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Texas Lottery chief could face punishment for inflated jackpots

Texas LotteryTexas Lottery: Texas Lottery chief could face punishment for inflated jackpots

The Texas Lottery Commission chairman laid blame for inflated lottery jackpots squarely on the agency's chief Wednesday, hinting to state lawmakers that executive director Reagan Greer could be punished.

Chairman C. Tom Clowe was asked by members of the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee who specifically had deceived lottery players by advertising phony estimated jackpots four times since last fall.

Mr. Clowe answered: "The person who made the decision [to sign off on the estimates] ... Reagan Greer."

"The commissioners think this was deception and that it was wrong," Mr. Clowe testified. "If those were my employees in the private sector ... I would take the appropriate action and consider it a wrong act."

Mr. Clowe stopped short of saying that Mr. Greer should lose his job over the issue. However, the grillings Mr. Greer got at the House hearing and at a commission meeting last Friday indicate he could be next in a long line of lottery directors to leave after a scandal.

The commission is scheduled to meet on the issue July 11. It's the first opportunity to take action since the scandal broke.

Lawmakers demanded more openness, better communication, tighter oversight and more accountability to lottery players after the growing public scandal over estimates – two in June – that exceeded what the agency could have paid the winners. There were no winners in any of the four drawings, saving the lottery from having to explain itself sooner.

Lawmakers suggested switching to guaranteed jackpots – winners now get a set percentage of revenue from drawings – or better educating the public that the advertised jackpots are only estimates. Lawmakers also questioned the firing of financial director Lee Deviney, who oversaw employees who made the estimates, suggesting that he was terminated because he was trying to point out the problem.

Lotto officials have said Mr. Deviney's termination was a matter of poor job performance and had nothing to do with the false estimates, although there's no documentation of past grievances.

"If there is one agency that needs oversight, that's the one," said Rep. Corbin Van Arsdale, R-Tomball, who is not a committee member but sat in on the hearing and questioned officials. "I think the mismanagement in there is far more substantive, far more pervasive than any of the news stories have led me to believe."

Mr. Greer, who has the authority to set jackpots and the final word on what the publicized estimates will be for each drawing, has taken most of the criticism. His subordinates have said they inflated the estimates to maintain sales.

"My perspective and intent was not from a deceptive scenario," he testified Wednesday. "It was a mistake I made based on staff recommendations that I had felt confident with over a period of time. Looking back, I should have asked harder questions and looked into it, probably in a micro way."

Mr. Greer said the agency has implemented a checks-and-balances system on the estimates and might start holding pat on jackpots through multiple drawings, among other measures.

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

The false estimates came to light after Garland resident Dawn Nettles, a self-appointed lottery watchdog, filed a false-advertising complaint with the Texas attorney general and the Travis County district attorney's office on June 6. Later that week, the commission decided for the first time in its 13-year existence not to increase the jackpot between drawings when there was no winner so sales could catch up to the advertised $8 million estimate.

Ms. Nettles, who has monitored the lottery since its inception, testified Wednesday that the people of Texas deserve fair games and that the lottery commission has routinely deceived and cheated players. Committee Chairman Kino Flores, D-Mission, invited her to meet with him and Mr. Greer and "spend an entire day" going over her ideas for ways to fix the lottery.

"I believe in what they're doing, and I don't think they're out there to cheat anybody," Mr. Flores said.

Ms. Nettles expressed frustration with the hearing later, saying commission officials were covering up their knowledge of problems.

"Great, the TLC's been slapped. But you tell me. What's actually going to come from it?" she said. "They're not going to misrepresent the numbers – until the next time?"

Dallas Morning News

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19 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by CASH Only.
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LANTERN's avatar - kilroy 28_173_reasonably_small.jpg
Tx
United States
Member #4570
May 4, 2004
5180 Posts
Offline
Posted: July 1, 2005, 1:14 pm - IP Logged

Mr. Greer should lose his job over the issue.

Texans should e-mail the governor and ask for Mr. Greer to get fired.

Also the TxLotto should be made a no bonus ball 6/49 game.

Here on Texas we don't want bonus ball games at all.

BibleOnline  ParishesOnline  ChristianRadioOnline   MassOnline   Mass

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


    United States
    Member #379
    June 5, 2002
    11296 Posts
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    Posted: July 1, 2005, 3:24 pm - IP Logged

    Make Lotto TX 6/53.


      United States
      Member #16612
      June 2, 2005
      3493 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: July 1, 2005, 3:30 pm - IP Logged

      Mr. Greer should lose his job over the issue.

         

      Texans should e-mail the governor and ask for Mr. Greer to get fired.

         

      Also the TxLotto should be made a no bonus ball 6/59 game.

         

      From this point forward: Texas doesn't want bonus ball games at all.

      The jackpots should be in tenths of millions such as 4.5, 5.2, etc. 


        United States
        Member #379
        June 5, 2002
        11296 Posts
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        Posted: July 1, 2005, 3:54 pm - IP Logged

        I probably think he should go too.

          Avatar
          Amarillo/Austin
          United States
          Member #1424
          April 25, 2003
          696 Posts
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          Posted: July 1, 2005, 6:10 pm - IP Logged

          Get a rope!!!

          Orangeman            Party


            United States
            Member #379
            June 5, 2002
            11296 Posts
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            Posted: July 2, 2005, 10:23 am - IP Logged

            I Agree!

              MADDOG10's avatar - smoke
              Beautiful Florida
              United States
              Member #5709
              July 18, 2004
              20108 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: July 2, 2005, 10:32 am - IP Logged

                They need to run this lottery open, honestly and without any pressure from anyone regardless of the situation, then they would'nt have to worry about any deceit or anything that would "steer" them  towards that way of thinking...!

                                                           

                                                             "  When Injustice Becomes Law, Resistance Becomes Duty "


                United States
                Member #379
                June 5, 2002
                11296 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: July 2, 2005, 1:19 pm - IP Logged

                I helps to run an honest lottery.

                  LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                  Tennessee
                  United States
                  Member #7853
                  October 15, 2004
                  11338 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: July 2, 2005, 9:42 pm - IP Logged

                  Mr. Greer should lose his job over the issue.

                  Texans should e-mail the governor and ask for Mr. Greer to get fired.

                  Also the TxLotto should be made a no bonus ball 6/49 game.

                  Here on Texas we don't want bonus ball games at all.

                  I Agree!


                    United States
                    Member #379
                    June 5, 2002
                    11296 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: July 5, 2005, 9:40 am - IP Logged

                    I'd hate to see him go.

                      Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                      Chief Bottle Washer
                      New Jersey
                      United States
                      Member #1
                      May 31, 2000
                      23260 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: July 5, 2005, 9:48 am - IP Logged

                      I'd hate to see him go.

                      You don't seem to have a firm opinion on this.

                      On July 1st (above), it was "I probably think he should go too", and today it's "I'd hate to see him go."

                       

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                        LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                        Tennessee
                        United States
                        Member #7853
                        October 15, 2004
                        11338 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: July 28, 2005, 5:12 am - IP Logged

                        Get a rope!!!

                        Orangeman            Party

                        gonna need more than a rope!!


                          United States
                          Member #379
                          June 5, 2002
                          11296 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: July 28, 2005, 9:37 am - IP Logged

                          TX is far away from where I live.

                            LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                            Tennessee
                            United States
                            Member #7853
                            October 15, 2004
                            11338 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: July 29, 2005, 2:12 am - IP Logged

                            I probably think he should go too.

                            I Agree!