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Vermont family turns losing lottery tickets into cash

Vermont LotteryVermont Lottery: Vermont family turns losing lottery tickets into cash
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The game's got a new name and some new rules, but when it comes to competing for cash prizes in the Vermont Lottery's second-chance, scratch-off ticket drawing, the money keeps rolling in for the Leamy family of Wilder.

Last week, when the $200 winners in the first drawing for the "Play It Again" game were announced, Joyce Leamy was on the list.

It was the 52nd time in six years that someone in the Leamy family has won prizes or cash for submitting a losing scratch-off Vermont Lottery ticket in the second-chance contest.

That's according to a review of the list of winners in "Play It Again" and "Recycle And Win," the game it replaced in June. About 100 people win $200 cash prizes in each quarterly drawing, out of a total of between 250,000 and 500,000 participants.

"It's just a numbers game," said Robert Leamy, Joyce's husband and the admitted mastermind behind the family's success at the lottery game. "The more you enter, the more likely you're going to win."

It's been a lucrative undertaking as well.

Counting the $200 that Joyce Leamy won last week, five members of the Leamy family have together won $10,300 in cash and prizes through the submission of thousands of used scratch-off tickets to the Vermont Lottery since 2006. And that doesn't count the times a boyfriend or girlfriend of one of the Leamys' adult children have won money, too.

"When our last child went off to college, my wife said I needed to get a hobby," Robert Leamy, an employee of the Veterans Administration, said modestly. "So I did."

Robert Leamy's game plan isn't complicated and it's perfectly legal.

Every day or so, he collects piles of discarded scratch-off tickets from a couple of what he said were "large volume" ticket buyers and from several area stores that sell the tickets. He then goes through the process of submitting them for the second-chance game under his name or that of his wife and children.

"A lot of people who play the scratch games want that instant winner feeling," he said. "They don't have the patience to wait three months to see if the ticket can win on a second chance. And you have to put the work into it."

Hadley Melandy, marketing director for the Vermont Lottery, said there's nothing wrong with the way Leamy has played the game.

"The ticket isn't owned by anyone until they sign it," she said. "Once it's signed on the back, it belongs to that person. We don't have any law against people collecting non-win tickets."

The Leamys aren't the only Vermonters who show up as repeat winners in the game; a review of the winners lists over the past seven years found more than a dozen names that won multiple times. No one, however, has won as much or as often as the Leamys.

Leamy estimates he spends at least 10 hours a week on collecting used lottery tickets and sending them in. He said he also plays New Hampshire's second-chance lottery game, also with good results.

Most states have second chance games like Vermont's, said Greg Smith, the new director of the Vermont Lottery.

"It gives people another chance to win," Smith said. "It also drives people to our web site and that gives us a chance to provide information about other promotions and offers for the lottery player."

Leamy said the rules of the new "Play It Again" game will make it tougher for his family members to win than the "Recycle and Win" one it replaced, largely because the rules of the new game limit a household to one winning ticket per quarter.

Under the old game's rules, sometimes as many as three different Leamys living at the family's home in Wilder were $200 winners in the same drawing. Once, four Leamys — including a son living in Madison, Wisc. — won money at the same time, plus a girlfriend of one of his sons.

The new game also requires using a computer to send in the ticket number and code. That's OK with Leamy, who used to have to sign the back of each ticket and drive bags of them up to the Vermont Lottery headquarters in Barre in order to enter them in the old "Recycle and Win" drawings.

"I'd crunch every single one up," Leamy said. "It made them easier to grab during the drawings."

Now, it's all digital: A computer randomly selects the winners, so the option of crunching up tickets for an extra advantage is gone. Melandy, the Vermont Lottery marketing director, said there have been few complaints with the changes in the new game, particularly with the computerization of ticket submissions.

"I think people are getting up to speed with it," she said.

Leamy said the switch to computer submissions doesn't bother him, but the one-win-per-household rule is another matter.

"We're probably not going to win as much," he said.

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

Thanks to rdgrnr for the tip.

Burlington Free Press

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17 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by sully16.
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Avatar
Texas
United States
Member #132460
September 4, 2012
483 Posts
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Posted: November 6, 2012, 7:35 am - IP Logged

Are they born with so much luck in lottery game scratch off? Or this family is really the luckiest family in Vermont.  Probably, I will try to collect used lottery tickets too, maybe I'll get my chances too.

    Cletu$2's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
    S.E.Iowa
    United States
    Member #120509
    December 21, 2011
    534 Posts
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    Posted: November 6, 2012, 8:54 am - IP Logged

    Second chances are more lucrative in Iowa than the original lottery tickets.When you buy a lottery ticket you are lucky if you get your money back,let alone win some money.I've scored pretty well on the second chances.Iowa has a thing called "Play it Again" where you enter the numbers and codes of your losing tickets on the lotterys website and buy prizes with the points that you accumulate.I've scored a 27 in. flat screen t.v.,a stereo,vacume cleaner and a camcorder for my daughter,a vacuume cleaner & carpet shampooer for my wife and tools for myself.My wife and I both pick up other peoples losing lottery tickets out of waste cans next to lottery machines in stores.We have very little cash invested because we seldom buy scratch off tickets ourselves.I haven't won any cash yet,but I'm hoping to this holiday season because Iowa has a promotion going on right now where there is a cash prize.

