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Did the Oklahoma Lottery break its promise?

Editorial / OpinionEditorial / Opinion: Did the Oklahoma Lottery break its promise?
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Published by the Muskogee Phoenix
August 17, 2006

The Oklahoma Lottery Commission may not be doing anything different than lotteries in other states in allowing trusts to claim prizes, but we don't want to be like other states.

We want winners identified just as the commission said they would be identified — with the minimum name and hometown.

Despite stating on its Web site that winners cannot be anonymous, the commission allowed the June 17, $101.8 million Powerball winners to claim their prize anonymously through a trust, the WJW Investment Trust, on Aug. 2.

What at stake here is not curiosity but the integrity of this lottery.

No board member, employee of the lottery or anyone in their immediate families or those connected to the sale of lottery tickets can purchase a ticket or claim a prize. The act also forbids anyone under 18 years of age to purchase a ticket.

But how do we know none of those things happened if the lottery allows winners to remain anonymous?

Jim Scroggins, executive director of the Oklahoma Lottery, told a Phoenix reporter that even the commission does not know who the winners of the $101.8 million Powerball were, that it was not stated in the trust agreement.

If the state doesn't know who won, then, too, how can it check to see if that person doesn't owe back child support payments?

According to the Lottery Act, the commission is supposed to withhold delinquent child support from winnings. But according to Scroggins and the state Attorney General's Office, that didn't matter in this case.

Up to now, all those who have claimed a prize have declared their names and hometowns and been subject to a background search. But evidently, these winners were not.

Probably not every single person who has claimed a prize in the Oklahoma lottery so far has been the actual winner. Some winners for various reasons have sent relatives or friends to claim their prizes.

But that shouldn't be an excuse to avoid naming those who claim prizes, which is what the lottery had promised on its Web site — before it changed the wording this week to accommodate the Powerball award to the trust.

The commission still states, "It is important for the public to know the lottery is run honestly," but we really aren't sure of that as long as those who claim prizes go unnamed.

Muskogee Phoenix

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7 comments. Last comment 10 years ago by cps10.
Page 1 of 1
cps10's avatar - Lottery-004.jpg
The Carolinas - Charlotte
United States
Member #21627
September 12, 2005
4138 Posts
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Posted: August 18, 2006, 11:52 am - IP Logged

This kind of thing doesn't bother me...I think that's a clever way that the winners created to protect themselves and their families from total harrassment. Kudos to the winners.

I also think that it will also make distributions a lot easier for the people within the trust. Only those who participated in the pool, if that's what it was, will be allowed distributions, which I am sure the Trust Agreement had to be signed by all parties involved.

So this may serve two-fold: (1) to protect the participants/winners from the leeches of society; and (2) to protect them from people who "claimed" that they would give their money next Tuesday for a hamburger today. Again, almost like the first protectorate: it saves them from the other leeches of society.

The North Carolina Education Lottery - so much a joke that here are their mascots:

Stooges

    guesser's avatar - Lottery-017.jpg

    United States
    Member #41383
    June 16, 2006
    1969 Posts
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    Posted: August 18, 2006, 1:29 pm - IP Logged

    I can see it both ways, but I tend to think they should disclose the winner's names 'at a later date', say maybe 60-90 days after they have their ticket verified, or something like that.

    This would give the MUSL a chance to do the background checks, and also give the winners a chance to pull up their stakes, move, change phone numbers, get their (new) lives in order, etc.   If somebody owed back-child support or taxes, I think witholding a certain percentage until all the checks are done would be fine, too.  Give them 80% up front, the rest after the checking is done, etc.

     

    Besides, what's stopping a person that RUNS the lottery from calling their cousin J.D. in nowheresville and telling them what numbers to play, winning, and getting some of that in payback down the road later ? 

     

    I guarantee you if I won it, I'd be gone, and the only contact one would have with me would be by a disposable cell phone, the kind you get at kwikie-marts, with a new number every month.  Pain, yes, but worth the pain ?  Yes, the pestering won't last forever. 

      cps10's avatar - Lottery-004.jpg
      The Carolinas - Charlotte
      United States
      Member #21627
      September 12, 2005
      4138 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: August 18, 2006, 1:33 pm - IP Logged

      Outstanding take on this guesser...I can definitely see your side of things that way.

      The North Carolina Education Lottery - so much a joke that here are their mascots:

      Stooges

        bellyache's avatar - 64x64a9wg

        United States
        Member #12618
        March 18, 2005
        2060 Posts
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        Posted: August 18, 2006, 1:36 pm - IP Logged

        It doesn't bother me either. If I could get away with forming a trust and remaining anonymous I would.

        Dance like no one is watching.

          cps10's avatar - Lottery-004.jpg
          The Carolinas - Charlotte
          United States
          Member #21627
          September 12, 2005
          4138 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: August 18, 2006, 1:37 pm - IP Logged

          It doesn't bother me either. If I could get away with forming a trust and remaining anonymous I would.

          It would be pretty easy to do...especially given that they allow you 6 months before you have to come forward anyway.

          The North Carolina Education Lottery - so much a joke that here are their mascots:

          Stooges

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            Oklahoma
            United States
            Member #45345
            August 19, 2006
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            Posted: August 20, 2006, 3:07 am - IP Logged

            I see nothing wrong with forming a trust to remain anonymous, especially considering the amount of the prize in this instance.

             Regarding the Muskogee Phoenix editorial quoted here, bear in mind that the Phoenix was against the Lottery in an editorial back in November 2004 when the issue was up for vote. On the other hand The Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City) and Tulsa World both endorsed the Lottery at the time, and the voters of Oklahoma apparently agreed.

              cps10's avatar - Lottery-004.jpg
              The Carolinas - Charlotte
              United States
              Member #21627
              September 12, 2005
              4138 Posts
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              Posted: August 20, 2006, 9:45 am - IP Logged

              I see nothing wrong with it either. I might look into that if I ever win Powerball here! :)

              Well, at least there's hope :)

              The North Carolina Education Lottery - so much a joke that here are their mascots:

              Stooges