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Verifying California Lottery Winners

California LotteryCalifornia Lottery: Verifying California Lottery Winners

When there is a big jackpot winner in the California Lottery — officials won't say exactly how much the winnings must be — security officers ask a series of questions to make sure the person holding the ticket is the actual purchaser of the ticket.

Lottery officials won't tell me the exact questions, but they are along the lines of: When did you buy the ticket? Where did you buy the ticket? If the answers seem odd or out of place the security officer can decline to pay at that time and launch an investigation.

That's what happened with Bob Sehested's ticket. The clerk who is suspected of taking the ticket acted suspiciously and his answers weren't up to par. When lottery security looked into his background and found he was a clerk at a store that sold lottery tickets, red flags went up.

The Ventura County Star (www.venturacountystar.com) has an excellent internet site and since it was instrumental in finding Bob, the paper has been following the story closely. The Star is reporting the clerk's name is Sam Grair and he has now pled guilty to stealing the ticket. Prosecutor Howard Wise has told me he considers this an important case, although he will not talk about details until Grair is sentenced, which could happen in about two weeks.

The lesson here is to check your numbers against the numbers posted on the lottery site or printed on the winning number slips handed out at the retailers.

Finally, do store clerks with access to the tickets of lottery players win more often than other professions? I can't say for certain. The California Lottery does not ask the occupation of all of its winners and those who are questioned do not have to answer. However, at my request, lottery officials went through the statistics on winners of the past three years and found clerks were not in the top 10 professions stated in security interviews. The top three: retiree, real estate/mortgage and cooks.

ABC7/KGO-TV/DT

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9 comments. Last comment 10 years ago by Bob21456.
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JackpotWanna's avatar - squiz

United States
Member #4121
March 23, 2004
817 Posts
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Posted: November 3, 2006, 7:48 am - IP Logged


Great advice .

 

Party

    Avatar
    Northern California
    United States
    Member #19948
    August 9, 2005
    151 Posts
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    Posted: November 3, 2006, 2:43 pm - IP Logged

    The terminals that were installed in CA in 2003 all come with a display device that should be visible to players. When you have a clerk check your ticket, the device displays winner and amount or "not a winner". I don't recall whether terminals make an audible tone when a winning ticket is validated any more - they used to in CA and most states do. GTECH temrinals frequently use "we're in the money" as a song - because no royalties are due on its use.

     

    CA and many other states have ticket checking devices that allow you to inquire (an industry term - meaning to ascertain winning status) without actually validating the ticket.

     

    The whole flap in Canada is somewhat funny.  For years, they felt the way to prove the integrity of the lottery was to encourage lottery employees and retailers to play as a way to "prove" the lottery was secure. In the US, lottery and vendor employees cannot claim winning tickets.

      Avatar
      California
      United States
      Member #46824
      October 1, 2006
      270 Posts
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      Posted: November 3, 2006, 3:33 pm - IP Logged

      Driveabizness....here is what I think happens in California, do you agree?

      Self Check:  these devices display something like: Congratulations,  Winner See Retailer.  They do not, if I recall correctly, give an amount, just that you have a winning ticket.  I think this is what you meant about inquiring without validating.

      Retailer Check:  the retailer runs the ticket through the standard lottery machine.  There is, or should be, a window where the customer can see what the machine displays from the ticket; winner and how much or not a winner.  If a winner, a reciept is printed automatically with the amount won on it.  There is not an audible tone that comes from the machine if you have a winning ticket.  There is the printing of the receipt that gives you an audible clue that the ticket was a winner.

      While not perfect, the self check has certainly lessened the lines at lottery machines.  You still have to watch carefully because a slick clerk could process your ticket and tell you won $3 when you really could have won a whole lot more!!  It pays to watch and if neccessary ask for the reciept from the machine with the winning amount. 

        JADELottery's avatar - Inky Move-01.gif
        The Quantum Master
        West Concord, MN
        United States
        Member #21
        December 7, 2001
        3680 Posts
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        Posted: November 3, 2006, 7:10 pm - IP Logged

        WI has self check scanners that I use.

        I feel more confident checking it myself, also, it frees up the clerk to do other things for other customers.

        Presented 'AS IS' and for Entertainment Purposes Only.
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          barbos's avatar - gold bar-and-cash1.jpg
          California
          United States
          Member #23908
          October 17, 2005
          122 Posts
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          Posted: November 4, 2006, 11:17 pm - IP Logged

          I think the whole story is about MM ticket that hit 5 numbers without mega around Valentine day last February... because Californian prizes are pari-mutuel, that ticket was worth around a million bucks, and there was some mess about the winner - no details given.

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            New Member
            Camarillo
            United States
            Member #46711
            September 24, 2006
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            Posted: November 5, 2006, 1:11 pm - IP Logged

             http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=7on_your_side&id=4722930

            There is the story.... just click on video screen.... ABC did the best getting my message out

             

            Here is the Canadian story..... check out how Bob in California was treated differently from Bob from Canada

             

            http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/video_player.html?luck

            Good luck to all

            Bob Sehested

              Avatar
              Northern California
              United States
              Member #19948
              August 9, 2005
              151 Posts
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              Posted: November 6, 2006, 4:48 pm - IP Logged

              The actual functionality is variable.

               

              For example, a prize over $XXXX might say "you have won over $XXXX, file claim". Many states display the acutal value of smaller prizes. Yhe idea is not to advertise when someone finds out they are carrying around a really high value bearer instrument.

               

              I always tell people - if they check you ticket and the terminal prints something - ask to see that piece of paper. They owe you that much.

               

              When a ticket is validated, it is then removed from the list of winner kept on the system. That way, a winner can only be paid once. Inquirry allows the user to see if the ticket is a winner, and sometimes for how much, without actually validating it. The most common use of this is for retailers who might not have enough cash on hand for someone with, say, a winning ticket worth $500. If you validate the ticket, but the retailer doesn't have the cash, you have a problem. The system automatically credits the retailers account for any validations - it asumes they will honor them.

               

              You should always watch lottery transactions. Just lilke you would count $$$ you get from the ATM, change you get handed back, etc. 

                guesser's avatar - Lottery-017.jpg

                United States
                Member #41383
                June 16, 2006
                1969 Posts
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                Posted: November 6, 2006, 5:48 pm - IP Logged


                Great advice .

                 

                Party

                That, and SIGN the ticket as soon as you buy it.

                Not when you get home, but when you buy it. 

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                  New Member
                  Camarillo
                  United States
                  Member #46711
                  September 24, 2006
                  25 Posts
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                  Posted: November 6, 2006, 7:43 pm - IP Logged

                  It would not had mattered if I checked the paper....the magician switched the ticket before putting it in the machine.... Lotto called and informed the store that someone had won the 530K.... he glanced at my ticket sitting on the counter a few times....then went in the back for something...then he picked up my ticket and supposedily put it through the machine..... SIGN WHEN YOU BUY>>>>> even if you loose it in the street....there is nothing that anyone can do with it.... the best they can expect is a reward from you for finding your ticket....

                   Bob Sehested