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Texas lawmakers to grill lottery officials about inflated jackpots

Texas LotteryTexas Lottery: Texas lawmakers to grill lottery officials about inflated jackpots

Texas lottery officials could face tough questions and some nasty wrist-slapping today when they testify before lawmakers about inflating several Texas Lotto jackpot estimates.

But they would face more scrutiny under a bill filed Tuesday that forces the lottery to comply with laws against deceptive trade practices.

Sen. Jane Nelson said recent revelations that lottery officials advertised bigger jackpots than they could afford to pay out jeopardize the integrity of the game and the government that sanctioned it.

''It was deceptive. How can you put up a billboard that says you've got $8 million in the jackpot when they only have 6.5 in the kitty?'' said Nelson, R-Lewisville. ''If the public is not confident that what we're advertising is accurate, you will see, I think, sales will drop to a much greater extent. People have to have confidence, and if their government isn't being honest, then we're in bad shape."

A lottery spokesman has said the commission broke no rules by overstating jackpot amounts. And, under current law, the lottery commission is not subject to the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which generally regulates advertising and trade of private businesses, according to the attorney general's office.

Nelson said the recent episode raises serious concerns about whether the lottery commission can effectively regulate itself.

She's hoping her bill would create a layer of regulation that would prevent the lottery commission from overstating jackpots and misleading players in any other way.

The lottery's executive director, Reagan Greer, and several other lottery officials and staff members were expected to testify about the jackpots and other issues in today's meeting of the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee.

Greer and other lottery officials admitted last week at a commission meeting that they advertised higher jackpot amounts to try to lure players to a game that has seen declining sales.

A June 8 shortfall prompted lottery officials to freeze the advertised June 11 jackpot for the first time in the game's history.

Greer said at the meeting that his staff will base future jackpots on their most conservative sales estimates and will consider holding jackpots at the same amount more often if sales don't support an increase.

The lottery's spokesman, Bobby Heith, said Tuesday that the commission had not had time to analyze Nelson's bill but that the agency would be responsive to any new laws.

He has maintained that the lottery staff did not intend to deceive the public.

''I don't know what was going through their mind, but I believe staff feels like they made a good recommendation and believed in what they were doing,'' Heith said.

Nelson's bill was filed during a special session dedicated to school finance.

It was unclear Tuesday if Gov. Rick Perry would add lottery legislation to the agenda.

Houston Chronicle

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15 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by LOTTOMIKE.
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Amarillo/Austin
United States
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April 25, 2003
696 Posts
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Posted: June 29, 2005, 9:32 pm - IP Logged

If they ran a game the citizens could believe in, sales wouldn't be in the dumper.  The fact they pay nothing for the bonus ball is disheartening.  They all need to be fired and a new commission installed.

Orangeman

Chair

    LANTERN's avatar - kilroy 28_173_reasonably_small.jpg
    Tx
    United States
    Member #4570
    May 4, 2004
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    Posted: June 29, 2005, 11:42 pm - IP Logged

    They should make the Lotto Texas game into a 6/49 with no bonus ball game, as to installing a new commission, it might not make such a big difference, but I go for it.
    And the payouts should be increased some and they should get rid of all pre-draws for all games, even for the pick 3 games.
    All the games should be live on Television always and as I said no pre-draws never ever not for any games.

    BibleOnline  ParishesOnline  ChristianRadioOnline   MassOnline   Mass

    "Ten measures of beauty descended to the world, nine were taken by Jerusalem."

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      New Mexico
      United States
      Member #12305
      March 10, 2005
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      Posted: June 29, 2005, 11:50 pm - IP Logged

      Heck.... I haven't read anything but the headlines and I like it.  If they grilled a few of those guys when they catch them smoking in the men's room or lying about the prizesize phenomenon it mightn't keep it from happening again, but it would make for better eating than any armadillo cookoff.

      Jack

        Tnplayer805's avatar - G 14_v78828750_Small.JPG
        North Dakota
        United States
        Member #13397
        April 5, 2005
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        Posted: June 30, 2005, 2:26 am - IP Logged

        They should make the Lotto Texas game into a 6/49 with no bonus ball game, as to installing a new commission, it might not make such a big difference, but I go for it.
        And the payouts should be increased some and they should get rid of all pre-draws for all games, even for the pick 3 games.
        All the games should be live on Television always and as I said no pre-draws never ever not for any games.

        I agree with the 6/49.  I also agree with no predraws. 

         

        If TX wants more players they need to run promotions and not lie to everyone.  Now how many players do you think they lost?

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

          Avatar
          New Mexico
          United States
          Member #12305
          March 10, 2005
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          Posted: June 30, 2005, 8:56 am - IP Logged

          There's been a problem with prowlers in the area where I live for some while.  Neighbor lady got herself a big bulldog to go with the two aging canines she keeps around after she found a broken lock-pick under her back door a while back.

          She was gone a couple of days ago and I heard a hen squawking  that way a hen does when it has some serious trouble.  Went over there and got her out of the mouth of that bulldog, bloody and chewed up pretty badly, but alive.

