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Lottery officials speak

And they say “We screwed up”.

“We’re just looking for answers and see what they have to say,” assistant committee clerk Cynthia Venecia said Friday.

At the lottery commission’s meeting Friday, officials acknowledged that they knew estimated ticket sales would fall about $1.3 million short of the advertised $8 million jackpot earlier this month, but that they inflated the jackpot to encourage ticket sales.

The lottery intentionally advertised a jackpot that staffers knew it couldn’t pay for on at least two other occasions, spokesman Bobby Heith said.

“At the time that we did these estimations, I felt that it was critical for the long-term health of the game for the jackpot to increase if there was no jackpot ticket sold,” Product Manager Robert Triloni told commissioners.

“In hindsight, I would have left the jackpot amount at the same amount.”

The June 8 shortfall prompted lottery officials to freeze the advertised June 11 jackpot for the first time in the game’s history.

[Reagan] Greer, the executive director, said he approved the inflated jackpots that staffers recommended because he trusted them and didn’t carefully review their reports.

Greer said his staff will base future jackpots on their most conservative sales estimates and will consider holding jackpots at the same amount more often if sales don’t support an increase.

“I’m going to take a much clearer, more micro approach to this process in the future and try to ensure to you that it’s not going to happen again,” he told the commission.

Yes, well, that’s what can happen when an unqualified person is named to head a commission.

Rep. Burt Solomons, who has tried to pass legislation to reform the lottery commission, said he was amazed lottery officials would intentionally try to deceive Texans.

“Somebody needs to be fired, and quite frankly, we need to investigate it,” said the Carrollton Republican. “It’s bad government, it’s poor public policy and it deflates the trust that we in the Legislature have for the lottery commission, for God sakes,” Solomons said.

You said it. Let the firings begin!

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One Comment

  1. Zangwell Arrow says:

    The person who ought to be fired ver this is Rick Perry.

    Perry appointed Greer, then rammed through a change in state law to dumb down the job’s requirements to make sure his appointee qualifiied.

    Perry was also behind the still-unresolved scandal of the Lottery contract with the Las Vegas law firm last year, implemented by Greer at his political mentor’s instructions.

    Time for the Lottery Commission to dump Greer. And time for Texas voters next year to say to Perry: “No mo, mofo.”