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Sept 26, 2012 - Fixed link (address of story changed) and added story just in case the story moves again! - Originally Posted - Sept 16, 2012 - Editorial - Opinions by Dawn Nettles - I've been trying to warn ya'll for many years to check your own tickets - do NOT trust the lottery terminals nor should you trust the new ticket checkers that are in the stores. They do err and/or sometimes there may be validation errors as well. PLEASE - check your own tickets then use these ticket checkers as a back-up.
I say this now because there is yet another news story that re-inforces this very point. It was reported in Florida. Read the story.
It seems to me that the lotteries always deny these things - but it HAS happened to me, I've witnessed it with other players in stores and stores have reported it to me. Finally, if you still don't believe it - there was a $270 million dollar winning ticket in Ohio (April 18, 2006) that when the ticket was scanned at the claim center, it showed up as "Not A Winner." The lottery told both the winner and USA Today that it was just a computer glictch! Yeah - right!!!! <grin>
Check your own tickets.
Sept 8, 2012 - Editorial - Opinions by Dawn Nettles - As many of you have reported - yes - I am aware of the story in the Houston Chronicle regarding the Lotto Texas winner who collected his winnings this past week anonymously. They also used a collections attorney from Houston who was a Rick Perry appointee. I found it most interesting too. Though most winners do collect under Trust names.
And YES, Kelly Cripe was quoted in the story - she is still employed - nothing has changed. As we all know - fair or not - not all rules/laws apply to all people. Guess the TLC has lost its "Equal Opportunity Employer" status. <grin> Have you all noticed that we've not seen Ms. Cripe on TV nor did she attend several meeting that she should have attended. I can't help but wonder why ... I've gathered she's got a medical condition that's flared up so she's been allowed to hide - so to speak. Guess that's good for her - she was Miss Austin and wouldn't want to be seen publicly with "a condition." Though most of us are not that lucky or privileged.
Just so that you know - I requested - through open records - all communications between Ms. Cripe and stafff/commission members. The TLC filed for an AG opinion to keep some communications from me. The AG ruled this week that the TLC could withhold some info but must release some info as well. I have been pouring though those messages and will be posting some but will wait until the TLC complies with the AG ruling. These messages have things redacted that should not have been redacted - in my opinion - IF they don't give me the info in its entirety - then I will show you what I mean.
The new game - All or Nothing - begins Monday. I asked how I could obtain sales AFTER each draw so I can be current with my postings, Ms. Cripe replied, "Draw sales information will not be on the website following each drawing. That information may be requested through Open Records." Just so that ya'll know, open records has 10 working days to respond to requests. In some of the writings I obtained, I saw where a staff member explained to Ms Cripe that the TLC has provided sales data to me after each draw for "at least a decade." In one of Ms. Cripes messages to staff, she instructed staff NOT to reply to my requests. It appears to me that she is intentionally trying to harm me OR has decided that YOU do not need to know how many tickets were sold. I think she realizes that this could make her job more difficult ... after all - how does one explain to a reporter why there was no winner with so many tickets being sold? This is part of her job so it's understandable that she wouldn't want to have to address this issue too. Odds ARE hard to explain!
Anyway, there will be an update to the Cripe story. So many of you have asked about it - trust me - there will be an update ... Just stay tuned is all I can say at this point ...
August 22, 2012 - Re: Maximum Millions Scratch tickets - On Aug 7, 2012 - which was two weeks ago - the last top prize was claimed on this game. Two days later, the TLC posted a notice to retailers - via the lottery terminals - to CEASE selling this game. Few retalers read these notices. They completely depend on G-Tech reps to pull the games they are not suppose to be selling. However, G-Tech reps are not pulling Maximum Millions - game #1142. Retailers are STILL selling $20 tickets with no top prizes. Retailers are reporting that their rep has not told them to pull the ticket. I've tried explaining that it is to their advantage to not sell this ticket because even they don't stand a chance in hell of receiving a commission for selling a top winning ticket not to mention the players who are hoping to win a million dollars when they buy this ticket.
