Texas Lottery Losers Want Some Answers


     AUSTIN (CN) - A Texas Lottery player claims the state and its lottery operator duped her of prize money, and asked a judge to allow her to depose representatives from the Lottery Commission and its operator, GTECH Corp.
     Dawn Nettles claims that she and hundreds of other Texas Lottery players were deceived by the lottery's Fun 5's scratch-off ticket.
     She filed a petition for pre-suit depositions on Oct. 16 in Travis County Court, to determine who is responsible for the language used on the Fun 5's ticket.
     "We're just trying to get some basic answers," her Houston attorney Richard LaGarde said in a statement. "The public deserves to know who is responsible for this situation, and what will be done about it."
     Nettles says in her petition that the language on the ticket suggests that the combination of a Money Bag symbol and a dollar amount means that the player has won a prize for that game. The scratch-off ticket has five games.
     Nettles says she bought several winning tickets "based on common sentence construction and the plain meaning of the instructions printed in the second sentence of Game 5."
     "Specifically, some of petitioner's tickets revealed a Money Bag symbol which should have entitled petitioner to win 5 times the prize," the petition states.
     "However, when petitioner attempted to cash the winning tickets at a Texas Lottery instant ticket validation computer terminal, she received a notification that each of her winning tickets was 'not a winner.'"
     According to the lawsuit, the instructions for Game 5 state: "Reveal three '5' symbols in any one row, column or diagonal, win PRIZE in PRIZE box. Reveal a Money Bag symbol [symbol inserted] in the 5X BOX, win 5 times that PRIZE."
     Nettles is the publisher of a lottery watchdog website. She says she has received "several hundred phone calls and emails from angry Texas consumers who also believed they had won five times the prize in Game 5 because their tickets revealed a money bag symbol. Many callers expressed the feeling that they were being cheated by the Texas Lottery when their tickets were deemed 'not a winner' by the Texas Lottery."
     Nettles says the tickets sold do not comply with the official rules, to the disadvantage of the player, and the depositions will help decipher who is responsible for the language on the ticket.
     Kelly Cripe, Director of Media Relations at the Lottery Commission, declined to comment Monday.
     The Commission has not announced plans to amend the language in Fun 5's rules and tickets remain available at Texas retailers.