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Nebraska woman told her winning lottery ticket is a dud

Nov 26, 2018, 10:05 am

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Nebraska LotteryNebraska Lottery: Nebraska woman told her winning lottery ticket is a dudRating:

Connie Johnson got one of the very first scratch-off cards for the Nebraska Lottery's new Christmas game, Holiday Bonus Bucks.

In fact, the lady at Russ's Market, where Johnson goes to get prescriptions filled, hadn't even opened the packets for the new lottery game.

"Have you got anything new?" Johnson asked. The woman opened the new game tickets.

Johnson bought four of them, drove home, did a little house work, then sat down and scratched one.

"It said I won $1,000!"

Johnson was thrilled. She'd never won anything, and $1,000 would come in handy to the widow who was stretched financially and emotionally.

Johnson has been taking care of her sister-in-law, who has Alzheimer's. That's been time-consuming and draining.

One thousand dollars was a special gift. So she wrote out a quick list: $200 to a relative who's having some problems; Johnson's car tires are bald, so new tires went on the list; $100 to a friend who recently lost her job.

And then, whatever was left over she would set aside for Christmas. She was hoping for $300.

Johnson knew she couldn't cash out a winning ticket that large at the retailer, and she lives just a few blocks from the lottery office.

But first she called the office and read off her winning combination.

"Well, that's not showing on my computer," the employee said.

So Johnson took her ticket to the office.

"This is strange. I see why you think you've won. You've got the right symbols," said the lottery employee.

The employee excused herself and went into another area.

"She came back out with a purple lottery winner T-shirt and gave it to me," Johnson said.

Then a manager came out and asked her to fill out the back of the card. There seemed to be some question about whether she had actually won.

"We'll get back to you. I've got to make some calls," she was told.

So Johnson left with her purple winner's T-shirt, but no $1,000.

She has since been told she's not a winner. The tickets were incorrectly printed. They don't match with the predetermined winning combinations that are recorded on a game file available to lottery staff.

Nebraska Lottery quickly closed down that game, not too long after Johnson showed up with her not-so-winning ticket.

The next day, Johnson remembered the other three tickets. So she scratched them off. And she had several $40,000 winning combinations.

Once more she drove to the lottery office and filled out some big, long forms. But by then, Johnson had resigned herself to the fact "that this was a horrendous nightmare."

Ten days later, she saw information about the game on the lottery website, indicating the lottery was hoping to get compensation for the players from the company that printed the tickets, International Game Technology.

But in early November, right after her 71st birthday, she got a "Dear John" letter telling her the negotiations with IGT had not been successful. So there would be no money.

State law says there will be no prize money paid for tickets produced or issued in error, says Brian Rockey, state lottery director.

The lottery gets working papers when a game is ordered, showing what the prizes are, and what the winning combinations will be.

"That is the road map," Rockey said.

The law is aimed at preventing someone from altering a ticket or submitting a fraudulent claim, said Rockey. So when the ticket deviates from the game plan, the state cannot pay out.

The winner amounts on erroneously printed tickets varied from a few dollars to a few $40,000 prizes, he said.

That game was to have just three $40,000 winners, he said.

Some people actually have winning combinations.

In fact, the state lottery had received 150 of the approximately 400 Holiday Bonus Bucks tickets sold and determined that 18 tickets were official winning tickets; 50 tickets were printed in error and had won a prize less than the prize shown on the ticket and 82 tickets were printed in error and did not win a prize based on the official game file, but appeared to win prizes because of the incorrectly printed symbols.

"We've never had anything like this, to this degree. It was a real fluke. I'm glad we were able to catch it when we did or there would be many more disappointed people," Rockey said.

He said the lottery staff did some research around the country to see how other lotteries handled these kinds of errors. None of them paid the prizes.

"It's not ideal by any stretch. We have tried to be as responsive and up front as we can be," he said.

Johnson has heard about other players with winning cards that weren't winners. A Grand Island man, Chad Keezer, had a $40,000 erroneously printed ticket.

