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Players seek $250 million from Texas Lottery contractor

Texas LotteryTexas Lottery: Players seek $250 million from Texas Lottery contractor
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More than 500 players of a lottery scratch-off card filed suit against the game's developer seeking about $250 million in contested prize money.

Confusion over the rules led many to believe they had winning tickets, but those tickets were not honored by the state. The suit contends that the lottery's contractor, GTECH Corporation, owes prize money to the players because they wrote the rules and programmed the scanners to identify the winners.

GTECH Corporation spokeswoman Angela Wiczek said "we believe that the suit has no merit and we'll defend our actions."

Houston attorney Manfred Sternberg, who represents the players, said the rules imply that when people buy a scratch off ticket, they should "win whatever they said we would win."

He said GTECH programmed the computers to deny winning tickets, as defined by the rules. GTECH "programmed the computers that validate the tickets so that even though it looks as though we've won, they've programmed the computers to say that's not a winning ticket," Sternberg said.

The suit says GTECH was made aware of the confusion days after the game's release on Sept. 1, but made no changes to the game rules or scanner software. The game ran for seven weeks before the Texas Lottery Commission pulled it, saying in a statement that it had "received feedback from some players expressing confusion regarding certain aspects of this popular game."

The rule causing confusion concerns a tic-tac-toe game that which had a prize box beneath it, which players can scratch off to reveal a dollar amount. Next to it is box saying 5X.

The rules state: "Reveal a 'money bag' symbol in the 5X box, win five times that prize."

Lottery officials said the five-times multiplier is contingent upon the previous sentence, which explains that players should scratch off a "tic-tac-toe" combination. If they get a tic-tac-toe, they would win the prize amount. And if the card also has a money bag, that would multiply their prize by five, the officials said.

But that is not how the rules read, Sternberg said.

The suit filed in Travis County district court on Tuesday could be joined by another 1,000 players, and the amount sought in the suit will be updated to reflect the unpaid prize money, Sternberg said.

The players plan to seek legislative permission to sue the Texas Lottery Commission as well. The state, under sovereign immunity, cannot be sued without its permission in most cases.

Until or if lawmakers approve its suit, the players will pursue its case against GTECH.

"We don't care who pays it," Sternberg said. "We're trying to get what we believe the lottery told our clients in writing that they would pay."

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24 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by jimmy4164.
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TnTicketlosers's avatar - Lottery-065.jpg

United States
Member #71120
February 19, 2009
1209 Posts
Offline
Posted: December 16, 2014, 10:12 am - IP Logged

People need to stop playing these crooked Lottery scammers.I swear all the states is getting worse by the day it seems.I supported the Tennessee for years,never won nothing ,it sure feels good to be stronger than a bad habit.Its not worth it.I beat the odds.Cheryl

    RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
    mid-Ohio
    United States
    Member #9
    March 24, 2001
    19831 Posts
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    Posted: December 16, 2014, 11:24 am - IP Logged

    Most courts consider confusion and ignorance the same things, neither isn't a good excuse for not understanding the rules.  Continuing to play a game which they didn't understand was foolish.  Being confused, ignorant and foolish is no reason to be rewarded.

     * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
       
                 Evil Looking       

      ThatScaryChick's avatar - x1MqPuM
      Idaho
      United States
      Member #56506
      November 21, 2007
      6537 Posts
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      Posted: December 16, 2014, 1:10 pm - IP Logged

      I really don't see them winning this lawsuit. The ticket might have been confusing, but like RJOh said being confused doesn't mean that you should get money that you were never entitled to in the first place.

      "No one remembers the person who almost climbed the mountain, only the person who eventually gets to the top."

        noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
        Bay Area - California
        United States
        Member #136477
        December 12, 2012
        4111 Posts
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        Posted: December 16, 2014, 3:47 pm - IP Logged

        I Agree! Totally. For example l hear that there are internet sites showing one how to make " bombs".. If one decides to go ahead and make one leading to one's arrest- one cannot say " Hey, it's out there, all l did was make one"... Nice try.

        These folk have as much chance of winning this lawsuit as l have of finding my wallet l lost while upside down riding the " Demon" at Great America back in 2005.

        People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

          LottoMetro's avatar - Lottery-024.jpg
          Happyland
          United States
          Member #146344
          September 1, 2013
          1129 Posts
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          Posted: December 16, 2014, 4:46 pm - IP Logged

          It seems to me that they know they probably won't win but are pushing for a settlement. According to the suit they've specifically requested a jury trial, and juries are known for frequently ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in misrepresentation/false advertising cases like this.

          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

            Avatar
            Kentucky
            United States
            Member #32652
            February 14, 2006
            7325 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: December 16, 2014, 5:06 pm - IP Logged

            More than 500 players of a lottery scratch-off card filed suit against the game's developer seeking about $250 million in contested prize money.

            Confusion over the rules led many to believe they had winning tickets, but those tickets were not honored by the state. The suit contends that the lottery's contractor, GTECH Corporation, owes prize money to the players because they wrote the rules and programmed the scanners to identify the winners.

