LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An irate lottery player claimed in county court that Arkansas Lottery officials tried to keep him quiet about flawed lotto tickets.
In a class action, the man says that the security director of the Arkansas Lottery Commission offered him "a bizarre assortment of Lottery merchandise" and asked him to keep quiet about flawed tickets, so the Lottery would not lose money while it had the tickets reprinted.
Lead plaintiff Rick Tomboli sued the Arkansas Lottery Commission and its top officials, including its security director Lance Huey, in Pulaski County Court.
Tomboli claims that he spent $40 to buy three lottery tickets on April 27 — two $10 tickets and a $20 ticket. He claims that he bought the $20 ticket "at the unusual urging of the retailer."
The $20 ticket was for the lottery's Game No. 130, aka "Arkansas Millionaire's Club," Tomboli says in the complaint.
He says he immediately scratched off the numbers of the $20, which was not a winner, then bought another $20 ticket, which was a $20 winner.
"Plaintiff noticed that both of the $20 tickets had an unusual small pin prick on a covered section of the ticket called 'Bonus $50,'" the complaint states.
Tomboli says he "went back inside the retailer's place of business and confronted the clerk who sold him all of the tickets. He asked to see the next few tickets in the case, and observed that all of them had the same tiny pin prick."
Tomboli claims he "told a coworker not to buy tickets from that particular retailer because the ticket tampering."
The complaint continues: "His coworker was so upset at the tampering that he immediately called the phone number on back of the ticket to report the fraud.
"The next day, the Director of Security Lance Huey and another Lottery security employee came to plaintiff's work place, and in front of plaintiff's coworkers and employers, demanded to speak to plaintiff.
"Huey acknowledged that the $20 tickets were tampered with. Huey showed plaintiff a stack of altered tickets intended for sale to the public. He said the large stack of altered tickets was found in the retailer's inventory of tickets as well as the tickets contained in the case.
"Huey also told the plaintiff that the tickets would be pulled from sale, that there was a problem in the manufacture of the tickets, and that the tickets had been floated incorrectly. Huey assured plaintiff that the offending employees of the retailer would be fired.
"On or about the next day, Huey came by to plaintiff's place of employment and offered to plaintiff a bizarre assortment of Lottery merchandise including, but not limited to eight (8) Lottery tote bags, six (6) Lottery shirts, five (5) pair of Lottery sunglasses and 8-12 Lottery hats. Huey again assured plaintiff that everyone involved in the tampering was fired from the store. He also conveyed to plaintiff that someone from the retailer would contact him to maybe find a way to compensate him.
"On April 25, 2012, [sic] plaintiff went back to the same lottery retailer that sold him the altered tickets. He observed that one of the offending clerks was still selling tickets, and that Game No. 130 was still being offered to the public for sale. He took a photograph of the clerk and the ticket case.
"The next day, Huey frantically called him back. He said that he heard that plaintiff might go to the press with his story. He confided in plaintiff that the Arkansas Lottery didn't want to pull the Game No. 130 off the shelves because the Lottery would lose money while waiting for [Scientific Games] to re-print the tickets. Huey also reminded plaintiff that the Lottery knew that the tickets were not properly floated, but wanted them to remain on the shelves for the time being.
"Huey admonished the plaintiff not to tell anyone about the flawed tickets." (Brackets in complaint.)
The apparent confusion in dates is as in the complaint. It states that Tomboli bought his first flawed tickets on April 27, then returned to the store days later, on April 25.
Scientific Games, the printer, is not a party to the complaint.
But Tomboli claims: "Scientific Games International, Inc. provided a game that has a design defect which allows Lottery retailers and/or their employees to inconspicuously ascertain if the ticket is worth more than $50.00.
"The mechanism by which a winning ticket may be identified is imperceptible to most lottery players.
"This security defect has been exploited by at least 1 retailer, resulting in the sale of known non-winning lottery tickets to Arkansas consumers.
"The Director of the Arkansas Lottery Commission and the Director of Security of the Arkansas Lottery Commission are aware of the design defect but refuse to pull Game No. 130 from the shelves of Arkansas Lottery Retailers.
"The Director of the Arkansas Lottery commission and the Director of Security of the
Arkansas Lottery Commission are aware that Game No. 130 can be and has been tampered with on the retailer level in such a way that the public can be unknowingly deceived in the purchase of the tickets."
Defendants include Lottery Commission Director Bishop Woolsey.
Tomboli seeks class damages for breach of contract, breach of faith and misrepresentation. He is represented by John W. Walker.
(Click to display full-size in gallery)