Nov 15

Parents Warned Against Giving Scratchers to Kids This Christmas

This Christmas, 38 lotteries across America are joining together to urge parents not to give lottery scratchers as presents to their children as gifts. In New York, under-18s are banned from buying the tickets, with the age limit standing at 21 if alcohol is served on the premises, but there is no law to stop a minor claiming a prize won on a game.

However, the lottery can issue a check in the child’s name for amounts under $5,000 and ensure that it is entrusted to an adult family member or guardian. For larger amounts, winnings are placed in an adult’s bank account and they act as custodian for the young winner.

Even with these safeguards in place, New York’s Gambling Commission is driving the message home through the Responsible Play Partnership, claiming it is a vital tool in the fight to prevent children developing gambling problems in the future. The commission is working in conjunction with the National Council on Problem Gambling, whose executive director Keith Whyte agrees that buying scratchers for children is inappropriate, arguing in a press release that “gifting children with Lottery tickets sends the message to this impressionable population that youth gambling is acceptable when our research has shown that children who receive Lottery tickets as gifts tend to start gambling earlier in life.”

As part of the campaign, the state is running public-service announcements bearing the message “some gifts are better left to the grown-ups.” The advert shows children on Christmas morning opening disappointing age-inappropriate gifts including tires, dumbbells and a coffee maker.

The Responsible Play Partnership is ensuring all lottery draw tickets and electronic displays at the 18,000 authorised outlets in New York bear the message “Please Gift Responsibly” during the holiday season. In addition, it is reminding retailers of its potential sanctions for those caught selling tickets to underage customers.

The Empire State’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services recently reported that five percent of adults are impacted by problem gambling, with one in ten of citizens aged between 12 and 17 affected.

by Mike Redfern
Updated November 27th, 2015

Feb 14

Clerk’s Mistake Leads to $10 Million Scratch-Off Win for New York Resident

new-yorkWednesday February 26 2014 – New York resident Jerry Kajfasz claimed his $10 million scratch-off win yesterday which happened after a clerk mistakenly gave him the wrong ticket.

The win came after Jerry, 53, made his usual trip to the Depew One Stop on Broadway on his day off to buy some cigars and his favorite scratch-off tickets. The clerk mistakenly handed Jerry a $20 Win for Life ticket which he pointed out was the wrong one. After leaving the store with the scratch-offs he had originally gone to the store for, Jerry scratched off the various tickets and ended up winning roughly $25. Feeling lucky, Jerry headed back into the store and said to the clerk “Give me that ticket you almost gave me by accident.”

Jerry, who lives in Erie County, decided to scratch the ticket in the store where he revealed that he had in fact won the top prize of $10 million on a ticket which he had initially declined to buy.

Jerry Kajfasz and his family collecting his check  Image source Facebook.com/NYLottery

Jerry Kajfasz and his family collecting the winning check
Image source Facebook.com/NYLottery

“I just sat there and couldn’t believe it,” Jerry said at the press conference yesterday. “I probably looked over the ticket half a dozen times.” The clerk verified the ticket and Jerry called his wife Anne before also calling his two children to share the news. “He wouldn’t tell me what happened,” said Jerry’s son, Frank, who then asked his dad if he’d won the lottery to which his father replied, “Well, I didn’t want to tell you this way. Come over as soon as possible. I have some champagne.”

Following the win on Saturday January 18, Jerry has retired from his printing job in Amherst which he had held for 27 years to enjoy his new found fortune. At the press conference yesterday, Jerry confirmed that he and his wife will take 86% of the winnings, receiving 19 annual payments of $300,000 after taxes and his son and daughter will receive 7% each, working out at 19 payments of $25,000 after taxes.
Speaking yesterday, Frank said “I won’t believe it is real until I see the money in my account.”

