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CT lawmakers again seek lottery winnings from 1995 ticket

Connecticut LotteryConnecticut Lottery: CT lawmakers again seek lottery winnings from 1995 ticket
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By the time state Rep. Ernest Hewett met him, "the kid" was in his 30s.

But to Hewett, the six-term Democrat from New London, Clarence Jackson's still the kid. And Hewett says he'll keep fighting for him until Jackson gets the $5.8 million Connecticut lottery jackpot that's eluded him for more than 18 years.

"'Give the kid the money' — that's what they used to say around the Capitol," Hewett recalled last week. "That's what we ought to do."

Jackson's oft-told story, revived again this month during a public hearing conducted by the Public Safety and Security Committee, begins around 11:15 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, 1996, the date on which Jackson's sister discovered he possessed a winning lottery ticket purchased Friday, Oct. 13, 1995. Media reports about an unclaimed jackpot had prompted her search.

At that point, Jackson had 45 minutes to validate the ticket before it expired. Lottery headquarters were closed that Sunday and they were closed the next day, too, which happened to be Columbus Day.

That Tuesday, depressed amid media reports of the missed deadline, Jackson, a Hamden resident, again failed to make it to the Newington headquarters. When he finally presented the ticket there that Wednesday, he was told he was too late. Seventy-two hours too late.

Since then, legislators have proposed more than a dozen bills and amendments aimed at extending the deadline for claiming lottery prizes. In 1997, 2004 and 2006, the House adopted such an amendment, only to have it die on the vine or in the Senate.

In 1998, a state Superior Court judge sided with the lottery in a lawsuit lodged by Jackson.

Now Hewett has revived Jackson's cause, teaming with Sen. Eric Coleman, D-Bloomfield, to sponsor a bill that addresses what Hewett sees as the injustice of it all.

House Bill No. 5924 specifies that a person who presents a winning lottery ticket within 72 hours of the deadline for a lottery game expiring on or after July 1, 1996, can claim a prize until Aug. 1, 2015.

"Upon such filing, the Connecticut Lottery Corp. shall award such a prize," the bill says.

Why has Hewett taken up the gauntlet?

"I've just found Clarence Jackson's story so compelling," Hewett said. "He was a young man when I first met him. His mother was living then and she's now passed away. Since then, he's gone on to college and got married."

Hewett and others have cited the "extenuating circumstances" surrounding Jackson's case, including distractions that caused him to forget about the winning lottery ticket his sister found in a drawer. Jackson's ailing father was bedridden at the time, and Jackson worked to support an extended family, cleaning supermarkets at night.

Jackson mistakenly believed his winning ticket had to be presented at lottery headquarters. In fact, he could have had it validated at any lottery agent, including the Hamden convenience store where he bought it, which was open that Sunday night in October 1996.

"Clarence didn't know he could do that," Hewett said. "And I'll bet 80 percent of the people who play the lottery don't know that, either. Back then, there was some confusion about the rules. ... It's like the surgeon general's warning on a pack of cigarettes. That wasn't always there."

In testimony before the public safety committee, Anne Noble, head of the Connecticut Lottery Corp., urged defeat of the bill Hewett co-sponsored. She warned that its passage could cost the state millions of dollars and "open the floodgates to claims that the lottery must pay a prize, even when the rules plainly prohibit such payment ... a Pandora's box."

The lottery, she said, has no way of determining whether tickets purchased before 2008 were ever validated within 72 hours of their expiration or even if they're authentic.

Since 1996, Noble said, more than $255.4 million in lottery prizes have gone unclaimed, "the maximum prize liability to date for this bill."

"That is the biggest crock," Hewett said of Noble's concerns about the lottery's potential liability. "I don't doubt that those prizes are unclaimed, but it's because people lost those tickets or don't even know they hit the lottery. If they knew, they'd be doing the same thing Clarence is doing."

One of the enduring arguments against a law to accommodate Jackson is the precedent-setting nature of it. Rules are rules, after all.

Proponents of a remedy note that legislatures in other states, including Kansas, Maryland, New York and Ohio, have bent their rules to accommodate specific situations involving lost or expired lottery tickets. In the 1970s, the Connecticut legislature passed a bill ordering payment of a $10,000 prize to a 17-year-old who had purchased a winning lottery ticket in violation of state law.

"How will you say no to other similar claims?" Noble asked.

How, Hewett wants to know, can the legislature keep saying no to the kid?

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9 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by zinniagirl.
Page 1 of 1
geerod2001's avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
canton,georgia
United States
Member #67345
November 23, 2008
28 Posts
Offline
Posted: February 23, 2015, 11:14 am - IP Logged

I do not understand why some states have a 180 day and others have a one year deadline in claiming prize money.

