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Lottery practices sound, Ariz. officials say

Arizona LotteryArizona Lottery: Lottery practices sound, Ariz. officials say

Despite a Valley lawyer's filing class-action lawsuits against various state lotteries, including Colorado and Indiana, alleging deceptive practices regarding Scratchers tickets, the Arizona Lottery appears to be in the clear.

Although these lawsuits against state lotteries are popping up throughout the country — one of the most recent was filed by a business professor in Virginia — Arizona Lottery representatives say a suit against them would fail because they believe they have sound policies in place.

Rob Carey, leader of the lotto crusade and former top aide in the Arizona Attorney General's Office, said the policy in question in other states is the practice of continuing to sell Scratchers tickets after the grand prizes have already been claimed.

"Everybody is kind of appalled now that it's (the policy is) out in the mainstream," said Carey, who now works for Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, a law firm with offices in Phoenix that handles numerous class-action lawsuits. "Why do you need to cheat on top of a game that's designed to be extremely profitable for the state?"

Arizona Lottery Director Art Macias Jr. said the agency decided in December 2000 to immediately end Scratchers games after the last grand prize is claimed. The Arizona Lottery sells tickets for more than 20 Scratchers games at a time for $2 to $10, and grand prizes range from $10,000 to $100,000.

Macias said this state's policy does not cheat its consumers, though.

'The best practice'

Carey said if the Arizona Lottery's policy is truly what the Lottery director says it is, he will not file another lawsuit in Arizona, but he also said he won't rule anything out if he thinks otherwise.

"This lottery case is not a case about money; it's a case about principle," Carey said. "This is something that if shown to me it's still a problem, I'd probably take action, but I'm hoping Arizona stepped up to the plate and did the right thing."

Carey, whose Colorado suit is pending, unsuccessfully sued the Arizona Lottery in 2000.

The suit was thrown out of court based on a technicality regarding Carey's class-action representative. However, Macias said a change in the Lottery's policy had already been in the works since 1998 when the Government Accountability Office did a performance audit and "made certain recommendations that led to this policy."

"Any threat of a lawsuit is backwards-looking and not applying to current circumstances," Macias said.

Former Arizona Lottery Director Geoffrey Gonsher, who headed the agency at the time of Carey's lawsuit, said it did seem to him that Scratchers tickets used to be on sale "for what seemed to be forever," but in an effort to better the agency, the policy was changed.

Macias said the process of deciding to end a Scratchers game and pulling the game from the shelves is immediate. He added that he believes the Lottery's policy is "the best practice in the industry."

"It's almost like an expiration date on a package of food. After a certain time, it either doesn't taste very good, or you've got new product with new packaging," he said.

'It'd be misleading'

Terrence Freeman, who was buying Scratchers tickets from an Arizona Lottery kiosk at Christown Spectrum Mall in Phoenix, said he would be upset if he knew he had just bought a Scratchers ticket without any possibility of winning the $10,000 grand prize he was taking his chances on.

"I'd be upset, to be honest with you," Freeman said. "It'd be misleading. That's (the grand prize) what I'm paying for."

Matt Willis, who was buying Scratchers tickets at the same location, said that although he was interested in the grand prize, he was also hoping to win any of the smaller prizes in the game.

"I'm playing for it all, but the grand prize is the bait," he said.

Arizona Republic

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4 comments. Last comment 8 years ago by murph1226.
Page 1 of 1

United States
Member #3676
February 10, 2004
425 Posts
Offline
Posted: July 23, 2008, 10:26 am - IP Logged

How about here in Illinois where they will PULL games off that still have the jackpot prizes left when a high % of tickets were sold. They claim the games aren't "selling well". Meanwhile they just pull them back because it becomes profitable for them to do so to not pay off the top prizes.

The lottery in this country is truly a disgrace with the all the misleading that goes on with lump sums, double taxation, and the downright putrid payback %'s.

    fbird's avatar - nw archer.jpg
    White Lake,Mi
    United States
    Member #1495
    May 12, 2003
    5546 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: July 25, 2008, 3:43 pm - IP Logged

    mich is a joke in this regard. When one of the TV stations in town pointed out, that they still sold tickets, after the the grand prizes had been sold, the MSL response was.... that people still liked buying those tickets and still have a chance of winning a lesser prize ( yeah right !!!!!!!!!). So, their fix to this "problem" was to post a copy of the remaining top prizes in all stores that sell scratch off tickets....LOL !!!!!!! What a joke they are. And the ones that are posted are usually a week old...like no winners could have been sold during that time.Its about time someone held accountable, the sleazeballs that control our state lotteries.I pray that they add Michigan to their list.

    VAL

    Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me: I may not follow.

    Just walk beside me and be my friend.

              Albert Camus

      Avatar
      Oklahoma City
      United States
      Member #54055
      August 2, 2007
      22 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: July 28, 2008, 5:12 pm - IP Logged

      How about here in Illinois where they will PULL games off that still have the jackpot prizes left when a high % of tickets were sold. They claim the games aren't "selling well". Meanwhile they just pull them back because it becomes profitable for them to do so to not pay off the top prizes.

      The lottery in this country is truly a disgrace with the all the misleading that goes on with lump sums, double taxation, and the downright putrid payback %'s.

      I don't agree with you on this.  If a lottery is on pace to sell out of all tickets in a game, trust me they will be making a large profit even with paying all the top prizes.  Think about any product, if it isn't selling why would you keep it around?  That game is taking up space you could fill with a new game that would actually move.  Not to mention lotteries love to see big winners.  It's good press. 

        Avatar
        Oklahoma City
        United States
        Member #54055
        August 2, 2007
        22 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: July 29, 2008, 11:34 am - IP Logged

        To clarify...pull the game if top prizes are sold, agree with  you there.