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Supermarket chain accused of allowing lottery sales to minors

Massachusetts LotteryMassachusetts Lottery: Supermarket chain accused of allowing lottery sales to minors
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Children hoping to buy lottery tickets from vending machines may soon find it more difficult.

Northeastern University's Public Health Advocacy Institute is demanding that Star Market remove scratch lottery ticket vending machines from its Massachusetts stores after, PHAI claims, a 14-year-old was able to purchase tickets from two stores.

According to NECN, PHAI sent a letter to the company stating that a 14-year-old boy was able to purchase tickets at Star Market locations on Beacon Street in Somerville and in Porter Square in Cambridge.

Citing Massachusetts law and Lottery Commission regulations explicitly prohibiting the sale of lottery tickets to anyone under the age of 18, the PHAI accused Star Market with violating the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act by selling lottery tickets to minors. Machines were placed near minor-friendly candy, soda, and snack machines to further entice children to use them, PHAI says.

To help curb this possible plague of wayward child gamblers, PHAI recommends that stores institute "effective controls," such as isolating the machines from areas most accessible to and frequented by minors, hang signs saying tickets cannot be sold to minors, and "lock" the machines so that an employee must unlock them to allow their use. Said employee must also verify that the intended purchaser is at least 18 years old. This would seem to make the process of buying a scratch card from an automatic vending machine significantly less automatic.

The PHAI sent the letter on behalf of Craig Kelley, the boy's father, and the Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation, which is dedicated to "ending the unfairness and inequality created by government-sponsored casinos and lotteries," according to itswebsite.

The PHAI asked for a response within 30 days with a "good faith settlement proposal." If not, the letter threatened:

"In the absence of an amicable resolution, we expect to seek an injunction against the continued operation of lottery instant ticket vending machines in your stores and other equitable relief, the award of statutory damages of $25 per sale, any appropriate multiplication of that award because of the company's use of unfair and deceptive sales practices, and the reimbursement of attorneys' fees and costs."

Star Market declined to comment on the letter.

Boston Globe

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21 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by plumsage.
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Portland, OR
United States
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August 20, 2013
226 Posts
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Posted: October 2, 2014, 10:09 am - IP Logged

Ridiculous.  Where is the harm that will be done to this 14 year old kid?  Oh he'll turn out a gambler.  BS!  Maybe his dad or relative asked him to buy it, who knows.  This will probably have many old timers going, "when I was a kid... and I didn't turn out...".  LOL

Ridiculous!  In my opinion this age limit to buy a darn lottery ticket is beyond ridiculous.  Same as being old enough to kill people at wars but not old enough to be allowed in a bar?  Ain't that lovely?  This Thanksgiving and Christmas, as always, a lot of kids will find a scratch lottery ticket(s) underneath their dinner plate or in their Holiday stocking socks; just worth mentioning.  There is no harm.

Not an old timer but when I was 8-13 years old my dad would ask me to go to the corner store to buy him a box of 20 cigarettes in the Summer time.  He would bother me three times a day with that.  Never smoked in my life.  Other country, other rules by the way.

"Understand... people are more complicated than the masks they wear in society... everyone is playing to win, and some people will use moral justifications to advance their side"

                                                                                                                                                          Robert Greene

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    New Member
    Richmond Texas
    United States
    Member #81193
    October 13, 2009
    14 Posts
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    Posted: October 2, 2014, 10:31 am - IP Logged

    I don't agree with minors having access to purchase items like alcohol and gambling products. Having said that; it all falls back to parental supervision. People claims the government is overreaching yet still they want their state to lock up public machines so their wayward children don't access them. 

    Question, how is it legal for an eight year old to go to a gun range in Arizona and shoot but cannot buy a scratch off? SMFH

      music*'s avatar - nw bookeep.jpg
      Happy California
      United States
      Member #157856
      August 2, 2014
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      Posted: October 2, 2014, 11:18 am - IP Logged

       The U.K.'s Callie Rogers comes to mind. She was sixteen when she won legally. She was not prepared for all the publicity and temptations.  Thank God she is still alive and doing well.

      US Flag

        haymaker's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
        Egg Harbor twp.south Jersey shore
        United States
        Member #112968
        June 29, 2011
        3854 Posts
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        Posted: October 2, 2014, 11:38 am - IP Logged

        Let em buy all they want, just make it clear they will not collect on winners, and the $ will be added to the next JP,

        not for whatever the state wants to use it for !