The same thing applies to a game called Texas 7's (game #1400) which is suppose to be closed out on 8/31/12. This game is still selling as I write this yet the last top prize came in quite some time ago.
The Texas Lottery nor G-Tech wants to pull games where all the top prizes have come in yet they are suppose to put forth every effort to pick them up immediately. But they don't do it.
In all these years, I've seen G-Tech/TLC pull a ticket quickly only once - it was a $50 ticket issued a close date but it still had top prizes unclaimed. Yet they started picking up these $50 tickets the day after the ticket was issued a close date.
So I'm trying to spread the word - DO NOT buy Maximum Millions and PLEASE tell your retailer he is suppose to pull this game. If he doesn't, I suggest you contact your state rep so we can start getting these games pulled since all top prizes have been claimed.
On another note,
May 7, 2012 - My Sunset Recommendations - The TLC has been under a Sunset review since last Sept or Oct 2011. The first deadline for submitting comment was actually Nov 21, 2011. I was unable to participate due to two seriously ill family members that have consumed all of my time since last July 2011. This is why I've been so quiet - so to speak. At any rate, the Sunset Commission extended me time to submit comment amd I barely made the very last deadline of March 22nd.
The purpose of the Sunset Commission is to review state agencies and make recommendations to lawmakers for writing legislation. I've waited 3 years to submit recommendations hoping that our lawmakers would either write needed laws or require changes to better protect both players, retailers and the State of Texas itself.
I think all of you should read my recommendations and speak up with your thoughts and opinions. The Texas Lottery has certainly expressed their distaste in my recommendations - they have refused to provide me with information that they've provided to me since 2003. Anyway, NOW is the time to contact your State Rep or State Senator if you have legislative recommendations concerning the Texas Lottery.
Click here to read Sunset recommendations.
Quick Pick Story ...
Shortly after I posted my March 15th story, players in Arizona and Washington complained of receiving duplicate Quick Picks as well. This was all over the news. I do not know the outcome. This past week-end, G-Tech claims they had a "glitch" in their software in Illinois causing Illinois terminals to print duplicate Quick Picks that players are extremely unhappy about.
Folks - I beleive IF everyone would QUIT buying Quick Picks and start picking your own random numbers, we would have more winners because the "coverage" for each drawing would increase. Why don't you write all the numbers on a small piece of paper and draw numbers to play from those.
Another shocking finding to report ... I have been working feverishly for the past two weeks to report my findings on an issue that I've been working on for a very long time now. All I can say at this point is - stay tuned - it's an unbelievable finding ... It would have already been done had my brother not had a set back last week - add heart failure and thyroid problem to lung cancer.
Feb 8, 2012 - A new page has been added to my site so that ya'll can see and compare how many tickets were actually printed for each Powerball and Mega Millions draw. The lotteries are boasting how the Powerball rule change has improved their sales income, but the truth is that while their sales may be up due to the increase in "per ticket" cost, they are actually selling fewer tickets per draw. This is why the "probabilities" of having 5+0, 4+0, 3+0 winners is worse than before. They expected fewer winners for all prize categories because they knew they would sell fewer tickets. They also know with fewer tickets being sold per draw, it will - generally speaking - take longer for someone to win the jackpot.
The jackpots are growing at a faster pace SIMPLY because they are selling tickets for $2 apiece with almost twice a much going to the JACKPOT prize as before. From sales, the percentages allocated for the low tier prizes was reduced for the most part. This is because they knew they would have fewer winners because they wouldn't sell as many tickets as before - therefore - less money was needed to fund.
So that you can see exactly how things are, the chart below allows you to compare like jackpot amounts to see how many winners and how many tickets were held by players for the particular jackpot amount. As you can clearly see, FEWER tickets are being sold/printed and there are FEWER winners per draw. Contrary to what they are advertising.
