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Texas Lottery chief admits jackpots were inflated

Texas LotteryTexas Lottery: Texas Lottery chief admits jackpots were inflated

[Editor: After reading the story, be sure to watch the video report that follows, which provides interesting interviews of the key individuals in this report.]

If you've been playing Texas Lotto lately, you may have been playing for less than you thought.

Texas Lottery officials admitted Friday they inflated their jackpot numbers on four separate occasions.

"I will be studying it very closely and clearly to be sure this doesn't happen again," Texas Lottery Commission Executive Director Reagan Greer said.

On June 8, officials advertised the Lotto Texas jackpot drawing at $8 million. An internal investigation afterward showed that officials knew ticket sales could only pay for a $6.5 million prize.

One lottery official said they used the higher estimate to keep players interested in the game.

"The big picture of what this is all focused on is that the Lotto Texas game, which has been around since the beginning of the lottery, is in trouble," Greer said. "We know it's in trouble because the ticket sales show us that."

Greer fielded questions from lottery commissioners in the first public meeting since the June 8th drawing.

As executive director, Greer signed off on the inflated estimates.

"If there's going to be a deviation from the numbers that are calculated, there has to be a very specific reason, and there has to be some very hard questions asked. It cannot be a system where you're just signing off on this," Texas Lottery Commissioner Rolando Olivera said.

Greer defended the estimates of the lottery commission.

"When you're looking at an estimate, an estimate three to five days ahead is a moving target," Greer said.

But Dawn Nettles with the watchdog group Texas Lotto Report disagreed.

"You can have a pretty close idea of what's going to be there. We want truth in advertising, we need consumer protections," Nettles said.

Shortly after the June 8, drawing Nettles filed a complaint with the Texas Attorney General's Office, which looked into the complaint and then asked the Lottery Commission to conduct an internal investigation.

Nettles believes the inflated numbers were more than just a miscalculation.

"The reason they advertised $8 million is because they knew there wouldn't be a winner, and they figured nobody would know any better. The game is too difficult to win...They're only selling two million tickets but there are 47 million combinations," Nettles said.

The Texas Lottery Commission said the agency guarantees prize winners the advertised jackpot amount.

Nettles said that's part of the problem. She said the guarantee rule has resulted in numerous overpayments, and that since May 2003, lottery officials have overpaid winners by millions of dollars.

There was no word from the commissioners on what, if any, punishment Greer will face for signing off on the inflated jackpots.

Earlier this month, one of the Texas Lottery's financial directors resigned. According to public information officers, the resignation was over personal matters, not the jackpot controversey.

News 8 Austin

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19 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by Rip Snorter.
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bobby623's avatar - abstract
San Angelo, Texas
United States
Member #1097
January 31, 2003
1394 Posts
Offline
Posted: June 27, 2005, 4:20 pm - IP Logged

I think all of this shows how greedy the Texas lottery has become.

They meet every month and spend lot of time talking about profit. They have demonstrated over and over that they will do anything to make an extra buck.

The commission has known for a long time that the Texas population and player pool are not large enough to support a jackpot-driven game.

Be interesting to see what happens next.

My bet is that Greer will get a gentle slap on the hand be made to promise that he won't do it again, just like before when he purchased equipment for the current Texas Lotto matrix before it was approved by the commission.

 

 

 

    konane's avatar - wallace
    Atlanta, GA
    United States
    Member #1265
    March 13, 2003
    3333 Posts
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    Posted: June 27, 2005, 5:59 pm - IP Logged

    I think all of this shows how greedy the Texas lottery has become.

    They meet every month and spend lot of time talking about profit. They have demonstrated over and over that they will do anything to make an extra buck.

    The commission has known for a long time that the Texas population and player pool are not large enough to support a jackpot-driven game.

    Be interesting to see what happens next.

    My bet is that Greer will get a gentle slap on the hand be made to promise that he won't do it again, just like before when he purchased equipment for the current Texas Lotto matrix before it was approved by the commission.

     

     

     

    Sounds like a real gem!!  Dead 

    Guess it never occurred to any of them that sales might be ok if they listened to what people want in the way of lottery games instead of listening to all the genius talking heads driven by short term profit above all else.