Jerry is Erie County’s first jackpot winner of 2014 and the eleventh New York player to win a prize of $1 million or more so far this year.

by Patrick Fitzgerald
Updated February 26th, 2014

Jan 14

New York Lottery Seeks Advice from Camelot

new-yorkWednesday January 22 2014New York lottery officials have recruited Camelot, who manage the National Lottery in the UK, to draw up a five-year plan to help revive the New York Lottery.

The New York State Gaming Commission has asked Camelot to carry out market research on new state lottery games amid fears that they may lose revenue as a result of the relaxation of casino gambling regulations in New York. The five-year plan will consider the idea of online ticket sales as one way to reverse falling sales of lottery tickets and increasing competition from casinos.

Speaking about seeking advice from Camelot, Gardner Gurney from the New York Gaming Commission said: “The gambling landscape in New York State has changed over the past 12 months, and will continue to change and become more competitive.” With the worry that the figure transferred to education could drop, Gurney went on to say that “in order to safeguard state aid to education it is highly critical that we look at alternative approaches for the future of the lottery.”

The education system in New York takes a proportion of the revenue generated from lottery games and transferred $2.2 billion to education during the 2012-2013 financial year.

Camelot, owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, has previously consulted with lottery officials in California, Massachusetts and Canada resulting in a Canadian multi-province game similar to EuroMillions. The operator was also instrumental in helping the Californian lottery turn around poor performing lottery games.

Consulting with New York Lottery is good news for Camelot after Pennsylvania lottery officials decided against the UK lottery operator managing its state lottery games despite several months of negotiation.

For the latest winning numbers from New York lottery games, visit Lottery.net.

by Patrick Fitzgerald
Updated April 5th, 2016

Nov 13

Why Hasn’t The $130 million New York Powerball Winner Claimed?

Powerball NewsSaturday November 30 2013 – The owner of New York’s first jackpot winning Powerball ticket in more than 20 months has still not claimed their prize, despite knowing they have won the epic jackpot.

Salah Al-Sulaimani, owner of Rocco’s Bakery which sold the winning ticket for the draw on November 16, says the ticket holder had contacted him by telephone several days after the draw to tell him their good news (read more about that here). Although initially sceptical, Sulaimani believed the individual when New York Lottery officials contacted him to confirm the story.

“The person is very nice and they could use the money,” Sulaimani said when questioned by NY Daily News reporters last week. “I wish them nothing but blessings and good luck in their life, only positive things instead of the negativity that come with this kind of thing.” Sulaimani has refused to give away details regarding the identity of the winner, except to say they are local and a regular customer.

Not only did Sulaimani receive $10,000 from the New York Lottery for selling the winning ticket, he has also seen sales of lottery tickets boom since getting his own 15 minutes of fame. “I’m like a local celebrity,” he laughed. “It’s busy, we’ve definitely been selling more tickets. It’s been a very positive experience for us.”

So Where Is The Winner?

There could be any number of reasons why the jackpot winner hasn’t claimed the prize yet, although the most likely is that they are getting comprehensive legal and financial advice on how to handle the $130 million windfall.

For example, jackpot winners can choose to claim their winnings via a trust fund or company, which requires complex legal paperwork. The entity has to be set up and ready to receive the funds prior to the jackpot being claimed.

Alternatively, the ticket holder could be the manager of a syndicate, meaning the funds have to be distributed amongst several people. In this case, they all have to agree how to claim the jackpot – cash or annuity – and will all need individual representation, in addition to group representation.

There is also the issue of anonymity. It is mandatory for New York lottery winners of $1 million or above to release their name to the media, although they can choose to stay out of the public eye. However, even if they turn down press releases and interviews, once their name has been released their contact details can be found easily, which could subject the winner to phone calls, letters or messages on social networking sites begging for cash.

Therfore, a priority for the new winner could be to make their digital and online footprint as small as possible – by changing to a new unlisted phone number, deleting their social media profiles and changing email addresses. The winner could even be considering moving in the short term, to avoid the unwanted attention that a claim can bring.

