BOISE, Idaho — Using undercover operatives and decoy high-tier winning tickets, the Idaho Lottery has concluded a four month investigation to protect the security and integrity of all its games. During the investigation, the Lottery evaluated cashing procedures of the decoy winning tickets at 128 of its 1150 retailers in 61 cities and towns across Idaho. The net result of the investigation showed that 100% of all Idaho Lottery retailers checked had met all of the security and integrity criteria.
"We believe protecting the security and integrity of our games is the highest priority for maintaining public confidence in our business," stated Jeff Anderson, Idaho Lottery Director. "This program was created specifically to protect our players and retailers from internal theft and fraud. The stores selected were a representative sample of all retail locations statewide. Our reputation for security and integrity remains unblemished."
The investigations began in April 2012. Idaho Lottery undercover operatives entered the retail locations and presented winning tickets for payment, ranging from $3 to $10,000 winners. These tickets were consistent in design and appearance of legitimate, current Idaho Lottery Scratch GamesTM. During the transactions, the retailer clerk's conduct was monitored to see if they understood the ticket redemption process, would assist the operative with Lottery questions, and to determine if any attempt to defraud the operative by retaining the ticket without providing a claim authorization receipt or by cashing the ticket and paying less than the value of the prize.
"The tickets presented for validation and claiming at all the stores looked and played like legitimate Idaho Lottery scratch tickets. When the clerk would scan one of the decoy tickets at a Lottery terminal, it triggered the audible "Winner, Winner!" tone, produced a "Claim at Lottery" receipt and advised the store clerk to tell the player, our operative, that the ticket needed to be claimed at the Lottery in Boise. The "Claim at Lottery" message indicates the ticket has a value of $600 or more." explained Anderson.
All of the Idaho Lottery retail locations checked during the investigation recognized the tickets as being high-tier winners. About 85% of them immediately instructed the operatives to sign the back of their ticket.
As the final step in this process, the Idaho Lottery will continue working with all of its retail partners and their employees on loss prevention programs to further maintain public confidence in all Idaho Lottery games.
"We work with our retailers every day, but the surest way for players to protect their prizes is to always sign the back of their tickets prior to presenting them for validation. This secures their ownership of the ticket," added Anderson. "Lottery tickets are bearer instruments and should be treated as cash. Whoever presents an unsigned ticket for payment is the owner of that ticket."