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Virginia Lottery to award partial prizes for faulty game

Virginia LotteryVirginia Lottery: Virginia Lottery to award partial prizes for faulty game

Amounts to about 25% of full prize; some players disappointed

Lottery officials announced Thursday that people who had bought misprinted tickets for a recently added game that said they'd won will receive some compensation for the tickets.

According to a news release, they "reached an agreement with its gaming services provider regarding the problem with the Fast Play Super 7's game. As a result, the Lottery, while not able to pay the expected prizes, is able to give some compensation to players for the unfortunate experience they encountered for a few hours on Sunday, October 19, 2008.

"'The recently launched Fast Play Super 7's game provided by GTECH Corporation to the Virginia Lottery contained a programming error that created an inaccurate impression in the playing area of the game ticket that made it appear that some combinations were entitled to prizes that they were not," commented Alan Eland, GTECH Senior Vice President.

"'While the integrity of the lottery system was not compromised, the confusion caused by the error in the game is regrettable. GTECH takes full responsibility for the issues related to the game's performance."

"Mr. Eland continued, "GTECH values its relationship with the Virginia Lottery and has entered into a settlement with the Lottery, the proceeds of which can be used at the Lottery's discretion."

"The incorrect tickets were printed on October 19, which was the first day of ticket sales for the new $2 computer game. The Lottery sold 2,336 tickets before sales were suspended. Of those, 609 printed incorrectly, showing prize levels ranging from $2 to $7,777.

"The Virginia Lottery, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General, determined that the Lottery must follow its official rules for the Fast Play Super 7's game. It is clearly explained on the back of every ticket that "Tickets are void if stolen, misprinted, mutilated, incomplete or cancelled, or do not meet the State Lottery validation tests." Virginia's Administrative Code contains similar restrictions. In the Super 7's incident, a software loading error caused misprinted tickets.

"Therefore, as a matter of law, the Virginia Lottery cannot pay the prizes that appeared on the misprinted tickets for the Super 7's game.

"'Rules are in place to protect players and the Lottery both when everything goes as expected and when there's a problem," said Virginia Lottery Executive Director Paula Otto. "It is critical that the Lottery follow its rules. However, in fairness to and in the best interest of Virginia Lottery players and retailers, the Lottery will offer all players who purchased what appears to be a winning Super 7's ticket the opportunity to redeem it for a cash payment from a Player Recognition Fund."

"The Player Recognition Fund is worth up to $1 million. The payouts to players will be given in recognition of the disappointment and inconvenience caused by the mistake, but will not equal the amount shown on the misprinted ticket. The Lottery estimates that it will pay approximately $2,000 for tickets showing a $7,777 prize, approximately $200 for tickets showing a $577 prize, and approximately $100 for tickets showing a $277 prize.

"'The Virginia Lottery is extremely disappointed about this error and the inconvenience it has caused our players and retailers," said Otto.

"'We realize this decision may not satisfy everyone affected, yet we feel it strikes the proper balance between the Lottery's legal responsibility to the Commonwealth and our goodwill to players."

"Players who purchased winning Super 7's tickets may complete an Application for Payment at a Lottery Customer Service Center or Lottery Headquarters. For office locations and contact information, players can call (804) 692-7778. Players can also request the form by e-mailing playerfund@valottery.com. Players can deliver the form to a Lottery office or mail it to:

The Virginia Lottery
Player Recognition Fund
P.O. Box 2489
Richmond, Virginia 23218-2489

"All Applications for Payment must be postmarked no later than 5:00 p.m.on Friday, November 21, 2008. The Virginia Lottery Security Department will gather information about all tickets. Applicants can be assured that the Lottery will work diligently to process applications as fairly and expeditiously as possible."

Players react to state's resolution

Inside Pembroke Stop-N-Save, manager of the store, Terry Reiss, is crunching numbers back in her office. She played the Super 7's game and knew she was supposed to win more than $7,000. After learning of the misprint, she didn't bother to scan her ticket.

"I didn't scan mine. I just held on to it like this because I didn't know what to do with it. So now I'm gonna scan it," Reiss said.

The computer screen pops up with a prize total of $2 — just like many of the other misprinted tickets.  The lottery says she'll be compensated $2,000.

"Well yeah, but it would be nicer if it was $7,777," Reiss laughed.

