Lottery ScamDamn you Eddie Haskell! I could have been a kazillionaire!

This is what lotto players say after they have lost, but later discover someone who played the winning numbers has had their tickets voided for fraud, irregularity or some other defect. Eddie Tipton worked in the Lottery office. While there he says he created a software program that allowed the winning numbers to be set for certain days of the year. After the computer code was discovered he was charged and has now been sentenced to a 25-year prison term.

WHAT ABOUT THE COLORADO ENGINEER WHO HAD A WINNING TICKET?

An engineer from Colorado was one of three people who won a $4.8 million jackpot. The other two people were connected to a conspiracy that voided their tickets.

When playing the lottery, keep in mind that it is a game of chance and not a blood transfusion or a nuclear weapons treaty. The rules trump your "what-if's". 

Attorney Steve Lombardi on the Iowa lottery 

BUT FOR EDDIE TIPTON, I WOULD HAVE WON $4.8 MILLION IN THE LOTTERY

So now the engineer wants the entire enchilada of $4.8 million. Not just $800,000. He wants the whole enchilada. Is he likely to get it? Not really, he is not likely to get the money.

BUT FOR EDDIE TIPTON, I WOULD BE LIVING ON EASY STREET!

Most people who play the lottery or the Lotto think in terms of fairness. They think in terms of rules that govern everyday transactions. Sort of like you would think about buying a cheeseburger at Five Guys. But unlike buying red meat, the lottery is a game of chance. A game with its own set of rules. None have to do with a fair outcome. The outcome is governed by those playing, playing by the rules. The rules as written. Not as we hope them to be. And so out of the kazillions playing your game, if one cheats the game can be called off, voided. Yeah, it is voidable.

DAMN YOU, EDDIE TIPTON!

And what do the rules state about tickets and playing this game of chance. The Public Lotteries Act of 1996 created the “Lotto Rules”. These rules are 48 pages long.

Rule 16(a) requires anyone playing to enter into an agreement with the retailer to be bound by the rules. And so, if you play, you are playing by the rules.

Rule 15 governs Disqualifications. Any ticket issued in respect of an Entry or a Syndicate Share in a Game of Lotto which is disqualified shall automatically be void and cancelled. There are seven all-encompassing reasons for disqualifying the participant’s ticket include fraud, attempted fraud or even a reasonable suspicion of fraud are reasons. A ticket failing any security test is also a reason for voiding the ticket and disqualifying the participant.

Rule 14 sets out the procedures for claiming a prize. Which I am guessing the engineer did already. Did he sign any documents when he picked up his cash winnings? I am going to bet he did. And what did those documents state?

KEEP IN MIND THIS IS A GAME, NOT A BLOOD TRANSFUSION

All things in life must be kept in perspective. This is a game, not a blood transfusion. There are rules, releases, reasons for disqualification and everyone who plays this game must agree to play by the rules. You may not like the rules, you don't have to play. But the rules are the rules. And part of the chance you take has a lot to do with everyone agreeing to actually play fair.

NOT!

Without knowing all the facts, I cannot state how this one will come out. But if I were to take an educated guess, I would say you’d be better off putting your money on a Hallmark Card with “But for Eddie Tipton!” scrawled across the front of it and issued every year on August 22nd. The Iowa Lottery bargain sales on August 22, 1985 with a kickoff celebration at the Iowa State Fair.

Sorry Eddie, but you probably can’t legally play anymore. At least not, in this lifetime.
Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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