            GTECH Corporation spokeswoman Angela Wiczek said "we believe that the suit has no merit and we'll defend our actions."

            Houston attorney Manfred Sternberg, who represents the players, said the rules imply that when people buy a scratch off ticket, they should "win whatever they said we would win."

            He said GTECH programmed the computers to deny winning tickets, as defined by the rules. GTECH "programmed the computers that validate the tickets so that even though it looks as though we've won, they've programmed the computers to say that's not a winning ticket," Sternberg said.

            The suit says GTECH was made aware of the confusion days after the game's release on Sept. 1, but made no changes to the game rules or scanner software. The game ran for seven weeks before the Texas Lottery Commission pulled it, saying in a statement that it had "received feedback from some players expressing confusion regarding certain aspects of this popular game."

            The rule causing confusion concerns a tic-tac-toe game that which had a prize box beneath it, which players can scratch off to reveal a dollar amount. Next to it is box saying 5X.

            The rules state: "Reveal a 'money bag' symbol in the 5X box, win five times that prize."

            Lottery officials said the five-times multiplier is contingent upon the previous sentence, which explains that players should scratch off a "tic-tac-toe" combination. If they get a tic-tac-toe, they would win the prize amount. And if the card also has a money bag, that would multiply their prize by five, the officials said.

            But that is not how the rules read, Sternberg said.

            The suit filed in Travis County district court on Tuesday could be joined by another 1,000 players, and the amount sought in the suit will be updated to reflect the unpaid prize money, Sternberg said.

            The players plan to seek legislative permission to sue the Texas Lottery Commission as well. The state, under sovereign immunity, cannot be sued without its permission in most cases.

            Until or if lawmakers approve its suit, the players will pursue its case against GTECH.

            "We don't care who pays it," Sternberg said. "We're trying to get what we believe the lottery told our clients in writing that they would pay."

            Texas Lottery Commission pulled it, saying in a statement that it had "received feedback from some players expressing confusion regarding certain aspects of this popular game."

            One of our Texas LP members said they didn't play the Monopoly Millionaire Club game because the rules very confusing especially for a $5 a ticket game.

            If they get a tic-tac-toe, they would win the prize amount.

            Similar to the "match three like amounts and win that prize" scratch-offs, but some of those players believe they get a free ticket because they matched just one "free ticket" symbol. If these players are that confused, maybe they shouldn't be playing lottery games.

              mypiemaster's avatar - 2015021003pileofcash
              JACKPOT HUNTER

              United States
              Member #141034
              April 2, 2013
              1410 Posts
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              Posted: December 16, 2014, 5:53 pm - IP Logged

              Lottery rules should never be written like tech. industry EULA/Privacy agreements.....confusing to the masses that have no legal background.

              Seek and ye shall find -Matt. 7:7 ...Ask and ye shall receive -John 16:24 ...Give and it shall be given unto you -Luke 6:38 ...Be careful what you ask for!!! -Mypiemaster 1:1

              Having Money Solves Problems That Not Having Money Creates Yes Nod ****John Carlton****

                TheGameGrl's avatar - character catafly.jpg
                A long and winding road
                United States
                Member #17084
                June 10, 2005
                4533 Posts
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                Posted: December 16, 2014, 7:33 pm - IP Logged

                Lottery rules should never be written like tech. industry EULA/Privacy agreements.....confusing to the masses that have no legal background.

                Agreed. the case will be heard since its made it this far. No reason to NOT hold a company accountable that tampered with the software.  I disagree politely with the posters that "assume" ignorance of the law toss's out many a case. It doesn't. Toyota, McDonalds and Very large Pharmaceuticals are sued all the time ( and rightly so) for various "ignorant" people who entrust that what they are being sold is safe and follows standards. Again, Gtech tampering with software and dutifully tried to hide the goof up. They are accountable to the public buyer (player).

                ~~Is it true, Is it kind,Is it necessary. ~~~

                christmas holly jolly numbers: 255,303,6911, 474,477 silver:47,gold:79.

                  Avatar
                  Kentucky
                  United States
                  Member #32652
                  February 14, 2006
                  7325 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: December 16, 2014, 9:31 pm - IP Logged

                  Most courts consider confusion and ignorance the same things, neither isn't a good excuse for not understanding the rules.  Continuing to play a game which they didn't understand was foolish.  Being confused, ignorant and foolish is no reason to be rewarded.

                  The suit contends that the lottery's contractor, GTECH Corporation, owes prize money to the players because they wrote the rules and programmed the scanners to identify the winners.

                  A question will be "did the players buy the tickets from GTECH" and just a guess, but I doubt the majority of scratch-off players in Texas or in any other state can name who manufactured the tickets. It's going to interesting to see how these confused players can prove GTECH is responsible for the rules when all the Lottery rules are made with the approval of the Texas legislators.

                  "Being confused, ignorant and foolish is no reason to be rewarded."

                  It doesn't look like you followed Bill Cosby's current problems.