Jan 17, 2012 - Let me add a little bit to my Jan 13th posting as per your requests/suggestions. I am listening to you. But first, I want to thank all of you for your very kind comments. I have tried to reply to all messages, but, IF by chance I've failed to reply, please accept my apologies. If you have not read the Jan 13th entry below, then I would suggest you read it before you read this short, quick message.
Many of you have expressed your concerns that I failed to warn players that if you spend the same amount of money playing Powerball as you have in the past, then you will reduce your "chances" of winning. This is because you will have fewer tickets. Your odds of winning remain the same but with fewer tickets, then your "chances" of having a winning tickets is reduced. I didn't mention this because I felt it was a known, obvious point. Sorry!
Texas stores had no new Powerball playslips. WOW - this really caught me off guard because they've had since at least June 29, 2011 to produce the materials needed to start on Jan 15, 2012. Texas retailers have been telling players that they could only buy Quick Picks for the last two days. Sad but true. I did pick up new slips this afternoon from some stores and found stores that still do not have new playslips for Powerball players.
Unfortunately, the playslip issue is not the biggest and worst oversight by the TLC ... By far, the worst injustice is one that literally takes players to the cleaners. It is .... If by chance you are a scratch ticket player and have bought game #1318 - Instant Powerball - if you have not already collected the "$5 Powerball quick pick prize" offered in this game ... well - you can't collect it at the retail level now. You will have to drive to a claim center, fill out a claim form then they will pay you $5 rather than to give you the free ticket you actually won. You'll probably also get a W2-G meaning you will have to report the winnings on your tax return!
Do you have any idea how costly this is for MANY players? Do you have any idea how many people will NOT collect this prize because it would cost them more money to collect the $5 prize than the actual value of it?
The Texas Lottery tells us that we can collect ANY prize under $600 at the retail locations. Not so anymore - they can change the rules in midstream. Folks, this is VERY, VERY wrong in so many ways. To me, they are literally ripping off players and intentionally so. In light of their HUGE mistake in planning - they should have simply given players a ticket even if it meant increasing the prize amount. These players bought these tickets in good faith but the TLC is not acting in good faith. They are taking advantage of Texas Lottery players. Guess who gets the prize money that goes unclaimed???? You guessed it - the state keeps much of the unclaimed prize money thanks to HB 2922 signed by Governor Rick Perry in 2003.
The Texas Lottery knew LONG before June 29, 2011 that the Powerball change was coming. Why did the TLC not close the scratch ticket game before Sept 8, 2011 allowing all prizes to be collected PRIOR to the start of the new Powerball game? The reason - they didn't want to take a loss on the ticket so they are letting players take the loss instead.
We have 180 days to collect a prize from a closed game (scratch tickets) or 180 days from the date of the online drawing (Lotto Texas, Cash5, Pick3, Daily4, 2 Step, Mega Millions). For this particular ticket, players have until March 6, 2012 to collect these prizes. The TLC should have closed the Instant Powerball scratch game so ALL players could collect their prizes - 1) as per the rules and 2) as stated on the face of the ticket.
That's all for today ... now if you haven't read all details regarding the changes to Powerball ... then read on ...
The Truth About the Jan 15, 2012 Powerball Changes
Jan 13, 2012 - Comments and Opinions by Dawn Nettles - By now you've all heard that they are changing the Powerball game. Many of you have asked why is it that I have not told you about the changes and why didn't I post something so you could comment. The truth is, there was no reason for us to comment because the Texas Lottery didn't care what the People of Texas had to say - it was a DONE deal prior to them ever even proposing a rule change for Powerball. It would have been a complete waste of our time.
Here's why I say this ... On June 29, 2011, the TLC issued a press release regarding changes to Powerball that would take effect on Jan 15, 2012. As it turns out, the press release was deceptive in its content but this was something no one could have known at the time because there was no new rule.
