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New lawsuit claims Indiana Lottery did not award all prizes

Jan 6, 2007, 9:07 pm

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Indiana LotteryIndiana Lottery: New lawsuit claims Indiana Lottery did not award all prizes

Man who spent $40,000 on lottery sues to get money back; lawsuit claims Hoosier Lottery overstated number, amount of prizes in 'Cash Blast' game

Two men filed a lawsuit Friday against the Hoosier Lottery, seeking class-action status as a result of the lottery's admitted misrepresentation of the number and amount of prizes available in a scratch-off game.

Jeff Frazer, Carmel, and Jeff Koehlinger, Auburn, seek reimbursement in the lawsuit filed in Marion County for the losses they incurred when playing the scratch-off game "Cash Blast."

Frazer purchased $40,000 of the $10 tickets and Koehlinger $2,470.

The game promised seven grand prizes of $250,000 each, plus several lesser prizes of up to $10,000 each.

But in July, after selling 5 million tickets, the lottery abruptly reduced the number and amount of prizes in the course of two weeks, according to the lawsuit, which was assigned to Marion Circuit Court.

"It was because the prizes never existed," said Richard Waples, Indianapolis, the plaintiffs' attorney.

"About 60,000 prizes weren't available that people were buying these tickets for," Waples said. "They said, 'Oops, sorry.' "

The Hoosier Lottery has admitted to overstating cash prizes in a statement on its Web site.

The lottery attributes the problem to a mistake in printing by the lottery's scratch-off vendor that affected up to 2.5 million tickets, which amounted to about $25 million spent on the potentially defective tickets.

However, the lottery maintains that the odds of winning were not compromised.

The lottery's new director, Kathryn Densborn, of Indianapolis, had no comment late Friday on the lawsuit.

She identified an attorney in the Indiana attorney general's office who is representing the lottery in the case. The attorney could not be reached for comment.

The lawsuit claims the lottery overstated the number and amount of prizes in the Cash Blast game by as much as $8 million from May 2005 to July 2006.

Frazer and Koehlinger complain that the lottery's advertising misled them into thinking the odds were on their side at the time they bought the scratch-off tickets.

"As the game wrapped up, the last 10 to 20 percent of the tickets being left, virtually all the prizes were still available," Frazer, 51, a real estate contractor, said Friday.

"And that's where a gamble becomes an investment. When you know every couple of tickets is going to be a nice winner, that's when you play hard," he said.

He said he doesn't often play lottery games. When he does, he said, he focuses on those with many prizes and few tickets remaining, winning several thousand dollars that way.

"That's the way that you play the lottery when you know you can't lose," he said.

This time he lost. Confused and suspicious that there may have been a problem with the tickets, he and Koehlinger separately contacted the lottery repeatedly by phone and e-mail about their concerns, but they say they were ignored.

When the problem with the ticket printing was discovered, both men received apologies from the lottery by e-mail, but the lottery refused to refund the money they spent on tickets.

Both men say lottery officials told them that despite the defective tickets, the losses could've been coincidence. The two men weren't convinced and contacted Waples, who fought and won a case last year against Hoosier Lottery regarding a man whose winnings were not paid when he presented his ticket.

The men want a court to order the lottery to refund money to any player affected by the problems in the scratch-off game and award any other appropriate compensation and attorney fees.

Frazer said he wonders, "If they did it with this game, how do we know they don't do it in other games? It's come down to a situation where, if they didn't know, they should've known."

Indianapolis Star

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39 comments. Last comment 14 years ago by fastball 9.
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konane's avatar - wallace
Atlanta, GA
United States
Member #1265
March 13, 2003
5923 Posts
Offline

This is going to be very interesting!! 

Have fun and the best of luck to everyone! Sun Smiley

    MADDOG10's avatar - smoke
    50
    Beautiful Florida
    United States
    Member #5709
    July 18, 2004
    24298 Posts
    Online

    Man who spent $40,000 on lottery sues to get money back; lawsuit claims Hoosier Lottery overstated number, amount of prizes in 'Cash Blast' game

    Two men filed a lawsuit Friday against the Hoosier Lottery, seeking class-action status as a result of the lottery's admitted misrepresentation of the number and amount of prizes available in a scratch-off game.

    Jeff Frazer, Carmel, and Jeff Koehlinger, Auburn, seek reimbursement in the lawsuit filed in Marion County for the losses they incurred when playing the scratch-off game "Cash Blast."

    Frazer purchased $40,000 of the $10 tickets and Koehlinger $2,470.

    The game promised seven grand prizes of $250,000 each, plus several lesser prizes of up to $10,000 each.