    Good luck to everyone!

      jeffrey's avatar - moon
      Hamilton, OH
      United States
      Member #4162
      March 27, 2004
      277 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: June 28, 2005, 7:48 am - IP Logged

      Lotteries are the goose that laid the golden egg to some people. Truth is sometimes they just don't meet expectations and people lose interest (especially if there are infrequent winners or winners too frequently) High jackpots or guaranteed jackpots daily seem to draw people. Do they have a multistate game?

        jeffrey's avatar - moon
        Hamilton, OH
        United States
        Member #4162
        March 27, 2004
        277 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: June 28, 2005, 7:49 am - IP Logged

        Yep, mega-millions, they should dump the lotto and put in a 5 number draw.

         

          Avatar
          New Mexico
          United States
          Member #12305
          March 10, 2005
          2984 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: June 28, 2005, 8:57 am - IP Logged

          "The big picture of what this is all focused on is that the Lotto Texas game, which has been around since the beginning of the lottery, is in trouble," Greer said.

          A lottery in trouble is an intriguing state of affairs.  A giant, "Going out of business sale!", HUNDREDS OF ITEMS HALF PRICE on the billboards a couple of times a year might help.  Works for hardware stores, drugstores, jewelry stores.

          Maybe a weekly special on numbers that come from fortune cookies.... in fact, maybe a fortune cookie you break open to get your quickpick would be nice.

          If the odds against the player were the problem MM would be in trouble..... it has to be the prizes.  Texas has a chance here to set a whole new path for lotteries.... every couple of years they offer up the governorship as top prize..... Speaker of the House the September prior to every legislative session..... State Treasurer, second prize, Comptroller General, every January.

          This would have a dual purpose of sparking interest in both the lottery, and politics.  Plus it would almost certainly improve the quality of individuals in high office.

          Jack

            konane's avatar - wallace
            Atlanta, GA
            United States
            Member #1265
            March 13, 2003
            3333 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: June 28, 2005, 9:43 am - IP Logged

            Go back to 6-50 and as someone else suggested do a big ad campaign around the return of a classic "meat and potatoes" game that worked and people seemed to like.

            Good luck to everyone!

              Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
              Chief Bottle Washer
              New Jersey
              United States
              Member #1
              May 31, 2000
              23260 Posts
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              Posted: June 28, 2005, 10:06 am - IP Logged

              Go back to 6-50 and as someone else suggested do a big ad campaign around the return of a classic "meat and potatoes" game that worked and people seemed to like.

              I Agree! yes, Yes, YES!

               

              Check the State Lottery Report Card
              What grade did your lottery earn?

               

              Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
              Help eliminate computerized drawings!


                United States
                Member #379
                June 5, 2002
                11296 Posts
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                Posted: June 28, 2005, 10:08 am - IP Logged

                6/50 would be too small for TX. Maybe 6/53 or 6/54.

                  fwlawrence's avatar - Yavill
                  Austin
                  United States
                  Member #9378
                  December 6, 2004
                  210 Posts
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                  Posted: June 28, 2005, 12:35 pm - IP Logged

                  Jeffrey- We have a 5 number draw-Cash 5.

                    fwlawrence's avatar - Yavill
                    Austin
                    United States
                    Member #9378
                    December 6, 2004
                    210 Posts
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                    Posted: June 28, 2005, 12:36 pm - IP Logged

                    Jeffrey- We have a 5 number draw-Cash 5.

                      Avatar
                      Fort Worth
                      United States
                      Member #4717
                      May 20, 2004
                      46 Posts
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                      Posted: June 29, 2005, 3:15 am - IP Logged

                      We also have a 4/35+1/35 game called Texas Two Step with a rolling jackpot that starts at $200k.  Overall odds in that game are 1:32

                      Overall odds in Lotto Texas are 1:57

                      The odds and payouts at the lower tiers are so bad with Lotto that people just get sick of playing.

                      If it were up to me, I'd add a couple of balls to Texas Two Step, run it 4 days a week and dump Texas Lotto.

                       


                        United States
                        Member #16612
                        June 2, 2005
                        3493 Posts
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                        Posted: June 29, 2005, 6:01 pm - IP Logged

                        I would definately end Texas Lotto if there's a jackpot winner and the Texas Two Step starts for 4 nights a week.

                          LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                          Tennessee
                          United States
                          Member #7853
                          October 15, 2004
                          11338 Posts
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                          Posted: July 30, 2005, 12:31 am - IP Logged

                          Go back to 6-50 and as someone else suggested do a big ad campaign around the return of a classic "meat and potatoes" game that worked and people seemed to like.

                          I Agree!


                            United States
                            Member #379
                            June 5, 2002
                            11296 Posts
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                            Posted: August 5, 2005, 1:38 pm - IP Logged

                            Lotto TX does not have a 0+1 prize.