She's disappointed because she thought the lottery would decide to pay all the money.

At Hilltop Grocery in Newport, one couple was supposed to win more than $500 and now they'll get $200. They also expected the lottery to pay the full amount.

"Downfall. Let down, big time," said Linda Williams after she heard about the lottery's decision. Williams' husband played the game and was supposed to win $577.

Williams was there when she told her husband the news about the Virginia Lottery's decision.

"That's better than nothing," he said.

With the $577, Williams would have paid, "Bills, bills. Yeah, we're behind on a few bills so that would have been good."

Both Williams and Reiss have less faith in the lottery.

"It shows, to me in my opinion, it shows they don't expect that many winners at all," Reiss said.

But nobody with a misprinted ticket is walking away empty-handed.

Man unhappy enough to sue

One Virginia man may take legal action to get what he says he's owed.

Melvin Wright's tickets total $31,000 in winnings. The state's offer to pay $2,000 for each ticket, he says, isn't enough.

"If I was to contract a job and then sub one of the jobs out on that job and they make a mistake on it and won't come back and fix it, then I'm responsible to fix their mistake," says Wright.

Wright says he's contacted a lawyer and may take legal action. The fine print on each ticket does say the state is not liable for misprinted tickets. 

What do you think?

Were the tickets were misprinted and the lottery did the right thing, or did the lottery simply made a game that was too easy to win and should pay out in full?

WAVY, WDBJ, WSLS, Lottery Post Staff

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18 comments. Last comment 6 years ago by grengrad.
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wizeguy's avatar - animaniacs04

United States
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Posted: October 31, 2008, 11:20 pm - IP Logged

Gtech said they take full responsibility... the way I see it they should compensate in full then.


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    February 18, 2008
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    Posted: October 31, 2008, 11:37 pm - IP Logged

    Gtech said they take full responsibility... the way I see it they should compensate in full then.

    I Agree!  GTECH is a major player in the lottery industry.Paying those people what their tickets say they won would go a long way in good will.And they can afford it.

      Avatar

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      Posted: October 31, 2008, 11:38 pm - IP Logged

      Technically the right thing would be to pay all the holders of misprinted tickets $2 each. The problem is that even the $2K compensation although better than only $2 is still a letdown (or worse depending on one's financial situation) after thinking it would be $7777. There is still going to be significant negative publicity and from now on when someone gets a ticket that shows a big prize don't assume it's real and don't celebrate until the check clears from Lottery HQ. Be very careful with new games or when games go computerized the first time. They better not be crying the blues when their sales slip such that it would have been cheaper in the long run just to pay everybody. This is baloney they can't afford $4M even paid in installments if they're as broke as they claim. And they also are saying there were some $577 and such prizes, how many total of each kind, maybe the 600+ weren't all the top prize? The VA Lottery should just pay whatever it was printed and then take it up in court with GTech or whoever.

        bashley572's avatar - starwars14
        West Side of Sunny Florida
        United States
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        September 8, 2007
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        Posted: November 1, 2008, 11:28 am - IP Logged

        It will be interesting to see what it does to ticket sales.  If they DROP then VA will learn that they did the wrong thing by not paying in full.  If they DONT drop then VA will know what they did is right.

        Money won is twice as good as money earned!

          time*treat's avatar - radar

          United States
          Member #13130
          March 30, 2005
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          Posted: November 1, 2008, 11:34 am - IP Logged

          More likely, in the future, they will add something along the lines of saying they are not responsible for misprints, errors, omissions, etc. beyond the cash cost of the ticket. Ponder

          I'd say these guys should be happy with their (less than expected) profit, 'cause the next group will only get their 2 bucks back.

          In neo-conned Amerika, bank robs you.
          Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store, not a govnoment agency.

            ThatScaryChick's avatar - AbnSTiA

            United States
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            November 21, 2007
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            Posted: November 1, 2008, 12:17 pm - IP Logged

            Gtech said they take full responsibility... the way I see it they should compensate in full then.

            I agree, but at least they are getting something. I was expecting them to not give the people with mistake tickets anything. Although, I think they did this to avoid lawsuits.

