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Tenn. lottery officials show off security measures for tickets

Jan 15, 2004, 5:30 am

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Tennessee LotteryTennessee Lottery: Tenn. lottery officials show off security measures for tickets

The lottery signs are going up, and anxious players like Agnes Smith are talking about the launching of the Tennessee Lottery on Tuesday.

Smith said, "Somebody's going to win so, why not be me?"

But before you start scratching, know there are security measures ensuring your ticket is valid. So the minute you buy a ticket, here's what'll happen behind the store counter.

"You're gonna run it through the machine...you have to enter in your correct code, whether its a 5050 or your store code number, and once you're enter that in, you'll scan your ticket, and it's going to validate it," said Mapco manager Ray Lablanc.

And if your ticket's a winner, it has to be validated again. It's the only way you'll get paid.

Lablanc said, "If they didn't have something like this...anybody could grab some of these and run, and if it's a big winner they could cash it anywhere."

If forged scratch-off tickets end up in retailers hands, or if some of their tickets from their stores end up stolen, there is a toll-free hotline where they can call lottery officials immediately to report anything that has gone wrong so it can be investigated.

TN Lottery president Rebecca Paul said, "If somebody grabs a pack of tickets off that counter and the retailer calls us immedately and we block the tickets off that system. Even if there were any winners in that pack, it can't be cashed. It'll say 'Sorry, claim at lottery', which at that point when they come to claim the police will be here to arrest them."

And even ticket dispensers are locked down, so they can't be stolen off counters.

"We're comfortable that we'll be able to raise millions and millions of dollars for the education program we fund without players being able to defraud those dollars," said Paul.

When it comes answering questions about the new games, the Tennessee Lottery has set up phone banks for that purpose. Many of the people manning the lines are handling questions from retailers. By Monday, phone banks for calls from lottery players will be up and running. Calls will be toll-free, and the website to answer your questions online may be up by the end of the week.

WKRN

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