Actions Of Lottery & Store Personnel Unacceptable In This Incident ...

Unbelievable ... This Should Never Happen ...

Texan Buys Seven (7) Quick Picks ...

Receives 7 Identical Tickets ...

Originally Posted: March 15, 2012

To see a larger image for clarity and details (date and time), click here

To see a larger image for clarity and details (date and time), click here


March 15, 2012 - Editorial & Opinions by Dawn Nettles

I think you could easily say that it appears this player has been struck by lightning 7 times!

Isn't that what they say about your chances of winning the lottery? You're more likely to get hit by lightning than you are to pick those six (6) winning numbers yet a New Mexico's lottery terminal picked the same 6 numbers SEVEN times.

The Innocent Player ...
The player - Elias Garza - is actually from Corpus Christi but he was in Las Cruces, New Mexico last month when he went to Loves Truck Stop to purchase his Powerball tickets for that nights $60 million jackpot.

He told the clerk that he wanted 7 Quick Picks with the PowerPlay - he planned to spend $21 for his Powerball tickets.

But the clerk errs and runs 7 tickets without the PowerPlay. So Mr. Garza says, "That's OK. I'll keep these tickets but run me 7 more tickets with the PowerPlay and please run them on the same ticket this time."

The clerk runs the tickets but comes back with 7 separate tickets explaining that he could not run them on the same ticket. Mr. Garza, frustrated, just pays the clerk and exits the store.

But when Elias got to his truck, he accidentally dropped two of his tickets. As he reached down to pick them up, he saw that the tickets contained identical numbers. It was then that he looked closely at his other tickets. In complete disbelief, he saw that the 7 tickets with the PowerPlay contained the exact same numbers and they WERE in fact, all Quick Picks.

He was angry and confused. He had already graciously spent an extra $14 for unwanted tickets, then another $21 to purchase what he wanted in the first place. Now he's faced with 7 identical tickets for his $21.

He went back in to see what could be done about this explaining that no one buys Quick Picks expecting to get the same set of numbers on all tickets. The store manager was called in for assistance. After seeing the tickets, the store manager told Mr. Garza and the clerk that they would take the tickets back and they would run him more tickets to satisfy his problem. Mr. Garza said OK - I'll keep one of these tickets so just run me 6 more with the PowerPlay.

Then Mr. Garza heard the store manager tell the clerk that he would have to sell the "returned" tickets or pay for them at the end of his shift. Mr. Garza was appalled at hearing this - he was thinking to himself - you mean you would actually sell these tickets to other unsuspecting players, you aren't planning to contact lottery officials about this incident, is this an every day occurrence, what did the store clerk do to deserve this? All these things - plus more - was running through his mind.

So, Mr. Garza decided he would just keep all 7 tickets so the clerk and other players wouldn't get screwed too.

Mr. Garza bought 6 more Quick Picks and paid another $18. Let's do the math ... he paid $14 + $21 + $18 = $53 for his Powerball tickets when his intent was to spend $21. BOY, what a deal [for the lottery and the retailer]!!! <grin - but really not funny>

Another customer who was delayed because of the turmoil with Mr. Garza finally speaks up and says, "Hey, what's going on?" Mr. Garza turns to the man and says, "Well I just bought 7 Quick Picks for tonights Powerball drawing and all the numbers on the tickets are all the same." The man responds, "Well, can I buy one of them? Mr. Garza replies, "YEAH and Good Luck!" Mr. Garza then leaves the store.

(Mr. Garza admits that he did later regret letting the man buy one of his tickets though. He realized that he might have sold 1/7 of the jackpot or who knows, may have been 1/100th or 1/1,000th or 1/1,000,000 of the jackpot.)

Horrible, horrible realization - If by chance those numbers had come in ... and IF the man had bought the ticket from Mr. Garza, then he MAY not have been able to collect his winnings because he would not have bought it "from a licensed lottery retailer." I can assure you, if the man had told lottery officials that he bought his ticket from another player, there would have been a long, drawn out "investigation" before they would have paid him. And the lottery might have filed charges against both players.

Claims issues are a serious issue with me - I've seen too many people go through hell in trying to obtain their rightful winnings. The Texas Lottery does everything in their power to stall paying questionable claims. This is very wrong.