            "No one remembers the person who almost climbed the mountain, only the person who eventually gets to the top."

              spy153's avatar - maren

              United States
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              December 15, 2005
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              Posted: November 1, 2008, 1:44 pm - IP Logged

              I agree, but at least they are getting something. I was expecting them to not give the people with mistake tickets anything. Although, I think they did this to avoid lawsuits.

              I think 2K is a reasonable substitution.  It was a mistake.  Everyone makes mistakes.  But to keep from making future mistakes, they should have to pay more than just the ticket price to compensate the consumer for false wins.  If they didn't do something like they did here, I would not allow my husband to buy another single ticket in VA at all.   No one deserves to be mislead continuously.  And of late, that is what has been happening with the scratch offs and p3's (TN) and such.  If they don't pay something substantial enough to hurt a little, the mistakes would continue and consumers would stop buying the tickets.  Then, before you know it, the scratch offs will be a thing of the past.  We don't want that now, do we?

              voir-vous dans mes reves!Cool

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                Texas
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                February 24, 2008
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                Posted: November 1, 2008, 2:31 pm - IP Logged

                they got something... buncha whiners.

                 

                They got 25% which is more than the 0% they should have been expecting before they even bought the ticket.

                Luck is the residue of design.


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                  February 18, 2008
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                  Posted: November 1, 2008, 6:31 pm - IP Logged

                  they got something... buncha whiners.

                   

                  They got 25% which is more than the 0% they should have been expecting before they even bought the ticket.

                  Buncha whiners?

                  I don't think so.They spent their hard earned money on the tickets.The tickets said that they were winners.They should be paid the full amount of what the tickets say they won.It wasn't the customers fault that the tickets were misprinted.The state and GTECH need to step up to the plate and pay what they owe.The customers got screwed and it was the state and GTECH's fault.A blind man can see that!The only reason the state isn't paying the full amount is because the state knows that it will cost the customers more to hire attorneys than they will get when they win the case.I hope people in Virginia boycott the lottery and cost the state millions.

                    RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                    mid-Ohio
                    United States
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                    Posted: November 1, 2008, 6:51 pm - IP Logged

                    It's clear that players can't profit from any mistakes made on their lottery tickets.

                    "The Virginia Lottery, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General, determined that the Lottery must follow its official rules for the Fast Play Super 7's game. It is clearly explained on the back of every ticket that "Tickets are void if stolen, misprinted, mutilated, incomplete or cancelled, or do not meet the State Lottery validation tests."

                    "Therefore, as a matter of law, the Virginia Lottery cannot pay the prizes that appeared on the misprinted tickets for the Super 7's game."

                    They are lucky the lottery is willing to pay them more than the game was designed to payout just to get on with it. 
                     

                    * you don't need more tickets, just the right ticket * 
                    * your best chance at winning a lottery jackpot is to buy a ticket * 
                         Wink 


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                      February 18, 2008
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                      Posted: November 1, 2008, 7:23 pm - IP Logged

                      It's clear that players can't profit from any mistakes made on their lottery tickets.

                      "The Virginia Lottery, in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General, determined that the Lottery must follow its official rules for the Fast Play Super 7's game. It is clearly explained on the back of every ticket that "Tickets are void if stolen, misprinted, mutilated, incomplete or cancelled, or do not meet the State Lottery validation tests."

                      "Therefore, as a matter of law, the Virginia Lottery cannot pay the prizes that appeared on the misprinted tickets for the Super 7's game."

                      They are lucky the lottery is willing to pay them more than the game was designed to payout just to get on with it. 
                       

                      Just because its legal doesn't make it right.These people were cheated and I'm betting that few of them will forget what the Virginia lottery did to them.I know I wouldn't forget.

                        time*treat's avatar - radar

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                        Posted: November 1, 2008, 7:43 pm - IP Logged

                        Overall, scratcher ticket sales could go up on people hoping to cash in on the next batch of misprints.

                        In neo-conned Amerika, bank robs you.
                        Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store, not a govnoment agency.

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                          Posted: November 1, 2008, 8:18 pm - IP Logged

                          The Virginia Lottery needs a wake up call.  I think a class action lawsuit might be a start.  They are wrong with the decision and other state lotteries have set precedent.  The winners need a good lawyer.

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                            Posted: November 1, 2008, 8:19 pm - IP Logged

                            Homer Simpson is a cartoon, this is reality