Shafaqna (International Shia News Agency) – The Grand Ayatollah Sistani answered some questions regarding lottery. According to Shafaqna the questions and answers are as follows:
Question: I work at an exchange office but they also make me sell lottery. Is it permitted to sell lottery in this case?
Answer: Buying and selling lottery tickets are not permissible. Yes, it is permissible to take part in a lottery with the intention to contribute in a charitable project such as building a mosque or a bridge not with the intention of earning a profit or a prize.
Question: [Lottery] is a well-known game in America and is the closest thing to [yanasib], if it is not exactly the same. Is it permissible for a Muslim to engage in the sale of lotteries with special machines with the justification that it is rescuing (istinqadh) wealth from the hands of the unbelievers?
Answer: If he is authorized by an established company to offer and distribute them (lottery tickets) among non-Muslims, then it is permitted and he should seize the wealth with the justification of rescuing (istinqadh) it and not with the intent of selling (the lottery tickets). Alternatively, the Muslim seller takes it (money) in return for his relinquishment of his right (over the lottery tickets), if he had any special right over them.
Source: Ayatollah Sistani