Player claims that Lottery owes him either a gold bar or $750,000
By Kate Northrop
A man from Massachusetts is suing the New Hampshire Lottery Commission following a claim that the Lottery owes him either a gold bar or about $750,000, the approximate equivalent of a standard gold bar's worth.
Robert Martel of Ipswich, Massachusetts purchased a losing "My Big Million!" scratch-off ticket for $20 at a Market Basket supermarket in Seabrook, New Hampshire in August. However, he's claiming that he actually won a gold bar or its equivalent value after revealing a gold bar symbol in the "BONUS" section of the ticket.
The "BONUS" instructions on the ticket read, "Reveal a '$200' symbol, instantly WIN $200!"
Thinking that the instructions implied that a player would be entitled to whatever prize was revealed, Martel had a store employee check the ticket.
"They ran it through the machine and said it wasn't a winner," Martel said on Monday.
The player filed a complaint in Rockingham County Superior Court last week, alleging that the New Hampshire Lottery was in "breach of contract." A standard gold bar is 400 ounces in the United States, he told the court. That's what showed up on the ticket, so that's what he won.
Since gold is a precious metal, it is actually measured in troy ounces, not imperial ounces. 1 imperial ounce is about 0.9115 troy ounces.
Despite having checked the ticket at the store, Martel filled out a claim for the prize along with a registered letter to the Lottery but did not receive a response.
"If they want to hand me over the gold bar, I'm more than happy to accept it," Martel said.
Martel, who is representing himself in court, at least thinks that the Lottery should reconsider using the gold bar on losing tickets and work on the clarity of their instructions.
"I would think I wouldn't have to tell them that," the player said. "I think they would absolutely do that in the future. Maybe they should put a dandelion in there or something."
Although he did not receive any word from the Lottery, Maura McCann, a spokesperson for the Lottery released a statement.
"The New Hampshire Lottery has tremendous pride in the tickets we offer for sale and take seriously any comments about them," she said. "To the best of our knowledge, we have not received any communications on this claim, but we will immediately look into it once we receive it."
Martel, who is in his 60's and is looking to retire, has bought New Hampshire scratch-off tickets before, but he has never seen a gold bar show up until now.
"I'm pretty much unlucky," he admitted. "I haven't won anything decent. I think the most I've won is like $20, the cost of the ticket."
For now, all he can do is hope that the court will award him the cash equivalent to the value of the gold bar.