Retailer - mistakes, mistakes, mistakes ...
1) The store manager and clerk should have known to immediately contact the lottery vendor (Intralot) to report this incident. This clearly indicates a lack of training and knowledge at the store level.

2) The store manager and clerk should have known to call the hotline to have these tickets canceled. IF the store had called the hotline - the store would have been credited and Mr. Garza could have received new tickets without having to spend more of his money.

3) It was 3:30 PM - the store manager and clerk should have additionally called the New Mexico Lottery - Retail Division - to report the printing of 7 identical tickets from his terminal 4 seconds apart. If by chance Intralot had failed to take immediate action, at least the New Mexico Lottery MAY have taken action to prevent this from happening to fellow consumers.

4) Why would a store manager penalize an employee - in front of the customer - when the employee could not possibly be held responsible for a lottery terminal printing the same set of numbers 7 times?

If by chance, lottery terminals have the capability of duplicating a Quick Pick number multiple times for a player, why would the additional tickets printed say "QP?" Clearly, the additional tickets would contain "self picked numbers" as the original numbers may have come from a Quick Pick but re-running them makes the tickets "self picked" tickets.

IF these terminals CAN repeat an original Quick Pick selection multiple times, I can't help but wonder just how many duplicate tickets have actually been printed where unsuspecting players have purchased them. Just how long has this been going on where clerks can make this kind of error then re-sell those duplicate tickets to consumers.

This worries me because I am known to buy "accidentally" printed tickets from retailers so they don't have to pay for the tickets. Have I been buying duplicate Quick Picks printed in error? Guess I need to quit being nice to help the retailers. I don't want a set of numbers that someone else has got. Shoot - I want the whole jackpot!

Finally, if these terminals have the capability of running multiple duplicate QP tickets, then why didn't the NM Lottery just explain this to both MUSL and the player in the first place? Why would it be necessary to do an investigation? Why didn't the store manager simply explain this to the player? And why has it taken 3 and 1/2 weeks to respond?

The Player Takes Action ...
It took Mr. Garza a little bit to calm down and come to his senses about ... 1) the reality of what he actually had possession of; 2) what could actually be happening to consumers and 3) his unplanned excessive spending for lottery tickets.

So the first thing he did was to call his Dad for advice! (smart move) Like all of us involved, his Dad did not believe him so he had to take pictures of his tickets to prove that they REALLY were Quick Picks and they REALLY were run consecutively and literally 4 seconds apart.

After seeing the photo's, Dad contacts MUSL to complain (Feb 23rd). He's put in touch with Security, Ed Stefan, who just like Dad and me, didn't believe it either. They immediately send Mr. Stefan the photo's who - they describe - "was absolutely shocked at what he saw."

Mr. Stefan does ask where the tickets were purchased then he explains that there is nothing MUSL can do about this - rather - it would have to be the New Mexico Lottery to take action. Mr. Stefan kindly contacts the NM Lottery for the Garza's and explains that the NM Lottery would be in touch with them.

On Feb 24th, Mr. Garza receives the following email from the NM Lottery but NO OTHER COMMUNICATIONS - no phone calls, no personal contacts - just this message ...

Feb 24, 2012

Mr. Garza,

I was contacted by Ed Stefan with MUSL and advised of your son's
experience when purchasing 7 QP Powerball tickets. The Security and
Enforcement Division has initiated an inquiry/investigation and will keep you
informed of our findings.

If you like you can contact me directly please do so at the below number.

J. Vince Torrez
Executive Vice President
for Security & Enforcement

It is now March 15th and the Garza's are still waiting for an explanation OR something, anything, closure, assurance that consumers aren't being ripped off - just ANYTHING.

Actions the New Mexico Lottery SHOULD have taken ...
1) They should have immediately contacted Mr. Garza personally. This is plane ole' good business practices. It would have shown that they "cared."

2) They should have immediately offered him 6 Quick Picks for the next drawing to replace the duplicate tickets printed. (I predict they will eventually say "This was a "computer glitch" a "malfunction" or a "clerk error.")