In her last letter from the lottery, Johnson was given coupons for $100 in scratch cards and copies of her non-winning tickets to use in a second-chance drawing. But she is not very excited about playing the lottery these days.

Johnson is disappointed.

Disappointed she didn't win $1,000, let alone $40,000.

Disappointed that the issue was handled so poorly, with no personal notification to people who thought they had winning tickets, until after the information was on the website.

Disappointed that her winnings are $100 in coupons for lottery tickets and a T-shirt that says she is a winner, when she is not.

At least the T-shirt is purple, she says.

"That is my favorite color. Maybe I could wear it inside-out."

Lincoln Journal Star

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17 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by Tucker Black.
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TheMeatman2005's avatar - lightening
Brooklyn, NY
United States
Member #169719
October 29, 2015
1482 Posts
Offline
Posted: November 26, 2018, 10:32 am - IP Logged

They did give her $100 for scratchers. Maybe she'll win on those tickets.

One never knows. Good luck!

The Meatman 🥩🍗🍔🍖🍤🌭

“The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” Will Rogers

Winning happens in a flash, Like A Bolt Of Lightning!  Patriot

    Avatar
    michigan
    United States
    Member #176936
    September 2, 2016
    837 Posts
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    Posted: November 26, 2018, 10:48 am - IP Logged

    What a bummer!! I would never play again after this!! If players start vowing from playing, they would pay these types of errors out. Not the players fault!!

      lejardin's avatar - Lottery-014.jpg

      United States
      Member #118605
      November 4, 2011
      1423 Posts
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      Posted: November 26, 2018, 10:57 am - IP Logged

      WHAT A CROCK.  They need to give her the money one way or other.

        Avatar
        Simpsonville
        United States
        Member #163184
        January 22, 2015
        2228 Posts
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        Posted: November 26, 2018, 11:49 am - IP Logged

        Too bad there wasn't some kind of law, or JUST DECENCY that when the lottery screws up, they just pay that paltry sum then close the game out.

         

        Just like the disclaimer on all slot machines 'Machine malfunction voids payouts' or something like that.

          music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
          Fresno, California
          United States
          Member #157851
          August 2, 2014
          3920 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: November 26, 2018, 12:15 pm - IP Logged

          There is the possibility that a machine malfunction could result in millions of dollars being won erroneously.  Nebraska lottery must protect themselves with rules. It is harsh but necessary.

           Personally, I only play MM & PB. 

           Like it has been said before, "Don't count your chickens until they are hatched." 

           "We are all in this together!" 

            TheGameGrl's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
            A long and winding road
            United States
            Member #17083
            June 10, 2005
            6432 Posts
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            Posted: November 26, 2018, 12:22 pm - IP Logged

            In an age of consumer product accountability..a refund for the face value would have been the proper thing to do since the lottery collected the monies on a defective product.

            It's one thing to 'risk' in gambling... it's another when it's deemed null and void thru production error.

            7072 8557 6011 4337

            I was addicted to the hokey pokey, then I turned my life around .

              One2win's avatar - Trek Galaxy2.gif
              MyTown
              Bahamas
              Member #167567
              July 20, 2015
              281 Posts
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              Posted: November 26, 2018, 2:01 pm - IP Logged

                She should have sued their a$$es for giving her false hope and then bursting her ballon, so to speak.  I would have sued them!  They shd be liable for something in a scenario like that and they are the ones obviously at fault.... therefore they should have to pay  out some financial compensation for her emotional high and low which they contributed to.  They're getting away far too easy on this one.  Need to change that freaking law which allows them to present a disclaimer in this type of eventuality - that would keep them on their toes to being more accountable in such instances.

              Success is liking yourself, what you do and how you do it!

              Psalm 122:6

                oate's avatar - AS5hcja

                United States
                Member #193172
                October 22, 2018
                491 Posts
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                Posted: November 26, 2018, 2:51 pm - IP Logged

                  She should have sued their a$$es for giving her false hope and then bursting her ballon, so to speak.  I would have sued them!  They shd be liable for something in a scenario like that and they are the ones obviously at fault.... therefore they should have to pay  out some financial compensation for her emotional high and low which they contributed to.  They're getting away far too easy on this one.  Need to change that freaking law which allows them to present a disclaimer in this type of eventuality - that would keep them on their toes to being more accountable in such instances.

