PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — One man's faith in the reliability of Florida's lottery system has been shaken after an odd incident.
It was around 8:30 p.m. the evening after a drawing. Robert Campisi, 48, a retired business owner and electrical contractor, was in the Exxon at 7624 Front Beach Road.
Campisi said he was engaged in an activity that is all too familiar to him. And like most of the time, as he scanned the "Powerball" and "Quick Pick" lottery tickets at the external scanner, an all too familiar message appeared on the LED screen in bright, aqua letters: "Not a Winner."
"I said, 'ah, you might want to double check them; why don't you scan 'em again,' just joking around," Campisi said. "So [the clerk] scanned the first one, the Powerball — 'Not a Winner.' Then he scanned the second one — 'Winner $6.' "
Campisi said his jaw dropped.
"No way," he said. "Bologna."
The numbers drawn the night before on Sept. 5 at 10:15 p.m. were 23-28-29-36-37-46. A few of those numbers — 23, 28 and 36 — matched up in the B row of Campisi's ticket he purchased Sept. 5 at 6:04 p.m. This made Campisi one of the 24,210 individuals who won $6 on the "3-of-6" prize level, the minimum amount of matching numbers to constitute a "win."
The money, Campisi said, was not the issue. For him, the reliability of the system he had paid into for years was now a concern.
"People spend ridiculous amounts of money on the lottery; I'm one of them," Campisi said. "I'm peeved, and I'm starting to wonder how many wins I have missed."
The clerk then handed Campisi his lottery ticket, with "Winning Ticket" now etched upon its face; a validation ticket, with a time and date stamp; and the $6.
Campisi said he reported the incident to the manager of the Exxon and then sent an email to the Florida Lottery Offices in Pensacola detailing his complaint.
The Florida Lottery investigated the incident through GTech, the vendor who produces the Express Point Plus ticket scanners (EEPs).
Connie Barnes, Florida Lottery communication director, said there have been no incidents of this sort reported during her employment with Florida Lottery.
According to Barnes, GTech's records indicated a similar scenario to what Campisi stated; however, "the Lotto ticket he presented at the counter was different than the Lotto ticket he presented to the self-scanner, and that was a $6 winning ticket," Barnes said.
Barnes said GTech's EEPs keep "very detailed records tracking all transactions."
The Florida Lottery would not produce the document detailing the cross-referenced times, serial numbers and locations, due to some of the contents being "proprietary information," according to Shelly Safford, senior public affairs specialist.
But, Campisi doesn't buy the explanation.
He said he has been playing the Florida Lotto actively once or twice a week for the past five or six years, and the Florida Lottery's claim could not be correct.
Campisi said his routine is to buy one Powerball ticket and one Lotto ticket at a time.
"Lottery is big money and a lot of people use those external scanners," Campisi said. "If it happened to me just one time, then it tells you the system doesn't work."
Management at the Exxon, and the clerk Campisi said was present during the time of the incident, declined to comment.
"You're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars," Campisi said. "That sucker should be right on."
He added, "I won't trust it ever again."
(Click to display in gallery)
(Click to display in gallery)
Thanks to lottoballz for the tip.