        It's called "no incentive"

         

        BTW  I also remember not only getting sent to the store to get cigs. for people,  (I quit years ago)

        but I placed my first bet at the racetrack when I was 14.

        Ohh the horrors, I still go to the track and always see people letting their kids pick the horse from the program,

        only now the adult has to make the actual bet.

        Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds    -- Charles Mackay  LL.D.

          LottoMetro's avatar - Lottery-024.jpg
          Happyland
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          September 1, 2013
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          Posted: October 2, 2014, 11:53 am - IP Logged

          "lock" the machines so that an employee must unlock them to allow their use

          Rigggghhtttt.....I'm sure that would go over like a lead balloon Skeptical

          If the chances of winning the jackpot are so slim, why play when the jackpot is so small? Your chances never change, but the potential payoff does.
          If a crystal ball showed you the future of the rest of your life, and in that future you will never win a jackpot, would you still play?

          2016: -48.28% (13 tickets) ||
          P&L % = Total Win($)/Total Wager($) - 1

            whiteballz's avatar - Lottery-015.jpg
            Nutley, New Jersey
            United States
            Member #131058
            August 1, 2012
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            Posted: October 2, 2014, 12:30 pm - IP Logged

            with all the horrible things that can happen to children now this is what they focus on? I only hope tax payer's money wasn't wasted on this.

            .

              whiteballz's avatar - Lottery-015.jpg
              Nutley, New Jersey
              United States
              Member #131058
              August 1, 2012
              875 Posts
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              Posted: October 2, 2014, 12:36 pm - IP Logged

              "lock" the machines so that an employee must unlock them to allow their use

              Rigggghhtttt.....I'm sure that would go over like a lead balloon Skeptical

              can you imagine having to ask a clerk to allow you to use the self service machines? That would make self service machines essentially useless.

              .

                shadowlady's avatar - Trek UFPSYM1.gif

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                April 7, 2014
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                Posted: October 2, 2014, 4:37 pm - IP Logged

                can you imagine having to ask a clerk to allow you to use the self service machines? That would make self service machines essentially useless.

                Yes, they are trying to make it impossible to use the machines.  Like that will help stop the underage purchasers, if they really want to buy them.

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                  Kentucky
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                  Member #32652
                  February 14, 2006
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                  Posted: October 2, 2014, 5:50 pm - IP Logged

                  There is a huge difference between selling any taboo item to a minor and finding out minors purchased those items from a vending machine. And what makes this story even more silly is most vending machines give credits for the value of winning tickets. Minors still must hand their winning tickets to clerks if they want cash making how they bought their tickets irrelevant.

                  The Northeastern University's Public Health Advocacy Institute along with the Stop Predatory Gambling Foundation are getting their five minutes of fame trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill. It looks like the The PHAI is trying to blackmail the store too.

                    noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
                    Bay Area - California
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                    December 12, 2012
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                    Posted: October 2, 2014, 9:33 pm - IP Logged

                    The 14 year old guys that l knew growing up were deep into schoolwork or deep into Girls. I don't know any 14 year old whose thinking of winning the lottery. 

                      dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
                      Oklahoma
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                      Posted: October 3, 2014, 11:29 am - IP Logged

                      This is ridiculous and sounds fishy so because a child decided to break the law adults have to be punish(locking the machines) where was the boys parents 14 year can't drive so somebody took him to the store.

                      I Love Pink & Green 1908

                        maringoman's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcTbRxpKQmOfcCoUqF2FyqIOAwDo7rg9G-lfJLAALPGWJWwiz19eRw
                        Massachusetts
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                        Posted: October 3, 2014, 5:56 pm - IP Logged

                        I prefer buying from the machines because the machine is cold and unconcerned...not that I buy lot of cards, because I don't. Maybe they can introduce machines with ID scanners to fix the problem. CT lottery has had them for a while now

                        That money's gone fo ever

                          Grovel's avatar - f800e6a39fbfea795d1dcbb09f2244
                          Little Rock, AR
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                          Posted: October 3, 2014, 7:54 pm - IP Logged

                          Here in Arkansas, you have to swipe you ID before you can use a lottery vending machine. It would cost money for them to switch the machines out, but it seems like a simple solution to their problem.

                            dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
                            Oklahoma
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                            Posted: October 4, 2014, 8:58 am - IP Logged

                            Here in Arkansas, you have to swipe you ID before you can use a lottery vending machine. It would cost money for them to switch the machines out, but it seems like a simple solution to their problem.

                            That's a good idea Thumbs Up

                            I Love Pink & Green 1908