    When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow

    There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers

      Lotto Dreamer's avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
      New Member

      United States
      Member #134209
      October 21, 2012
      8 Posts
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      Posted: November 6, 2012, 1:33 pm - IP Logged

      It doesn't sound very lucrative to me. The story doesn't say how much time each family member puts into it or how much each family member has received in payouts, but it does say the father puts in 10 hours per week.

      Even if he was the sole winner, his 10 hours per week over six years equals 3120 hours total. Divide the $10,300 total winnings by 3120 hours and it equals $3.30 per hour before taxes. There is some driving involved, so with the added expense of gas/wear & tear on the vehicle, his hourly payout would be even less.

      Since the entire family is involved, the payouts are spread out over all family members and his hourly payout before taxes is actually even less still.

        IPlayWeekly's avatar - avatarmoney
        Columbus, Ohio
        United States
        Member #128911
        June 5, 2012
        414 Posts
        Online
        Posted: November 6, 2012, 3:37 pm - IP Logged

        Good hobby, everyone has a chance if you put the work and effort in

          Avatar

          United States
          Member #972
          December 30, 2002
          461 Posts
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          Posted: November 6, 2012, 11:51 pm - IP Logged

          I do the same thing, and I've also won many prizes over the past 6 years
          (but no grand prizes).  As far as "Is it worth it?", it's a hobby, you have to
          like finding and entering the tickets.  It's not for everyone. But I do know its cheaper than the
          regular lottery and I have an okay chance of winning just because I enter
          many found tickets per drawing.  I've given a lot of prizes to friends
          and fun raising raffles, so being able to help out and make people
          happy is a reward that keeps me going while I try for the big one.

          Don't be too impressed with the $10,000 figure.  The lottery values these
          prizes on the high side.  I do know that like me, they have worked for their prizes.

            weshar75's avatar - Lottery-042.jpg
            Mcminnville, Oregon
            United States
            Member #3013
            December 13, 2003
            2339 Posts
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            Posted: November 7, 2012, 12:07 am - IP Logged

            It looks like Vermont is going to make it harder for this family to continue to win with computerized drawings.  That sucks!-weshar75

            US Flag


              United States
              Member #111446
              May 25, 2011
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              Posted: November 7, 2012, 7:53 am - IP Logged

              It looks like Vermont is going to make it harder for this family to continue to win with computerized drawings.  That sucks!-weshar75

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              Puke


                United States
                Member #116272
                September 7, 2011
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                Posted: November 7, 2012, 8:02 am - IP Logged

                       Hyper


                  United States
                  Member #116272
                  September 7, 2011
                  20244 Posts
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                  Posted: November 7, 2012, 8:02 am - IP Logged

                  Puke

                         Hyper


                    United States
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                    September 7, 2011
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                    Posted: November 7, 2012, 8:04 am - IP Logged

                    It doesn't sound very lucrative to me. The story doesn't say how much time each family member puts into it or how much each family member has received in payouts, but it does say the father puts in 10 hours per week.

                    Even if he was the sole winner, his 10 hours per week over six years equals 3120 hours total. Divide the $10,300 total winnings by 3120 hours and it equals $3.30 per hour before taxes. There is some driving involved, so with the added expense of gas/wear & tear on the vehicle, his hourly payout would be even less.

                    Since the entire family is involved, the payouts are spread out over all family members and his hourly payout before taxes is actually even less still.

                    Perhaps its a "right to work" state like AZ......


                      United States
                      Member #116272
                      September 7, 2011
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                      Posted: November 7, 2012, 8:08 am - IP Logged

                      Perhaps Mr. Leaming is a dumpster diver....??? What?

                        RedStang's avatar - 20140808 010507Custom_zps4cde8ec4.jpg
                        Dutchess , NY
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                        Member #121966
                        January 21, 2012
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                        Posted: November 7, 2012, 9:56 am - IP Logged

                        Some of our tickets say nothing about second chance drawings and usually get tossed. Had to explain what is was to a lady once.


                          United States
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                          May 25, 2011
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                          Posted: November 7, 2012, 10:22 am - IP Logged

                          Perhaps Mr. Leaming is a dumpster diver....??? What?

                          Dumpster divers are the backbone of our economy.

                          May God bless them all, in their quest for hidden treasures located deep within our smelliest garbage.  Blue Angel

                            helpmewin's avatar - dandy
                            u$a
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                            February 22, 2011
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                            Posted: November 7, 2012, 12:09 pm - IP Logged

                            Dumpster divers are the backbone of our economy.

                            May God bless them all, in their quest for hidden treasures located deep within our smelliest garbage.  Blue Angel

                            mcginnin56 sounds like you have competition oh The rivalry Scared

                             

                             

                             

                            Win BIG Party