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Texas Lottery jackpot mess has critics enraged

Texas LotteryTexas Lottery: Texas Lottery jackpot mess has critics enraged

Editor's Note: The following opinion article is not necessarily the opinion of Lottery Post, but is presented to illustrate how the latest Texas Lottery gaffe has fueled the fires of long-time critics of the Texas Lottery Commission (TLC).  The article is written by Ken Rodriguez of the San Antonio Express-News.


Ken Rodriguez: How Texas lottery advertised make-believe payoff for suckers

The sleight-of-hand Texas Lottery Commission has done it again. On Wednesday, the commission turned the Texas Lotto into an illusion, advertising an $8 million jackpot that didn't exist.

Now you see it.

Now you don't.

Thanks for playing, sucker.

This was no accident. This was deception.

Five days before Wednesday's drawing, commission officials learned there wasn't enough money to fund the $8 million jackpot.

Slumping ticket sales and lagging interest rates had created the shortfall, the TLC said.

So did the commission alert the public?

No.

Did the commission adjust the advertised jackpot amount?

No.

Did the commission come clean and say, "We've got a problem"?

No.

The commission decided to do nothing. Or, to be more precise, the commission decided to keep taking your money for a game it couldn't fully fund.

If you had drawn the winning ticket, you would have collected roughly $1.3 million less than the advertised amount.

Fortunately for the TLC, no one claimed the jackpot. Imagine: The winner could have gone on TV to say, "I got cheated out of a million bucks."

Instead, when the story broke, commissioners said, gosh, we sure are sorry. And, gee, we've never had a shortfall this big before. And, please, do not lose confidence in the lottery.

And, oh, by the way, we're not rolling up the jackpot an extra million for Saturday's drawing. We're freezing it at $8 million. So, yippee, go out and buy more tickets!

Missing from this faux apology was a real explanation. The commission never said why it failed to reveal the shortfall before Wednesday's drawing.

Commission spokesman Bobby Heith said he didn't have an answer. He could only speculate.

And this was his best guess: "We were in uncharted waters and hoping sales would climb."

Hoping sales would climb?

Heith says Texas Lotto ticket sales are down 26 percent from the same time last year.

This latest lottery fiasco should not surprise.

The commission plays the public like a trick card dealer. What you see is not what you get.

With one hand, the commission offers an easy game. With the other hand, it takes your money.

Take scratch-offs. As of June 4, the top cash prizes had been claimed in 11 of the 76 scratch-off games offered. Even so, the TLC continues selling tickets for those 11 games, and people continue buying.

One game, Big Money Bonus Spectacular, promises a top prize of $1 million. That prize has been claimed, but tickets are still offered at 20 bucks a pop.

Anyone interested?

TLC could stand for Tricks, Lies and Cons. Consider some history.

For years, the commission has said the lottery does not hit the poor and uneducated harder than others.

Not true. A recent study by Texas Tech showed that Texans who earn the least spend more per player on the lottery than those in the highest income groups. The study also showed that high school dropouts spend more than three times as much as those with college degrees.

Tricks?

On three occasions, students in the statistics class of San Antonio College professor Gerald Busald have exposed erroneous lottery claims, forcing the commission to make corrections.

Lies?

In 2002, a reporter called then-TLC director Linda Cloud to ask about commissioner Walter Criner, who had resigned following an investigation into a sexual harassment complaint. Cloud said she knew nothing about the Criner investigation.

But she did, and when her lie and participation in a cover-up was exposed, she resigned.

If the TLC isn't honest about its own commissioners, why should it be honest about its games?

Truth in advertising seems foreign to the commission. If a lottery watchdog had not filed a complaint with the Texas Attorney General's Office last week, it's likely no one would know about the $1.3 million shortfall in the Texas Lotto jackpot.

Meanwhile, commissioners want you to believe the lottery is an honest game.

Even after Wednesday's drawing for a make-believe prize.