The terminals err too often when validating winning tickets. When players do take them in, they are told "it's a computer glitch." Famous words! I personally have a ticket that I have to take to a claim center to collect on. It's worth $10 - face value - but the ticket checkers and the main terminals say it worth $5 and that's how much I've collected so far.

3) In Texas, a "complaint" is not considered a complaint UNLESS it is in writing. The New Mexico Lottery has NOT asked Mr. Garza for any information .... they haven't even spoken to him nor have they asked him to file a complaint.

How can "an investigation" be conducted if all parties are NOT interviewed? How can there be an investigation where there is no written complaint? How can they "investigate" lottery tickets they've never laid eyes on? (Actually, I know the answer to the latter question - they've got a record of it in their system - they don't really have to see the tickets to investigate what they KNOW they have!)

Bad Press And Exposing This Incident "Could" Have Been Avoided ...
(The Lottery's will say '"Should" have been avoided!)

If the retailer had reported this incident immediately, I can assure you that both Intralot and the New Mexico Lottery would have jumped through hoops to have gotten those tickets back. Neither wants YOU to see these tickets nor do they want this story exposed. This may well be the reason that Mr. Garza has not been asked to put his complaint in writing - it would become a public record.

So we're lucky in ONE way - this could have been another well kept secret from lottery players had the retailer not screwed up in the first place.

Mr. Garza wants an explanation, he wants closure and he's entitled to it. 3 and 1/2 weeks is a bit too long to wait.

BUT he's not the only one who wants an explanation - I think I can speak for all of you who are reading this - you and I want answers too.

About Quick Pick's being so called "Random" picks ...
Folks there is no such thing as a "random" pick by a computer. The computer requires a program and an algorithm to work in the first place. Programming and algorithm's are man made and they can set the picks to not include a number, to pick a certain number only 10% of the time, to pick numbers in consecutive order and all kind of things. Nationwide there have been multiple problems with computerized draws. Lotteries should use balls and machines to conduct FAIR drawings - not a computer.

Interestingly, a number of years ago, I requested from the Texas Lottery a printout of all numbers sold for a particular drawing. The Texas Lottery refused to provide me with this data. I had received information from a very reliable source that I should obtain this document so I could really see the numbers generated and it would prove everything he had just told me. He also correctly "predicted" that the Texas Lottery would refuse to provide this document to me.

Since then, I have had countless player calls, faxes and emails with copies of their "quick pick" tickets showing 3, 4 and 5 duplicate and consecutive numbers on their tickets. This has more or less proven to me that what I learned from my source many years ago was most likely 100% true.

A Question For The Lottery's ...
Mr. Lottery - why won't you provide consumers with a list of all combinations sold for a single drawing? What have you got to hide? Why do you simply provide a stats report that shows how many times a number was on a ticket and what the total coverage was for that draw? And if it is all "random" as you claim, how come - for the most part - all numbers appear to be equal in times sold for the drawing? Seems like that's fishy in itself!

Here in Texas, players complain about there being duplicate winning tickets where they were all Quick Picks. The lottery says that if they program the program to not have duplicate tickets, then the selections would not be random. This makes sense, however, how come all quick picks seem to pick each number an equal number of times - for the most part?

In Conclusion ...
Mr. Garza's duplicate Quick Pick tickets are not random - there is no way with there being 175 million combinations - a random generator could select the same set of numbers 7 times in a row.

Players - IF this ever happens to you, DEMAND that the store call the vendor hotline (Intralot, G-Tech, Sci Games, etc) and get these tickets canceled. Demand that you be allowed to make a copy of the tickets then return the original tickets to the retailer as required. Then call me - my number is on every page of my web site.


VIP ... Editors Note
I started this story on Tues, March 13th.
On Wed, March 14th I contacted the AP. The AP contacted the
NM Lottery late on the 14th and I posted banners about the
coming of this story late on the 14th. Today, March 15, at 9:47 am,
the Lottery emailed this player a response. I have confirmed,
in Texas NOT New Mexico, that how they say this
happened was impossible.

This story will be updated as soon as I receive official word
as to how and why this player received 7 duplicate Quick Pick tickets.


If you have a comment, please email me.


The Lotto Report
P. O. Box 495033
Garland, Texas 75049-5033
(972) 686-0660
(972) 681-1048 Fax