                Dawn Nettles, the Texas lottery lady, is suing the TX lottery over something very similar involving misleading scratchers. 

                The fact that negotiations with IGT fell through really shows what a stranglehold IGT has over Nebraska Lottery. I wonder if Nebraska Lottery threatened to switch to IGT's main competitor Scientific Games. It might be a logistical nightmare to switch at this point.

                Only my hairdresser knows for sure.

                  CDanaT's avatar - Nolz june15.jpg
                  Central TN
                  United States
                  Member #121189
                  January 4, 2012
                  4662 Posts
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                  Posted: November 26, 2018, 3:18 pm - IP Logged

                  WHAT A CROCK.  They need to give her the money one way or other.

                  I Agree!  Compensate her somehow....and NO the $4.99 purple T-shirt and $100 in coupons for scratch cards isn't reasonable compensation(IMHO)

                  Integrity: There is just no substitute.

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                    New Member
                    Detroit
                    United States
                    Member #186398
                    December 13, 2017
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                    Posted: November 26, 2018, 6:18 pm - IP Logged

                    Another reason for me not to like scratch offs or buy them first off they rarely let you win any significant amount you buy a ticket for ten bucks you’re lucky if you win five  or even three for that matter,they should have to compensate you for at least half the value,they made the mistake and they have plenty of money .. plenty...especially with how many people who spend money on lottery tickets daily three four and lotto instants ..who win nothing

                      sweetie7398's avatar - flower2
                      100

                      United States
                      Member #22701
                      September 30, 2005
                      13158 Posts
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                      Posted: November 27, 2018, 3:36 am - IP Logged

                      They need to pay upEmbarassed

                      Life, love, family Love

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                        Simpsonville
                        United States
                        Member #163184
                        January 22, 2015
                        2228 Posts
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                        Posted: November 27, 2018, 7:17 am - IP Logged

                        There is the possibility that a machine malfunction could result in millions of dollars being won erroneously.  Nebraska lottery must protect themselves with rules. It is harsh but necessary.

                         Personally, I only play MM & PB. 

                         Like it has been said before, "Don't count your chickens until they are hatched." 

                        I agree with you music* to a point, however I feel their integrity, though not the lottery's fault is in question.  Just pay up the 150 tickets that were misprinted and be done with it.

                        Once there was a show on how scratch tickets are produced @ lightning speed; it's a wonder there aren't more misprints out there.

                          Avatar
                          Kentucky
                          United States
                          Member #32651
                          February 14, 2006
                          8930 Posts
                          Online
                          Posted: November 27, 2018, 3:45 pm - IP Logged

                          I agree with you music* to a point, however I feel their integrity, though not the lottery's fault is in question.  Just pay up the 150 tickets that were misprinted and be done with it.

                          Once there was a show on how scratch tickets are produced @ lightning speed; it's a wonder there aren't more misprints out there.

                          It looks like they're are giving out 150 tee shirts and $15,000 worth of scratch-off play. Did you ever read the back of the tickets saying something like "by signing this ticket you are agreeing to the lottery rules and regulations"?

                            music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
                            Fresno, California
                            United States
                            Member #157851
                            August 2, 2014
                            3920 Posts
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                            Posted: November 27, 2018, 5:51 pm - IP Logged

                            I Agree! misslucky$,  The House always wins in the end. In both casinos and State-run lotteries.

                             As Will Rogers who was from Oklahoma once said, "If you want to double your money than take a dollar bill, fold it in half and stick it in your pocket."

                             Will Rogers was at the right time for his specialty. He lived during the Great Depression. In another famous quote, he said, "There ought to be one day for an open season on Senators". This was before DHS and 9/11. 

                             Will Rogers was killed in an airplane accident in Alaska. May he RIP. 

                             "We are all in this together!"