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The IRS would take far more than 25%, plus any to state if you won in a state with an income tax.

Um, not in CA:

There is no state tax on Lottery winnings. If you choose "Cash Value," federal tax will be withheld from your winnings at the rate of 25% for US citizens and 30% for all others. If you choose the "Annual Payment" option you will be responsible for paying federal tax on an annual basis and the rate will vary year to year.

He was claiming to win in Vegas, anyway, which doesn't have a state income tax (or a state lottery).

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