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Texas Lottery officials testify that public was deceived

Texas LotteryTexas Lottery: Texas Lottery officials testify that public was deceived

Texas Lottery Commission Chairman C. Thomas Clowe told lawmakers Wednesday that the public was deceived by recently inflated jackpot estimates and vowed the agency would take action to keep it from happening again.

Clowe said lottery Executive Director Reagan Greer was responsible for the deception but declined to say if he should be fired.

"This was a deception, and it was wrong," said Clowe, who opened nearly four hours of testimony on the inflated jackpots before the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee. "It has to be dealt with. It's a state agency, and it's the public's business."

Several lawmakers said the revelation of inflated jackpots erodes public confidence in a game that depends on the trust of its players. In the Senate, a bill has been filed that would make the lottery subject to the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which generally regulates advertising.

"We have to develop the trust of the people of Texas to continue to buy the lottery," said Rep. Chente Quintanilla, D-El Paso. "But if they are going to be given wrong jackpots and ideas they might not get paid ... the people of Texas are going to quit buying."

Greer, who signed off on the inflated jackpots, apologized and called the episode a "black eye" for an agency.

"We're going to fix this situation, and we're not going to let it happen again," Greer said.

Clowe, Greer and several lottery managers were asked to explain how and why an estimated jackpot for the June 8 Lotto Texas drawing was set at $8 million even though staff reports estimated sales could cover only $6.5 million.

And even after the commission held the jackpot at $8 million for the June 11 drawing — the first time in the game's history that a carry-over jackpot hasn't increased — sales estimates still remained just below supporting the advertised amount. However, enough tickets eventually were sold to support that jackpot.

Further examination revealed jackpots had fallen short of the advertised amounts twice before, in October and February. Each involved an advertised $8 million jackpot that couldn't be supported by ticket sales.

Lottery commissioners have also learned that staff raised questions about jackpots as far back as March 2004.

Clowe, who chastised Greer at a lottery commission meeting last week, said it would meet again July 11, when it could change how estimates are set. He suggested personnel decisions could be made.

Greer, who called the inflated jackpots a mistake and not a willful deception, said he'll work to regain the commission's confidence.

He said he signed off on estimates provided to him by staff without double-checking them because he trusted their accuracy.

The estimates came from Product Manager Robert Tirloni and Lee Deviney, the commission's director of financial administration. Deviney was fired June 14.

Lottery officials refused to say why he was dismissed but insisted Wednesday it was unrelated to the jackpot controversy and said the timing was coincidental.

Greer promised to pay closer attention to the twice-weekly estimates and would get more people involved in the future, including Commissioner James Cox. Jackpots could also be based on the most conservative sales estimates.

Rep. Mark Homer, D-Paris, said the problem might be avoided if the lottery had more guaranteed jackpots instead of estimates.

The problem emerges at the $8 million level because that's the first jackpot that can no longer be covered by lottery reserves if ticket sales lag behind the advertisements. When a ticket matches all five numbers and a Bonus Ball, the jackpot returns to $4 million.

One lawmaker defended the commission and noted the jackpots are advertised as estimates and not guaranteed.

"I think we're making a mountain out of a molehill out of some of this," said Rep. Tony Goolsby, R-Dallas. "I wonder if people ought to be more aware that an estimate is an estimate."

AP

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8 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by LOTTOMIKE.
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LANTERN's avatar - kilroy 28_173_reasonably_small.jpg
Tx
United States
Member #4570
May 4, 2004
5180 Posts
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Posted: June 30, 2005, 2:55 pm - IP Logged

So long as many people play a particular lottery game, they might not get rid of it or they might replace it with another game that has worst odds.

But if many or most people quit buying tickets for that game they might get rid of it and or maybe replace with a game that has better odds, if they replace it with one that has worse odds then don't buy tickets for that game either, sooner or later maybe they might get the right idea.

If you are from Texas then maybe you might want to get the TexasLotto replaced by a 6/49 no bonus ball New TexasLotto.

That really I think that would be the best of all Texas Lotto for us.

Leave the Cash5 as it is and return the Tx2Step back to a no bonus ball game such as the Texas Millions.

The pick 3 is more or less O.K.

And we need a twice a day pick 4 game also.

As to the MegaMillions either return it to the way that it was or replace it with the PowerBall instead.

The state lotteries won't listen to us, but just maybe they might listen to lost lottery sales, maybe not right away, but later.

BibleOnline  ParishesOnline  ChristianRadioOnline   MassOnline   Mass

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

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    C. C. Texas
    United States
    Member #17414
    June 18, 2005
    34 Posts
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    Posted: June 30, 2005, 5:29 pm - IP Logged

    The lottery Executive Director Reagan Greer should be FIRED, and they should make it a law any Winner of the Lotto gets the advertised amount ( NO LESS ) and if more comes in then the advertised amount he gets the Larger amount and nothing less.

     

    Party 

      konane's avatar - wallace
      Atlanta, GA
      United States
      Member #1265
      March 13, 2003
      3333 Posts
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      Posted: July 1, 2005, 11:57 am - IP Logged

      The lottery Executive Director Reagan Greer should be FIRED, and they should make it a law any Winner of the Lotto gets the advertised amount ( NO LESS ) and if more comes in then the advertised amount he gets the Larger amount and nothing less.

       

      Party 

      Not defending Greer for his actions of trying to take the heat off his obvious bad decisions, but the operative word on jackpots is estimated which is based upon the number of tickets actually sold.  Seems that games with guaranteed jackpots have much lower payouts. 

      Before Lotto Georgia was retired its jackpots had sometimes fallen below estimations.

       

      My question about Greer is whether he's been Ex Dir since the beginning of the TX Lottery which in the beginning seemed to be well run??   

      Good luck to everyone!

        Avatar
        Amarillo/Austin
        United States
        Member #1424
        April 25, 2003
        696 Posts
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        Posted: July 1, 2005, 12:29 pm - IP Logged

        Get a rope!

        Orangeman

                                            Hurray!


          United States
          Member #379
          June 5, 2002
          11296 Posts
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          Posted: July 1, 2005, 3:27 pm - IP Logged

          Lotto TX should become a 6/53 or 6/54 game.

            konane's avatar - wallace
            Atlanta, GA
            United States
            Member #1265
            March 13, 2003
            3333 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: July 1, 2005, 3:48 pm - IP Logged

            Lotto TX should become a 6/53 or 6/54 game.

            My cousin who lives in TX says that folks literally hated when Texas Lotto went from 6/50 to 6/54 or whatever it topped out at before they made it a 5 + bonus. 

            She said many people she knew who were regular players stopped playing when the matrix went above 6/50. 

            Guess Texans can count, too!!

            Bet their original 6/50 lotto would work and bring back many who were alienated by pencil pushers ratcheting up jackpots.

            Texans are a stubborn bunch so it's going to take something very creative to get their attention, so in the meanwhile those who created the mess they're in can simply stew.   Stooges 

            Question again  has Greer been in the same position since the inception of the Texas Lottery??? 

            Good luck to everyone!


              United States
              Member #379
              June 5, 2002
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              Posted: July 1, 2005, 4:36 pm - IP Logged

              6/50 would be too small.

                LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                Tennessee
                United States
                Member #7853
                October 15, 2004
                11338 Posts
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                Posted: July 28, 2005, 3:46 am - IP Logged

                i agree....