San Antonio Express-News

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10 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by LOTTOMIKE.
Page 1 of 1
atlasshrugged's avatar - candle
Alaska
United States
Member #16217
May 27, 2005
287 Posts
Offline
Posted: June 14, 2005, 11:50 am - IP Logged

I just looked at the LottoSouth ticket I bought on Saturday to find out what it said about the jackpot for that game. It said at the bottom of the ticket that the estimated jackpot was 7 million. The key word here is estimated! If I had won and the lottery commision had been off by a bit, I would have been disappointed but not truly ticked off. I mean, heck, anything would have been more than I had before the drawing. I really don't have any idea how these jackpot estimates are generated but I figure it has something to do with the previous weeks sales as well as the sales for that particular week in the year from past years. It seems to me that their estimates are mostly correct but I am sure that occasionally there is a slump that is unforseen and for no particular reason. I am sure that it is the same leftist group which is always putting any lottery down. The left hates the lottery and will do whatever they can to make the lottery commisions look bad. Why? Because when you win the lottery you no longer need them or their social programs. They also don't like the fact that to buy or not to buy a lottery ticket is a choice. They don't want any of us to have choices. But all this is another subject for another thread. I just see this mess of them coming down on the Texas lottery more of the same of what they have always been doing. An estimate is an estimate and they aren't always right.

As for them selling tickets on scratchoffs which the biggest prize had already been claimed. Uh dude, how many of the smaller prizes were still out there? Like I said before anything I win is more than I had before I played.-Bonnie

    Avatar
    Amarillo/Austin
    United States
    Member #1424
    April 25, 2003
    696 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: June 14, 2005, 12:06 pm - IP Logged

    Remember, the lottery was not created to make you happy or give you something to do in your spare time.  It was created to raise money for the state of (      ), you fill in the blank. 

    Orangeman                      Bash

      RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
      mid-Ohio
      United States
      Member #9
      March 24, 2001
      19821 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: June 14, 2005, 12:10 pm - IP Logged

      If sales are down 26% from last year, then it shouldn't be hard to figure that the amount of money for prizes would be down 26% too.  TLC had a chance to check their estimates with the actual figures after each drawings and should have adjusted their future estimates accordingly.  If they were trying to really be honest, they would have error on lower side of the actual amount, but that probably would reduced sales even further.

      RJOh

       * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
         
                   Evil Looking       


        United States
        Member #379
        June 5, 2002
        11296 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: June 14, 2005, 3:38 pm - IP Logged

        The TX government may be corrupt, but at least it doesn't force winners into annuities like Mass & NY.

          Avatar
          Amarillo/Austin
          United States
          Member #1424
          April 25, 2003
          696 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: June 14, 2005, 11:18 pm - IP Logged

          Texas is determined to make their cut, no matter what happens.  It happened . . .

          Orangeman              Crazy

            Tnplayer805's avatar - G 14_v78828750_Small.JPG
            North Dakota
            United States
            Member #13397
            April 5, 2005
            1623 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: June 15, 2005, 4:28 am - IP Logged

            If sales were are dropping it's time for a promotion.  Maybe if they buy $5 or $10 in tickets they get a QP free.  As for games where top prizes are sold out I will not buy them.  I like to know I'm not being lied to one the ticket were it says win up to so and so amount.  That's false advertisement too.

            How are you going to win if you don't play?


              United States
              Member #379
              June 5, 2002
              11296 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: June 15, 2005, 11:15 am - IP Logged

              That would be a good idea.

                LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                Tennessee
                United States
                Member #7853
                October 15, 2004
                11338 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: June 15, 2005, 3:51 pm - IP Logged

                i'm sure some people lost trust with the texas lottery...


                  United States
                  Member #379
                  June 5, 2002
                  11296 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: June 16, 2005, 10:35 am - IP Logged

                  There are other things to consider when comparing lotteries.

                    LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                    Tennessee
                    United States
                    Member #7853
                    October 15, 2004
                    11338 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: June 17, 2005, 6:37 am - IP Logged

                    Dupe Alertthe texas lottery lied,need i say more?