    But in July, after selling 5 million tickets, the lottery abruptly reduced the number and amount of prizes in the course of two weeks, according to the lawsuit, which was assigned to Marion Circuit Court.

    "It was because the prizes never existed," said Richard Waples, Indianapolis, the plaintiffs' attorney.

    "About 60,000 prizes weren't available that people were buying these tickets for," Waples said. "They said, 'Oops, sorry.' "

    The Hoosier Lottery has admitted to overstating cash prizes in a statement on its Web site.

    The lottery attributes the problem to a mistake in printing by the lottery's scratch-off vendor that affected up to 2.5 million tickets, which amounted to about $25 million spent on the potentially defective tickets.

    However, the lottery maintains that the odds of winning were not compromised.

    The lottery's new director, Kathryn Densborn, of Indianapolis, had no comment late Friday on the lawsuit.

    She identified an attorney in the Indiana attorney general's office who is representing the lottery in the case. The attorney could not be reached for comment.

    The lawsuit claims the lottery overstated the number and amount of prizes in the Cash Blast game by as much as $8 million from May 2005 to July 2006.

    Frazer and Koehlinger complain that the lottery's advertising misled them into thinking the odds were on their side at the time they bought the scratch-off tickets.

    "As the game wrapped up, the last 10 to 20 percent of the tickets being left, virtually all the prizes were still available," Frazer, 51, a real estate contractor, said Friday.

    "And that's where a gamble becomes an investment. When you know every couple of tickets is going to be a nice winner, that's when you play hard," he said.

    He said he doesn't often play lottery games. When he does, he said, he focuses on those with many prizes and few tickets remaining, winning several thousand dollars that way.

    "That's the way that you play the lottery when you know you can't lose," he said.

    This time he lost. Confused and suspicious that there may have been a problem with the tickets, he and Koehlinger separately contacted the lottery repeatedly by phone and e-mail about their concerns, but they say they were ignored.

    When the problem with the ticket printing was discovered, both men received apologies from the lottery by e-mail, but the lottery refused to refund the money they spent on tickets.

    Both men say lottery officials told them that despite the defective tickets, the losses could've been coincidence. The two men weren't convinced and contacted Waples, who fought and won a case last year against Hoosier Lottery regarding a man whose winnings were not paid when he presented his ticket.

    The men want a court to order the lottery to refund money to any player affected by the problems in the scratch-off game and award any other appropriate compensation and attorney fees.

    Frazer said he wonders, "If they did it with this game, how do we know they don't do it in other games? It's come down to a situation where, if they didn't know, they should've known."

    I have a feeling this is going to get real juicy in court...!

    Wow, talk about deceptive practices huh ?

                                                 

                                                   "Slander becomes the tool of the loser when the debate is lost." - Socrates.

      CCHS13's avatar - chi jpeg.jpg
      Illinois
      United States
      Member #46703
      September 23, 2006
      3692 Posts
      Offline

      I bet this happens alot more than we know,  glad somebody with the muscle caught them

      Men Lie Women Lie Numbers Dont

        Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
        100
        Clarksville
        United States
        Member #487
        July 15, 2002
        17638 Posts
        Offline

        About 60,000 prizes weren't available that people were buying these tickets for," Waples said. "They said, 'Oops, sorry.' "

        The Hoosier Lottery has admitted to overstating cash prizes in a statement on its Web site.

        The lottery attributes the problem to a mistake in printing by the lottery's scratch-off vendor that affected up to 2.5 million tickets, which amounted to about $25 million spent on the potentially defective tickets.

        However, the lottery maintains that the odds of winning were not compromised.

        How in the world did they figure the odds were NOT compromised?  Somebody must be in La-la Land.  The Odds at that point were slim to none.

        If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

        You never know when you will get another hit.

          Avatar
          Coastal Georgia
          United States
          Member #2653
          October 30, 2003
          1866 Posts
          Offline

          This is a good story. I hope the plaintiffs win.

           

                                         

                        

           

           

            Avatar

            United States
            Member #10720
            January 23, 2005
            933 Posts
            Offline

            The first problem is who spends 40 GRAND on scratch-offs? Wouldn't he be still to this day be checking them? Even the 2nd guy over 2 GRAND? The second problem is that scratch-offs normally state how many of the big prizes are still floating around BUT not saying how many NON-winners are, meaning the actual odds of a big prize could be whatever! WHICH IS WHY I stay away from the things most of the time.