Why the discrepancy's among the various lotteries?

 

And another thing. I don't hear about unclaimed prize money rolling over into jackpots like I used to many years ago.Why not?

 

What does the national lottery's do with all the 100's of millions of unclaimed prize moneys each year?

 

This topic needs to be investigated by the news media.

    uprrman's avatar - nw bookeep.jpg
    harvard,il
    United States
    Member #96756
    September 4, 2010
    2454 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: February 23, 2015, 12:19 pm - IP Logged

    I do not understand why some states have a 180 day and others have a one year deadline in claiming prize money.

    Why the discrepancy's among the various lotteries?

     

    And another thing. I don't hear about unclaimed prize money rolling over into jackpots like I used to many years ago.Why not?

     

    What does the national lottery's do with all the 100's of millions of unclaimed prize moneys each year?

     

    This topic needs to be investigated by the news media.

    pretty sure they have a plan for it somewhere. Green laugh

    ill could use all the lottery unclaimed money to get out of the mess they have made by overspending.

    i want to be a millionaire a second time!

      Gleno's avatar - Lottery-001.jpg
      New Jersey
      United States
      Member #80354
      September 25, 2009
      705 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: February 23, 2015, 3:13 pm - IP Logged

      This is a long shot for Mr. Clarence Jackson, but hope he gets his prize money.

      Wink

        HaveABall's avatar - rocket

        United States
        Member #72448
        March 18, 2009
        1228 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: February 23, 2015, 3:26 pm - IP Logged

        This is a long shot for Mr. Clarence Jackson, but hope he gets his prize money.

        Wink

        I agree, too bad Jackson wasn't a verbose "in-public" complainer ... who wandered into some lottery retailer.  Perhaps the clerk or owner would have:  heard him, listened to him, and emphatically instructed him to validate his ticket with their computer right then and there that weekend day that he found the ticket!

        Uber mentally anguishing to be Jackson from that point 'til today. Troll

        Having several millions of dollars in my financial accounts means receiving several valuable services each day!

        Disney

          plumsage's avatar - rinard

          United States
          Member #132459
          September 4, 2012
          287 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: February 23, 2015, 5:53 pm - IP Logged

          I always thought if you had winnings over a certain amount it had to be validated at lottery headquarters.  Wow this story is crazy.

            maringoman's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcTbRxpKQmOfcCoUqF2FyqIOAwDo7rg9G-lfJLAALPGWJWwiz19eRw
            Massachusetts
            United States
            Member #37433
            April 14, 2006
            2747 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: February 23, 2015, 6:46 pm - IP Logged

            The rules are well known and clearly written at the back of the tickets. If this guy gets paid, who's to stop other tardy players from coming forward to demand their jackpots too? The only issue I have with this story is how the Connecticut lottery kept those millions as if it deserved them. I feel that the lottery should have run a lottery ticket promo of buy 1 get 1 free until they ran out of those millions. Maybe the judge should rule in favor of last minute guy...

            That money's gone fo ever

              Avatar

              United States
              Member #163996
              February 15, 2015
              68 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: February 23, 2015, 9:39 pm - IP Logged

              As my Grandma use to say, "You Snooze, You Lose."  Crying

               

              What happens to that forgotten/unclaimed $$ is an interesting issue.  Does it go into a secret slush fund to overthrow casinos? Green laugh

                Avatar

                United States
                Member #160355
                October 25, 2014
                101 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: February 23, 2015, 10:26 pm - IP Logged

                There has to be a cut off somewhere. He missed it. The only reason anyone really gives a $hit is because we can put 

                a name and face to it. Then all the liberals chime in.."awww c'mon give him his money"

                Bottom line is..the guy's a loser. In the lottery and the game of life.

                  zinniagirl's avatar - flower avatar_0026.jpg
                  nc
                  United States
                  Member #99520
                  October 26, 2010
                  375 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: February 24, 2015, 8:43 am - IP Logged

                  when you buy a ticket you are agreeing to the rules. You are responsible for reading them.  "You snooze, you lose."  You have to be 18 to purchase a ticket, technically an adult.  I work two jobs, care for my ailing parent, take college classes, and care for my 8 yr and 12 yr old.  Somehow, I still find time to check my tickets.  The deadline is clearly stated.  Are you going to tell me that this young man didn't take anytime to play ball or go to a movie, etc? Apparently, his sister had plenty of time to check the tickets, she couldn't have checked them begore the last day?