system only once and is included in every drawing thereafter. But each person is only eligible to win once.
Is there a deadline to participate in the drawings?
The last drawing of the promotion will be held on July 4, 2021. You must be vaccinated, and a record of your vaccination must be received and accepted as valid in the State of Maryland’s Immunization Information System, ImmuNet, by 11:59:59 p.m. on July 3, 2021 to be eligible.
What if I don’t want to participate in the drawings?
Winners who do not wish to accept the prize may decline when they are contacted by the Maryland Department of Health.
Where is the money coming from to pay for this promotion? Will it affect education funding?
The prize money will be paid from the Maryland Lottery’s Marketing Fund, which is used for advertising and promotions. The money has already been allocated to the Maryland Lottery for that purpose, and the VaxCash Promotion will not reduce the amount of the Maryland Lottery’s contributions to public schools and other state programs.
I asked the following question on Twitter to Mike Ricci (Communications Director for Governor Hogan):
“Are Maryland residents and veterans that received their COVID-19 vaccination through VA Maryland Health Care System eligible and automatically entered into this promotion?”
I also tagged the Maryland Department of Health and The VA Maryland Health Care System in my tweet.
Once I get a response from someone I will update this article.