Whatever the situation of the mystery New York Powerball winner, we at LotteryWorld applaud winners who approach their newfound wealth with caution. Getting all your ducks in a row before the money lands in your checking account is vital to ensuring that you live a long, happy life as a lottery winner. Whoever the winner is, we look forward to meeting them once they are good and ready.

by Sadie Walton
Updated May 7th, 2019

Nov 13

New York Deli Owners Charged With Lottery Ticket Scam

Sunday November 24 2013 – A father and son from Long Island, New York were charged with grand larceny yesterday after being accused of scamming a customer out of a lottery scratch off win worth $1 million.

The $10 Unwrap The Cash scratch off was purchased by a 34 year old man, who doesn’t speak English, at the Hempstead Peninsula Deli and Grocery store owned by Nabil and Karim Jaghab on Thursday. After scratching off his card and seeing he was a winner, the customer handed 26 year old Karim the scratch card to get his winnings.

However, instead of advising the man to contact the New York Lottery to claim his prize, which he should have done owing to the size of the win, Karim instead told the man he had won $1,000 and handed him the cash while keeping the ticket himself.

Karim and Nabil Jaghab (image from a video on the Huffington Post)

The customer smelt a rat and returned to the deli the next day to question the store owners. This time, Karim and his father, Nabil, claimed his win was actually worth $10,000 and told the victim, “I will pay you $10,000 as long as you don’t involve the police.”

It was at this point the customer realised the extent of the duplicity and called the NYPD who confirmed that he had, in fact, won $1 million. The father and son were duly arrested and formally charged with second degree grand larceny yesterday. Their attorney claimed it was a simple mistake, caused by the lottery machine showing the wrong payout.

Other New York Lottery Scams

Sadly, this is not the first time New York lottery players have been duped out of their winnings by greedy store clerks. Back in 2006, Robert Miles was scammed out of $5 million by store owner brothers in Syracuse who claimed he had won just $5,000. At the time, Miles was a drug addict and didn’t question the decision, fearing that no-one would believe him. The brothers held onto the scratch card for six years before claiming the prize minutes before it was due to expire. Miles finally received his payout in August 2013 and the brothers were both jailed for their part in the scam.

Robert Miles (left) with his lawyer Steve Cambareri Image source Syracuse.com

Robert Miles (left) with his lawyer Steve Cambareri
Image source Syracuse.com

However, retailer lottery scams are not limited to the state of New York. Such stories are widespread across the US and the rest of the world and can include small, as well as big, wins. It’s possible for winners of smaller lottery prizes to be conned out of their entire win if the store clerk claims the ticket has not won, volunteers to throw the ticket away but instead keeps the ticket and winnings for themselves.

What is Being Done to Prevent Scams?

In the UK, the National Lottery has attempted to make players more aware of whether or not they have won a prize when having their ticket checked by a retailer by introducing a Win Sound at the terminals. When retailers scan the ticket to see if it has won a prize, a short melody will play, alerting the customer to their win. The terminal also issues the player with a “win receipt” stating the exact win amount.

In the US, players can take certain steps to safeguard their lottery tickets and avoid becoming a victim of a lottery scam.

  • Always check your ticket yourself where possible. Some states offer Check-A-Ticket self-scan devices which enable you to check your ticket in store yourself. If your state doesn’t offer this, make sure you check your lottery numbers using a website such as Lottery.net and check your scratch card carefully yourself.
  • If you have won a prize, sign the back of the ticket. For added security, you could also take a photo of your ticket using your smart phone.
  • Make sure you check your state lottery website for details of how to claim your prize. Tickets for larger prizes will need to be delivered directly to the lottery offices in person or by post, so make sure you understand how to claim your prize instead of relying on a retailer to tell you.
  • If you can, buy your tickets online. When lottery tickets are bought online they are saved electronically and checked automatically which means you are alerted if you win a prize.
by Sadie Walton
Updated April 5th, 2016