Anyway, on August 10, the TLC submitted a new Powerball rule to the Commissioners for their approval to post in the Texas Register. Of course, the Commissioners didn't have much to say about the "done deal" either. They just approved the rule for posting as this is the legal process.
I did comment (vaguely) at the Commission meeting and I did comment to executive staff regarding this action being "another" violation of Administrative Code 2001.0225 through 2001.034. State agencies are suppose to consider public comment prior to adopting new rules. The issuance of a press release in June regarding the changes coming to the Powerball game prior to Texas ever proposing a rule told me that the changes were obviously another "done deal." Therefore there was no reason for us to voice our concerns nor was there a reason for me to do all the extra work and spend my money that is involved in the rulemaking process.
Just so that you know, the TLC says that they have no control over the rules of a "multi state game" - therefore - they thought nothing of their actions. What they failed to consider, however, was that they had the option of pulling out of the game which is exactly what they should have done - in my educated opinion. And I believe, given the data that I have to support my belief, you would all agree it would have been the best move for Texas to simply pull out of the game. And these were the comments we could have made had this change not been a done deal from the beginning.
About the changes to Powerball ...
4) They have increased the starting jackpot to $40 million rather than the current $20 million. This is not a big deal because 1) so few players ever win at this level and 2) players will now be paying $2 per ticket rather than $1 so IF players continue to buy as they have in the past, then they will only be a little short of having enough to support the advertised jackpot amount at this level. Texas and MUSL are gambling big time. They think players will continue to purchase tickets as usual in spite of the cost increase. Judging from what I've heard from you and my personal feelings, I think they are wrong. I've always spent $5 for each draw and IF I continue to purchase tickets, it will be a $4 purchase rather than a $5 purchase.
5) They are increasing the prize amount for matching just the bonus number (0+1) to $4 rather than the $3 prize amount. It is true that your odds of winning this prize are better than before as they are reducing the number of bonus numbers - again, you will be picking one number between 1 to 35 rather than 1 number between 1 to 39.
6) While they are heavily and deceptively promoting promoting the "so called" $1 million prize for "matching 5 numbers but NOT the bonus number," this is no different than it is right now. You see, if you purchase a $2 ticket today for tomorrow nights draw, you could win $1 million dollars as that is what the prize amount already is with the PowerPlay. One would pick 5 numbers from a pool of 59 numbers and next week after the change takes effect, you will still pick 5 numbers from a pool of 59 numbers and you will still pay $2 for the ticket. One could still win $1 million. Your odds of winning this prize is NO better than it was before for the SAME amount of money.
With the new game, IF you play PowerPlay and pay a total of $3 for ONE ticket, then you could win $2 million for matching 5 numbers but NOT the bonus number. This is a new prize amount but the odds of winning are exactly the same as they were and there will not be "more" 5+0 winners. You do not have better chances of winning this prize than you did before as you are still picking 5 numbers from a pool of 59 numbers.
FYI ... to date, Texas has printed a total of 208,565,958 Powerball tickets (203 drawings) and of the 208 million tickets printed, only 46 tickets matched 5 numbers and no bonus number. This means that 0.000022055% of Texas players won "match 5" numbers. (I hope you noticed that I did NOT say "sold" 208,565,958 tickets - this is because there have been sooooo many FREE tickets given out in way of prizes from scratch tickets. The TLC did NOT collect this much money in Powerball sales.)
FYI ... To date, Texas has NOT had a Powerball jackpot winner - 0% of Texas players have won the jackpot. (There has been 203 drawings with 29 jackpot winning tickets since Texas joined Powerball but none in Texas. And to make matters worse, Texas has sent $66.3 million out of state to pay these winners.)
Sadly, you will now be paying $2 to win the same amount of money as before should you match 4+1 ($10K), 4+0 ($100), 3+1 ($100), 3+0 ($7), 2+1 ($7) and 1+1 ($4).