                    RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                    mid-Ohio
                    United States
                    Member #9
                    March 24, 2001
                    19831 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: December 16, 2014, 10:04 pm - IP Logged

                    The suit contends that the lottery's contractor, GTECH Corporation, owes prize money to the players because they wrote the rules and programmed the scanners to identify the winners.

                    A question will be "did the players buy the tickets from GTECH" and just a guess, but I doubt the majority of scratch-off players in Texas or in any other state can name who manufactured the tickets. It's going to interesting to see how these confused players can prove GTECH is responsible for the rules when all the Lottery rules are made with the approval of the Texas legislators.

                    "Being confused, ignorant and foolish is no reason to be rewarded."

                    It doesn't look like you followed Bill Cosby's current problems.

                    "Being confused, ignorant and foolish is no reason to be rewarded."

                    "It doesn't look like you followed Bill Cosby's current problems."

                    Is he asking to be rewarded for being confused, ignorant and foolish too?   Players like him don't usually complain when they buy a losing lottery ticket.

                     * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
                       
                                 Evil Looking       

                      Avatar
                      San Diego, CA
                      United States
                      Member #58386
                      February 12, 2008
                      287 Posts
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                      Posted: December 16, 2014, 10:47 pm - IP Logged

                      I am a stickler for proper English.   Sensibly tic-tac-toe is needed to claim the 5x bonus.

                      However, the sentence does not say winning 5x the prize is dependent on having tic-tac-toe.  It is not out of the realm of possibility that winning the 5x bonus is independent on having tic-tac-toe.

                      The players have a case.

                        Avatar
                        NY
                        United States
                        Member #23835
                        October 16, 2005
                        3475 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: December 17, 2014, 1:51 am - IP Logged

                        I am a stickler for proper English.   Sensibly tic-tac-toe is needed to claim the 5x bonus.

                        However, the sentence does not say winning 5x the prize is dependent on having tic-tac-toe.  It is not out of the realm of possibility that winning the 5x bonus is independent on having tic-tac-toe.

                        The players have a case.

                        " the sentence does not say winning 5x the prize is dependent on having tic-tac-toe."

                        The rules shown on the  ticket are only two sentences long, and really shouldn't confuse people. Even if it does, being confused doesn't give you  any legal rights you didn't already have. The only thing that might give their case legitimacy would be if that sentence is actually misleading, but the sentence itself is extremely clear: "Reveal a 'money bag' symbol in the 5X box, win five times that prize." The only reasonable interpretation of the sentence depends on what "that prize" refers to. Since there is no prize shown in the 5X box it should be pretty obvious that it refers to the prize described in the previous sentence.

                        Aside from the simple  interpretation of the two sentences on the front of the ticket, the back of the ticket includes a very standard disclaimer about "applicable laws, rules, procedures and final decisions of [the] Executive Director". That means it's the lottery's understanding of the rules that matter, not the players'.

                        "The players have a case."

                        So does everyone else who files some paperwork and pays a fee. What they don't have is a realistic chance of winning the case.

                          RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                          mid-Ohio
                          United States
                          Member #9
                          March 24, 2001
                          19831 Posts
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                          Posted: December 17, 2014, 2:16 am - IP Logged

                          I Agree! Totally. For example l hear that there are internet sites showing one how to make " bombs".. If one decides to go ahead and make one leading to one's arrest- one cannot say " Hey, it's out there, all l did was make one"... Nice try.

                          These folk have as much chance of winning this lawsuit as l have of finding my wallet l lost while upside down riding the " Demon" at Great America back in 2005.

                          At least if someday someone finds your wallet it might be returned to you because it existed and belonged to you.  This group is trying to claim $250M that never belonged to anyone because it never existed.

                           * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
                             
                                       Evil Looking       

                            Avatar
                            San Diego, CA
                            United States
                            Member #58386
                            February 12, 2008
                            287 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: December 17, 2014, 2:16 am - IP Logged

                            " the sentence does not say winning 5x the prize is dependent on having tic-tac-toe."

                            The rules shown on the  ticket are only two sentences long, and really shouldn't confuse people. Even if it does, being confused doesn't give you  any legal rights you didn't already have. The only thing that might give their case legitimacy would be if that sentence is actually misleading, but the sentence itself is extremely clear: "Reveal a 'money bag' symbol in the 5X box, win five times that prize." The only reasonable interpretation of the sentence depends on what "that prize" refers to. Since there is no prize shown in the 5X box it should be pretty obvious that it refers to the prize described in the previous sentence.

                            Aside from the simple  interpretation of the two sentences on the front of the ticket, the back of the ticket includes a very standard disclaimer about "applicable laws, rules, procedures and final decisions of [the] Executive Director". That means it's the lottery's understanding of the rules that matter, not the players'.

                            "The players have a case."

                            So does everyone else who files some paperwork and pays a fee. What they don't have is a realistic chance of winning the case.

                            "The rule causing confusion concerns a tic-tac-toe game that which had a prize box beneath it, which players can scratch off to reveal a dollar amount"

                            There is a prize whether it is won or not with the Tic-Tac-Toe game.

                            The way it is written it could be interpreted that there are two games. The Tic-Tac-Toe game and the scratching off of the money bag.