Camelot refuses payout, player seeks legal action against National Lottery
By Kate Northrop
A lottery player is prepared to take legal action against the UK National Lottery after Camelot refused him a £6.5 million (US$8.5 million) payout, saying that the prize had already been claimed.
One UK veteran was taken by surprise when Camelot, the current operator of the National Lottery, told him they wouldn't pay out the same prize twice, leading him to believe that a retailer clerk stole his winning ticket worth £6.5 million.
In October 2019, Peter Rhodes of London took his lottery ticket to a retailer to check it. He handed the ticket to the man behind the counter, who then put it through a machine. When the device allegedly made a noise to indicate the ticket was a winner, Rhodes said things suddenly got very strange.
"When I first went in and handed it over, the shopkeeper put it in the machine, and it made a noise, meaning it was a winning ticket of some sort," Rhodes told The Mirror. "I didn't know how much was on it, and he refused to give me my ticket. I asked for my ticket back and he took three steps to the right and put it under the counter."
Rhodes was positive that the clerk was swindling him of his winning ticket.
"I leaned over and saw he had about 80 tickets under the counter," Rhodes continued. "He picked one up and paid me something like £11.40 [US$15]. He tried to say it was my ticket, and it wasn't. I know it wasn't because I folded mine twice and put it in my wallet, and this one was flat."
After the upsetting interaction, Rhodes took the next steps of contacting Camelot to resolve the issue. With a little detective work, he was able to confirm that the ticket in his possession was in fact worth £6.5 million.
"I spoke with someone in operations [at Camelot] who went out of their way to find an electronic footprint to prove I had bought the ticket," the 60-year-old explained. "I had the bank print off the statement, and she found the ticket through that — and that is when I learned it was a £6.5 million ticket."
While the discovery gave Rhodes a boon of justification in his attempt to claim a rightful prize, the response he got from the Lottery was devastating.
"Then I got a call from their fraud department saying they are shutting down the case because they won't pay out twice," he revealed in an interview.
But he was not about to let the Lottery's rejection stop him from pursuing the winnings. His next step was to contact the police and hire an attorney to mount a case against the National Lottery.
Unfortunately for Rhodes, the police were less than helpful and told him to resolve it on his own.
"I was so frustrated because it was the start of lockdown, and I went to the police and they told me it is a civil matter," Rhodes said.
However, a Metropolitan Police spokesperson released a statement in response to Rhodes' complaint, which, again, attempted to halt the case in its tracks.
"In May 2021, police received a report of fraud relating to a lottery ticket purchased in October 2019," the spokesperson said. "This was initially dealt with as a civil matter. In September 2021, following further contact from the complainant, officers liaised with Camelot who confirmed there was no evidence that any fraud had been committed. As a result, the case has been closed — should any further information come to light then this decision can be re-assessed."
This wasn't good enough for the veteran, who expressed vehement exasperation at the absurdity of the forces working against him.
"It's a life-changing amount of money," he said. "They haven't stolen from me. They stole from my kid's futures. That money was going to be for them."
Rhodes said he doesn't buy lottery tickets very often, only playing when the jackpots are big enough. The crushing feeling of knowing that he held a winning ticket worth a huge sum of money was exacerbated by the fact.
"I turned 60 a couple of weeks ago and I never asked for anything from anyone," he said.
Having hired a legal team to take action against the Lottery, Rhodes is ready to keep moving forward in a bid to claim the prize which has already been paid out.
"While we can't comment on the specifics of this case, we're aware that Mr. Rhodes has now instructed solicitors, and we'll be responding fully to his solicitors in due course," a Camelot spokesperson stated.