The odds of winning 5+1 (jackpot), 4+1, 3+1, 2+1 and 1+1 are slightly better than before because they have reduced the number of bonus numbers to 35 numbers rather than 39 numbers.
Your odds of winning 5+0, 4+0, 3+0 have NOT changed at all. Your odds of winning Powerball are about the same as winning Mega Millions - very, very slim. 175-million-to-one with a greater expense of playing and your losses doubling! It's not worth it to me!
About the Deceptive Advertising/Promotions you're hearing now ...
"Bigger starting grand/jackpots, better odds of winning and more chances to win $1 million" which is clearly a lie - very deceiving. For the cost of $2 per ticket, your chances of winning $1 million are EXACTLY the same as it was before and your odds are EXACTLY the same as before. The TLC is selling this point heavy - trying to entice you into spending the same amount of money you could have been spending all along but have chosen not to!
"An exciting aspect of the new Powerball will be more opportunities for players to win $1 million or more" ... see how they are stressing the $1 million prize. Yet the odds are no different than they were before - you are still picking 5 numbers from a pool of 59 numbers and you are still spending $2 to win the same prize as before.There will not be more "opportunities" to win $1 million - they are forcing you to pay for the "opportunity" whereas before you had a choice.
"Powerball drawings are held on Wednesday and Saturday nights at 10:12 p.m." - Another out and out lie. The TLC wants players to believe you are seeing the drawings live when you see them here in Texas but the truth is, the drawings are held at 9:59 PM. The TLC should be releasing the drawing results PRIOR to 10:12 pm just the same as they should be releasing the Megaplier number at 9:45 pm when it is suppose to be drawn. But they refuse. Why is this???
"and a matrix change will provide better odds of winning" ... this is not completely true either - it's only a half truth and is a very broad, deceiving statement for unsuspecting players. This statement is better known as "deception by omission." I suspect the TLC is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of most players. The matrix change only effects the odds for the 5+1, 4+1, 3+1, 2+1 and 0+1 prizes.
The $1 million prize (5+0) is NOT effected by the matrix change.
The matrix change does improve the odds for winning the jackpot but the odds of winning the jackpot are so very slim that to me, it's a minute point. 175-million-to-one is HORRIBLE odds of winning. Since TX joined Powerball, there have been 5.6 BILLION tickets sold in the 44 states/jurisdictions and only 29 tickets have matched 5 numbers plus the bonus number to win the jackpot. No one in Texas has won the jackpot.
"the overall odds of winning any prize will also be made easier" - this is clearly not true. It will not be easier to win 5+0, 4+0, or 3+0 yet they are stating that "overall odds of winning ANY prize" will be "easier." And it is certainly NOT easier to win $1 million!
Let's Compare Prize Amounts ... And let's look at the WHOLE picture ... Not a partial picture like the TLC is giving players via promo pieces found in the stores!
FYI - The history of which PowerPlay number was drawn - either a "2", "3," "4" or "5" - in the last 203 draws. This number indicates how much to multiply a players winnings in the event he's matched so many numbers to win a prize. (Note: The "10" was a promo draw and it was only drawn once)
Even though PowerPlay draws are suppose to be random draws, it seems to me from memory that "2's" came out more often at the start of a new roll cycle and it seems that "2's came out alot when the numbers drawn were lower numbers meaning there would most likely be more winners for that draw. Most players play birthday numbers. There have been 27 roll cycles since Texas joined Powerball.
In Conclusion ...
I will be filing a complaint with the Attorney General with regards to the deceptive advertising this afternoon. Just remember, your odds of winning the $1 million prize have NOT changed and your chances of winning $1 million have not changed from the original game. For the same $2, you could have won the $1 million prize and the odds are of winning it are exactly the same as before the change.
There are some other issues with the rule itself but I will not go into detail on these issues at this time. I will cover them in the complaints I plan to file. The one good thing the TLC says about me is that I am good proof reader so I won't let them down on this new ADOPTED rule!----
The Lotto Report
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