          Texas lottery, any lottery, has a tough job of work..... they're supposed to pry enthusiastic money out of the pocketbooks of the citizenry, on the one hand, and they're supposed to keep it clean and well-lighted on the other. 

          They can write laws, do constant audits, hire bulldogs, grill the officials all they wish, but if the hypes and changes don't get people buying tickets, they're going to have the laying hens getting et up by the bulldogs six ways from Sunday every time their backs are turned.

          Those high lottery officials get their jobs by promising success.  They know if they don't get success they'll be doing something else and someone else who promises success will be lying, juggling, generally trying to figure out what it takes to generate sales and reduce payouts.

          Keeping a few of them turning on the roticerry will help a while, but at the end of things the lawmakers are going to have to expect and demand less, believe fewer claims from snake-oil salesmen who want to be lottery officials, and treat the lotteries the way the people who play them have to treat them.... it's all gravy... not something any self-respecting government ought to depend on to generate revenues.

          Jack

            LANTERN's avatar - kilroy 28_173_reasonably_small.jpg
            Tx
            United States
            Member #4570
            May 4, 2004
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            Posted: June 30, 2005, 1:56 pm - IP Logged

            Yes, if they want to sell tickets they have to listen to people and please them, Who will buy MegaMillion tickets now when you have much less of a chance to win than before and it was already really bad before as it was.

            They don't want you to win any money at all so they put bonus and or mega balls on the jackpot games, they got rid of the Texas Millions and instead we got the Tx2Step (it has a bonus ball), the Tx Millions was 4 numbers and no bonus ball, they need to curve their hunger and greed for money if they want people to play their sucker's games.

            Never play any games that you can't win, curve and or control your own greed.

            As OrangeMan and other people know, you at least have a real chance of winning playing the pick 3 if you study the game well you can learn how to win it or at least come more or less even in the long or short run, it might be the only game in which most people have a real chance of making a profit, there are 2 kinds of people, those who lose, because they play games that they can't win or don't know how to win and those who win.

            Do you play to win or to lose ? If you don't know how to win, you might be playing to lose, it's O.K. it's your money and there is nothing wrong with throwing it away on lottery tickets if that is what you want to do.

            Good luck.

            BibleOnline  ParishesOnline  ChristianRadioOnline   MassOnline   Mass

            "Ten measures of beauty descended to the world, nine were taken by Jerusalem."

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              New Mexico
              United States
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              March 10, 2005
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              Posted: June 30, 2005, 3:05 pm - IP Logged

              "Yes, if they want to sell tickets they have to listen to people and please them, Who will buy MegaMillion tickets now when you have much less of a chance to win than before and it was already really bad before as it was"

              Lantern:

              More people than ever, I'm guessing.  Any signs of ticket sales falling off after the matrix change?

              "there are 2 kinds of people, those who lose, because they play games that they can't win or don't know how to win and those who win.

              "Do you play to win or to lose ? If you don't know how to win, you might be playing to lose, it's O.K. it's your money and there is nothing wrong with throwing it away on lottery tickets if that is what you want to do."

              There are 2 kinds of people in almost every gambling game I've ever come across.  Those who are experts, and those who are hanging around waiting for the shuttle back to the hotel.  I've even come across experts on winning against the slot machines, swear they have a 'system' of winning.

              I'm not a good enough judge of what's a waste of money and what isn't to know.  But I've surely seen a lot of experts in my time.

              Jack

               

               


                United States
                Member #379
                June 5, 2002
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                Posted: July 2, 2005, 1:24 pm - IP Logged

                The TX lottery is still better run than the NY lottery.

                  Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                  Chief Bottle Washer
                  New Jersey
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                  Posted: July 2, 2005, 1:29 pm - IP Logged

                  The TX lottery is still better run than the NY lottery.

                  I think some people from TX would disagree with you.  The grass is always greener on the other side.

                   

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

                   

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

                    Avatar
                    New Mexico
                    United States
                    Member #12305
                    March 10, 2005
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                    Posted: July 2, 2005, 3:39 pm - IP Logged

                    The TX lottery is still better run than the NY lottery.

                    You've tumbled onto a major issue, CO.

                    Most Texans are so absorbed in the questions of how their lotteries compare (unfavorably) with lotteries elsewhere their breadth of conversation suffers.  Those Texans can't seem to think of anything else to talk about, besides how bad their own lotteries are, except when they're complaining about cash payoffs being available for most of them.  Any good Texan will get right up about cash payoffs.... almost as soon as he's finished regaling you with how bad his lotteries are.

                    Jack


                      United States
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                      Posted: July 5, 2005, 9:41 am - IP Logged

                      Lotto TX pays out much better than NY Lotto.

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                        New Mexico
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                        Posted: July 5, 2005, 9:51 am - IP Logged

                        I'd wondered about that, CO.  Been hoping you've offer up a comparison.

                        J

                          Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                          Chief Bottle Washer
                          New Jersey
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                          Posted: July 5, 2005, 9:52 am - IP Logged

                          I'd like to see that too.  Hopefully more than one sentence.

                           

                          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: July 11, 2005, 5:08 pm - IP Logged

                            NY Lotto pays back 38%-40%. AFAIK Lotto TX is 52%.