In February, the Chron printed a story about how the Lottery would continue to sell scratch-off games long past the point where all of the top prizes had been claimed. After the predictable outrage, the Texas Lottery Commission has changed its policies to prevent such ripoffs in the future.
Texas Lottery officials announced Friday they will order all scratch-off tickets pulled as soon as the games' top-tier prizes have been claimed.
The move comes just a month after a Houston Chronicle story highlighted the fact that the agency continued to sell games long after players had virtually no chance of winning the significant prizes advertised.
Agency spokesman Bobby Heith said "public concern" about the games had prompted the decision.
"I don't know that the public has lost faith, but it goes to us wanting to reassure it that our games are the best in the land," Heith said.
Lottery watchdog Gerald Busald hailed the move.
"I'm thrilled. This is one of the things they were adamant about not doing," said Busald, a mathematics professor at San Antonio College who brought the issue to the attention of the agency's commissioners at a public hearing in January.
[A]nyone spending $5 on a Deal or No Deal scratch-off Friday might entertain hopes of winning the $1 million top prize advertised on the ticket.
But it'd be pure fantasy.
All three of the top prizes have been claimed. So have all four of the $100,000 prizes. And all 10 of the $50,000 prizes. They've been gone since Dec. 9.
"It's an unfair game," said Dawn Nettles, an unofficial, unpaid watchdog of the lottery commission.
In fact, of the 52 $10,000 prizes that were offered for that game, only one remained unclaimed Friday. Taken as a whole, more than 96 percent of the prizes and 99 percent of the money for Deal or No Deal is no longer available -- yet the game continues to be sold statewide.
Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, said: "No longer is the public going to be spending money on a fixed game."
Patrick said he met with agency officials a month ago and demanded they change their policy on pulling games, and he filed Senate Bill 1200 that would do as much to show them he meant business.
Patrick said despite Friday's development, he will continue to push his bill.
"I want to be sure it is law, just in case," he said.
The change comes just weeks before lottery officials plan to introduce a $50 scratch-off game.
Last but not least, some background info on Gerald Busald and the effect he and his students have had on the TLC. Check it out.Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 01, 2007 to Jackpot!