An Oregon man thought he’d won $31,038 on a scratch-off, only to find out that it was actually worth nothing. Rodney Haven of Portland played the Spades ticket, on which there are 18 chances to beat the dealer by scratching a higher card in order to win cash prizes.
In any of the real-life variations of Spades, the suit of spades trumps anything other than a higher spade, leading Haven to believe that he had triumphed in five hands. However, on presenting the scratch-it at two stores, he was told that it was not a winner, leading him to contact the Oregon Lottery itself.
Haven claims that the lottery official with whom he spoke told him that they receive calls about the Spades game “every day”, an accusation which Lottery spokesman Chuck Baumann was keen to play down. Baumann stated that there had not been “a lot” of complaints before admitting that “there was more than one, that’s for sure”.
The Oregon Lottery website and the ticket itself merely state that “if your card beats the dealer’s card within a game, win prize [sic] for that game” and Haven insists that the description is “misleading”. Baumann counters that, because there is no mention of trumping, “it plays exactly as it reads”.
Mollie Cole, spokeswoman for the game’s manufacturer, Scientific Games International, maintains that “It is not modeled on the popular trick-taking Spades card game of which there are many variations, and no official rules.”
Spades costs $3 to play and features a top prize of $30,000 – £1,038 less than Haven asserts that he is owed. You can find out more about the Oregon Lottery at the dedicated Results page of Lottery.net.