A state lawmaker has asked for an audit to determine how a Bonduel, Wisconsin couple won three dozen second-chance state lottery drawings since 2000.
In 5½ years, Jeffrey B. and Lisa M. Hintz have won more than $40,000 in second-chance drawings, including $5,000 from five consecutive weekly drawings this March and April.
Since 2000, they've won another $26,000 from scratch-off tickets, other lottery games and the lottery's since-canceled television game show. In all, they have collected more than $68,000 during that time, according to records compiled by state Rep. David Cullen (D-Milwaukee).
Cullen said those winnings seem out of line and that an audit would ensure people maintain their faith in the lottery.
"You win that (second-chance drawing) for four or five weeks in a row, that becomes fairly improbable, (though) not impossible. . . . I just think the public needs to know that if we're running a lottery, that it's fair," he said Monday.
The couple's most recent winning streak started March 24, when they won $1,000 from the Super Second Chance drawing. They won $1,000 on each of the next four Thursdays.
WTMJ-TV (Channel 4) first reported the couple's spate of winnings last week. The Hintzes did not return calls.
Andrew Bohage, a lottery spokesman, said lottery officials started looking into the matter in April, after the couple won the second-chance drawing for the second straight week. No problems have been found, he said.
Agency employees have confirmed the winning entries are valid. Bohage said that they are reviewing internal procedures and checking with retailers to make sure no tickets have been stolen.
Cullen said he would prefer to see an independent review of the matter.
State Auditor Janice Mueller said she would wait until lottery officials concluded their inquiry before deciding whether to look into the matter.
Every week, the lottery randomly picks 10 people who mail in losing tickets, awarding each winner $1,000. The person who draws the entries is blindfolded and is accompanied by a Capitol police officer and an independent auditor.
The lottery receives about 70,000 entries a week, meaning the chances of winning per entry per week are roughly 1 in 7,000. Winning multiple times is far less likely.
People can enter as often as they like, and with each entry their chances of winning rise. Each entry must include $5 in losing tickets, so someone with $20 in losing tickets could enter four times.
There is no prohibition on sending in tickets found on the street or in garbage cans, Bohage said.
People with access to numerous losing tickets, such as retailers, are not barred from entering the second-chance sweepstakes.
Bohage said that the second-chance drawings have a "niche audience" and that people often enter multiple times. Lottery officials have not checked how many entries the Hintzes submitted in recent weeks, he said.
Officials also have not determined whether others have won an unusually high number of second-chance games.
Cullen's records, which Bohage called accurate, show the Hintzes have won second-chance drawings 36 times since 2000, in amounts ranging from $750 to $3,000. While the Super Second Chance has only $1,000 prizes, earlier second-chance games had prizes of other amounts.
For other games, their largest single winning came in December 2004, when Lisa Hintz won $5,000 on the Pick 4 game.