Dec 15

Alabama Could Get Vote on State Lottery

The voters of Alabama will have their say over whether the state should launch its own lottery if a bill introduced by House Representative Alan Harper is passed. Harper will put forward the proposal when the legislative session convenes for 2016 and he has the support of politicians including Mac McCutcheon, who represents District 25. McCutcheon told WAFF “I would be in favor of a lottery if the people of Alabama had the right to vote on it.”

If the bill were to be passed, the vote could take place in November of next year, once details had been worked out as to how it would be run and where the revenue would be distributed. Neighboring state Tennessee, where a significant number of Alabamians travel to play popular draw and instant games, donates a portion of its lottery revenue to grants and scholarships for students in the state’s educational establishments. Some politicians in the state would rather the proceeds were transferred to the general fund.

Alabama is one of only six states in the US not to offer a lottery to its citizens, the others being Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah. A proposal by Senator Paul Sanford that would have seen Alabama join Mega Millions and Powerball was halted in September when the Tourism and Marketing Committee delayed a vote on the measure having debated the bill. Sanford had suggested creating a lottery as an alternative to tax rises in the state.

The public voted against the idea of an Alabama state lottery in a 1999 referendum, but Harper insists that attitudes may have changed and is keen to canvas the opinion of the electorate in 2016, stating, “People have constantly asked us, ‘When are you going to let us vote on a lottery?’ I think it’s time the people had their say.”

by Mike Redfern
Updated December 31st, 2015

Nov 15

Hunt Is on for First Powerball Jackpot Winner since Changes

The hunt is on for the first person to win the Powerball jackpot since the game was revamped last month. A player, who bought their ticket for the drawing on Wednesday November 4 at Hobson Tobacco & Beer in Antioch, Tennessee, matched all five main numbers and the Powerball and is now due a payout of $144.1 million if they choose the annuity option when they come forward to claim their prize.

A number of Powerball changes were made after the drawing on Saturday October 3, including ten main balls being added to the matrix and nine Powerballs being removed. The adjustments increased players’ chances of winning a prize, but decreased their odds of hitting the jackpot from roughly one in 175 million to one in 292.2 million.

The jackpot had rolled over nine times since Julie Leach of Three Rivers, Michigan picked up the $310.5 million top prize in the drawing on September 30, opting to take the lump sum cash payout of $197.4 million, which worked out at around $140 million after taxes.

This week’s lucky Powerball winner is the fourth Tennessee Lottery player to hit the game’s jackpot, and will pick up the second biggest lottery win in the state’s history, behind the $259.8 million claimed by Roy Cockrum of Knoxville in June 2014. The store in which the ticket was purchased has already been awarded a $25,000 bonus at the lottery’s headquarters.

The winning numbers in the draw were 2, 12, 17, 20 and 65 with Powerball 17 and Tennessee Lottery spokeswoman Kym Gerlock advised the mystery ticket holder to “sign the back of the ticket, keep it in a secure location, consult with a financial advisor, and call the Lottery headquarters in Nashville before coming to claim the prize.”

by Mike Redfern
Updated November 6th, 2015

Sep 15

Man Wins Florida Lotto with Numbers from a Fortune Cookie!

A man has won $10 million in the Florida Lotto drawing on August 22th, using numbers he found in a fortune cookie on a trip to North Carolina. Richard Davis, of Boca Raton, was the only winner of the jackpot and chose to take the cash option of $7 million, having only recently switched from playing the big-money multi-state games to Florida Lotto.

Davis bought his ticket at the Publix store on West Palmetto Park Road in the city, correctly matching the winning line 16, 26, 29, 39, 45, 46. The 66-year-old admitted that five of the numbers were derived from those printed in a fortune cookie that he had received at a restaurant while in the Tar Heel State.

It was in the same store that Davis discovered he was a winner, although he claims he had to recheck his ticket a number of times over the following few days. Once he had come to terms with his good fortune, Davis took some time to collect his thoughts before claiming the huge win at lottery headquarters in Tallahassee.