            "That one.. Cash Blast"
            "Yes, sir, how many?"
            "Give me four..."
            "four?"
            "...thousand. Four thousand, please."
            "ok here you go, that'll be 40 thousand dollars.. good luck!" (beeping noise from forklift carrying out rolls of tickets)

              RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
              100
              mid-Ohio
              United States
              Member #9
              March 24, 2001
              20272 Posts
              Offline

              According to the complaint filed in the lawsuit: http://wthr.images.worldnow.com/images/incoming/pdfs/Complaint.pdf
              One of the plaintiffs, Jeff Frazer purchased no fewer than 4,000 none winning tickets after reading on the Hoosier Lottery website June 22,2006 that 80% of the "Cash Blast" tickets had been sold and seven (7) top prizes of $250,000 , seventy-five prizes of $10,000 and thousands of prizes of $50 and more were yet to be claimed.  Two weeks later on July 7,2006 the numbers of prizes on the website were decreased to one top prize of $250,000 and ten prizes of $10,000 and no one had claimed any prizes leading the plaintiffs to conclude the prizes never existed.

              It's not unusual for some one to buy a whole roll of scratch-off, several LP members claimed they or a group of friends have done it.  I understand a roll contain 500-1000 tickets so it should be fairly easy to check if Mr Frazer tickets are from 4-8 rolls or if they are just a bunch of losing tickets from all over the place.

               * you don't need to buy every combination, just the winning ones * 

              Thumbs Up       

                BobP's avatar - bobp avatar.png
                Dump Water Florida
                United States
                Member #380
                June 5, 2002
                3369 Posts
                Offline

                Let's see now.  Five million tickets already sold  with 10%  to 20%  remaining that's still half a million to a million tickets left and this guy buys 40,000 what are the odds of winning even with most of the prizes supposedly available?  The judge should give him half his money back and order he take a lottery math class. 

                BobP

                  chasingadream's avatar - Archangel 01.jpg

                  United States
                  Member #38686
                  May 3, 2006
                  315 Posts
                  Offline

                  I am so glad that I don't live in that state........i hear so many stories about them being crooked.

                  Oogle  waiting patiently for my jackpot

                    Badger's avatar - adu50016 NorthAmericanBadger.jpg
                    Wisconsin
                    United States
                    Member #1303
                    March 27, 2003
                    1508 Posts
                    Offline

                    Let's see now.  Five million tickets already sold  with 10%  to 20%  remaining that's still half a million to a million tickets left and this guy buys 40,000 what are the odds of winning even with most of the prizes supposedly available?  The judge should give him half his money back and order he take a lottery math class. 

                    BobP

                    Yes indeed !  The Hoosier Lottery gets yet another black mark to its file (like it already doesn't have enough) but this guy is just as much responsible.  If I had $40,000 I didn't need, I would be using it to do many other things than purchase lottery tickets !

                    ============

                    How can you tell if a politician is lying?

                    Answer: His lips are moving.

                      ayenowitall's avatar - rod serling4.jpg

                      United States
                      Member #4416
                      April 22, 2004
                      1075 Posts
                      Offline

                      If I could afford to spend $40,000 on scratch-off tickets, I wouldn't be spending $40,000 on scratch-off tickets.

                        Avatar
                        Roslindale, MA
                        United States
                        Member #5377
                        July 1, 2004
                        141 Posts
                        Offline

                        If I could afford to spend $40,000 on scratch-off tickets, I wouldn't be spending $40,000 on scratch-off tickets.

                        I Agree!

                          RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                          100
                          mid-Ohio
                          United States
                          Member #9
                          March 24, 2001
                          20272 Posts
                          Offline

                          If I could afford to spend $40,000 on scratch-off tickets, I wouldn't be spending $40,000 on scratch-off tickets.

                          There are those who will say if they had an extra $10, they wouldn't spend it on a lottery ticket.  There were others included in the complaint that claimed they spent over a $1,000 on those tickets, it's all relative to the amount of money you have to spend.

                           * you don't need to buy every combination, just the winning ones * 

                          Thumbs Up       

                            cps10's avatar - Lottery-004.jpg
                            The Carolinas - Charlotte
                            United States
                            Member #21626
                            September 12, 2005
                            4142 Posts
                            Offline

                            This has to be one of the most bizarre stories I've ever heard. $40k on scratchers? Wow...first of all, he needs his head examined. But, I do understand that he did the math, based on the number of top prizes available, and the odds of the overall game, and decided that if he had purchased that many, he would at least break-even. I get that. I still think his math was off though.

                            Now, for the lottery itself, this is another situation like the California case. There should be some sort of restitution based on what he bought. There is no way he could get 4000 losers in a row without some sort of tainting of the game. Just when you think the Hoosier Lottery couldn't do anything more stupid than they already have, they prove you wrong, yet again.

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

                            Stooges