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10,000 scratch tickets flawed?

Massachusetts LotteryMassachusetts Lottery: 10,000 scratch tickets flawed?

Ten thousand scratch tickets from Massachusetts' new $640 Million Jubilee game are potentially defective -- but state Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill is refusing to issue a recall, despite fears the flawed tickets could skew the odds or even deprive somebody of a big jackpot.

The $10 tickets, which were just unveiled two weeks ago, contain an uneven coating of the chemical that makes the latex scratching surface stick to the ticket's paper -- making them unscratchable.

Over the past 11 days, one Lottery agent has returned 10 books totaling 1,000 scratch tickets -- sparking an investigation that's uncovered 100 books, or 10,000 tickets, with the potential defect.

Nine thousand of those tickets remain in circulation, and Treasury officials admit they don't know the books' location and haven't yet alerted Lottery agents to the glitch.

Lottery officials have been quietly investigating, and tried to downplay the significance yesterday -- saying the defect only affects a small percentage of the 80 million Jubilee tickets that were printed.

Cahill refused to be interviewed, but First Deputy Treasurer Doug Rubin said officials' "utmost" concern is ensuring the integrity of Lottery games, which generate billions of dollars annually in local aid for cities and towns.

"We are going to conduct a thorough investigation," Rubin said. "We're going to make a decision that's in the best interest of our players."

Treasury officials promised that anyone who buys a defective ticket can take it to a Lottery processing center and have the bar-code scanned. Winners will be honored, officials said.

A recall is unlikely, Rubin said, adding that the main option is having Lottery agents return books as they realize they're bad.

Yanking 10,000 tickets out of circulation -- including potential major prize winners -- could skew the game's odds, but Treasury officials say they don't yet know the full impact.

The uncertainties alarmed Rep. George N. Peterson, a regular player who hit a $4,000 jackpot two years ago on a $10 scratch ticket.

"People are paying good money to buy a ticket and buy a chance," Peterson, R-Grafton, said. "I might not be buying these $10 tickets until I hear what's going on with them."

Legislative leaders, who recently gave the Lottery $5 million to advertise its games, were upset that Cahill has been slow to notify the gaming public -- saying "word of mouth" could be bad for business.

"They need to be a little more proactive," said House Republican Leader Bradley H. Jones, R-North Reading.

Boston Herald

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4 comments. Last comment 13 years ago by CASH Only.
Page 1 of 1

United States
Member #972
December 30, 2002
465 Posts
Posted: September 30, 2003, 8:51 am - IP Logged

I live in MA and find $10 scratch tickets appalling, losing $10 at once is too much for my tastes.  But now I'll be looking carefully at the ones I find in the trash and having the bar codes of any unreadable tickets scanned...

Any large, unclaimed prizes in this game should be seen as evidence of lottery fraud. It means that returned books of tickets with big prizes were not reprinted and put back into circulation. All losers should get refunds because they did not have a fair chance at all major prizes.  I'll start collecting tickets from the trash just in case...

    fja's avatar - gnome1

    United States
    Member #91
    January 19, 2002
    11934 Posts
    Posted: September 30, 2003, 10:08 am - IP Logged

    Thats why I dont play them, like Todd said they give the worst return for your dollar or 10. 

    "Everybody has to believe in something...I believe I'll have another beer!"   = W.C.Fields                      

      vincejr's avatar - wallace
      Somewhere in VA
      United States
      Member #1944
      July 29, 2003
      130 Posts
      Posted: September 30, 2003, 12:43 pm - IP Logged
      Quote: Originally posted by tg636 on September 30, 2003

      Any large, unclaimed prizes in this game should be seen as evidence of lottery fraud. It means that returned books of tickets with big prizes were not reprinted and put back into circulation. All losers should get refunds because they did not have a fair chance at all major prizes.

      I'm sorry tg, but I have to disagree. It would be impractical from a security standpoint to "reprint" tickets from books that are defective as then the grand assumption by the player is that reprinted books "must" have the big prizes.

      Manufacturing problems with scratch tickets are an everyday occurance. Whether it is with latex adhesion (as in this case) or perforations which are too loose and break every ticket, these problems are nothing new and do not affect the overall odds in any great manner.

      In fact, the biggest "dirty little secret" dealing with scratch lottery tickets is that significant numbers of winners (all levels, not just big ones) are pulled out of sale on a regular basis. This happens both when games end (all top prizes are hit in most cases) and when retailers decide to return packs of tickets for credit because they are not selling or they want the newest games.

      The fairest thing to do in this case would be to have the ticket printer (Pollard, IGT, etc.) either do a complete reprint on the game at no charge to the state or to take the amount of unclaimed prizes at the end of the game and run a second chance drawing of some kind. Refunding purchase prices to all losers would not be a wise thing, from a fiscal standpoint. (However, offering those who present the defective tickets the choice of a refund or having their bar code scanned to see if it is a winner would be much more workable and ultimately more fair.)

        United States
        Member #379
        June 5, 2002
        11296 Posts
        Posted: September 30, 2003, 4:15 pm - IP Logged

        I wouldn't play it anyway. Like almost all other Mass. "million"-dollar scratches (and here in NY) the $1m and $4m prizes are paid in 20 installments, NO cash option.