Davis isn’t the only player to win big thanks to the prophecy delivered at the end of a Chinese meal bought in North Carolina. Bill and April Richee of Winston-Salem banked $260,278 in the August 8th drawing of Carolina Cash 5 after breaking open a fortune cookie at their local restaurant. On picking up their winning check, April joked, “I guess that scallion chicken brought me some good luck.”

In 2005, lottery officials initially suspected foul play after a record 110 Powerball ticket holders matched five main numbers on March 30 to snap up prizes of $100,000, or $500,000 with Power Play. However, on questioning the participants, it turned out they had chosen their numbers using those found in fortune cookies produced by Wonton Food Inc. of New York. Unfortunately for the employees of the factory, none of them could have benefitted as New York didn’t offer Powerball at the time!

The Florida Lottery offers Powerball and Mega Millions as well as Florida Lotto and has donated over $28 billion to education programs in the state since sales began in January 1988.

by Mike Redfern
Updated September 18th, 2015

Aug 15

Minnesota’s Online Lottery Ticket Sales to End

The Minnesota Lottery will stop selling online tickets and instant win games in a series of steps starting today. In 2014, the state became the first to offer scratch-offs on the internet, but lawmakers claimed the organization had installed the service without explicit legislative consent and passed a law to stop sales.

Bosses at the lottery fear legal action from vendors Scientific Games and Linq3 over the early termination of the online sales, with the companies claiming to be missing out on a combined $13.5 million as a result.

Minnesota Lottery director Ed van Patten also warned that, without the ability to sell draw tickets and scratchers over the internet, at ATMs and at gas pumps, fewer young players, who are used to making a majority of purchases online, would be reached. He claimed this could lead to a slowdown in sales and a cut in the money raised for the educational, healthcare and environmental programs which benefit from 24c of every dollar spent on lottery games in the state.

Van Patten’s campaigning looked to have succeeded when Gov. Mark Dayton originally vetoed the ban, only for him to relent when the spring session saw a surge of votes in favour of stopping online lottery sales. Lawmakers from both sides of the political spectrum argued that selling lottery tickets via online channels had made gambling too convenient.

This weekend’s Mega Millions, Powerball and Gopher 5 drawings will be the last for online players, with internet scratch-offs being cut at noon Monday.

The Minnesota Lottery has raised $2.4 billion for the state’s General Fund and projects to preserve its natural resources since it launched in 1990.

by Mike Redfern
Updated August 28th, 2015

May 15

Texan Friends Settle Lawsuit over Share of Powerball Prize

A man from Texas who won $2 million on Powerball has settled a lawsuit with friends who he had claimed tried to trick him out of a large share of his winnings. Nereo Aguirre bought the winning ticket in August 2013 but, as a non-US citizen, was unsure as to whether he could collect his prize.

The Texas Lottery Commission states on its website that “There are no restrictions or limitations concerning citizenship when it comes to playing or winning the Texas Lottery; however, the tickets must be purchased from a licensed retailer in Texas”.  The lawsuit filed by Aguirre accused Elena Rebollar and husband Galdino Bueno of purposefully letting him believe that he wasn’t eligible to win.

Spanish speaker Aguirre cannot read English and claimed the couple had failed to properly explain the process for collecting prizes from the lottery website and that Rebollar had signed the back of the ticket before insisting to Texas Lottery officials that the winning entry was hers.

It was alleged that Rebollar and Bueno, of Del Valle, had received the payout of $1.5 million after taxes and presented Aguirre with just $315,500. However, a settlement was reached between the parties on the third day of the jury trial at the Travis County 201st District Court, the details of which are being kept confidential.

Texas Lottery prizes of between $600 and $2.5 million can be claimed at local claim centers across the state, at the Lottery Commission in Austin or by filling in an online claim form. There is also an option to read the entire website in Spanish.

You can find out more about the Texas Lottery and its fun games, such as Texas Two Step and Cash 5, by visiting the dedicated page of Lottery.net.

by Mike Redfern
Updated March 30th, 2016