A Christmas Day snafu at the South Carolina Lottery is similar to the Fun 5’s scratch-off scandal in Texas. However, the contrast between the way the Texas lottery treated their lottery players and the way the South Carolina lottery is treating their players says everything you need to know about the lottery in Texas.
First, when the South Carolina lottery found out that ticket holders were promised a prize on their tickets but were not receiving that prize, they shut the game down immediately. Compare that with the Texas Fun 5’s. When over 100 lottery players per day started calling the Texas Lottery offices to complain that they had been defrauded, the Texas Lottery staff immediately sprang into action and prepared to shut down the Fun 5’s game. All the Texas staff needed was the go-ahead from Executive Lottery director Gary Grief. Guess what. Grief let the game run for another seven weeks. That’s right. Over 100 lottery players per day were upset enough to call and report that the Fun 5’s ticket had defrauded them and Grief let the game continue to run. Why? We don’t know. Could it be because the Fun 5’s ticket was their best selling scratch-off ticket and Grief’s goal was to bring in as much money as possible, regardless of whether the players thought they were being defrauded?
The second contrast is in how the South Carolina lottery has acted towards their players since their snafu. The Associated Press reports that the South Carolina lottery has already voted to set aside $19.6 million which is the amount necessary to pay all the players who thought they had winning tickets. Guess how much the Texas Lottery set aside to pay Texas lottery players whose tickets said they were winners. Zero. That’s right, our own lottery told Texas players whose tickets said they were winners to take a hike. So much for fairness and honesty.
The third contrast is that the South Carolina lottery announced they were opening an investigation of Inralot, the lottery operator that printed the defective tickets and programmed the computers. More importantly, the South Carolina lottery is consulting with its attorneys to see what rights it has against Intralot. Don’t be surprised to see some action by the South Carolina lottery to make Intralot pay the lottery players for the mistake made by Intralot. By comparison, we aren’t aware of any action whatsoever on the part of the Texas Lottery to make Gtech/IGT , the lottery operator responsbile for the defective Fun 5’s tickets, pay the winning ticket holders here in Texas. Why the difference? Why did the Texas Lottery fail to take steps against Gtech/IGT? If any of you out there know the reason, let us know.
In the meantime, we are going to continue to shine a light on the lottery in Texas and to work to restore fairness and honesty to it. If you want to join us in that effort, fill out our Subscribe form to receive updates from us. Sign our Petition to Restore Fairness and Honesty to the Lottery in Texas. Send us your ideas on how we can make the lottery more fair and honest for the seven million Texans who enjoy playing the lottery.