The Players Comment Again ...
Read what players think about the Lotto Texas rule NOT guaranteeing a "minimum" percentage of sales that a 6 of 6 winner will collect ... but the TLC IS guaranteeing all other the prizes ... Plus, they are deleting a statement that says "no prize amount shall be less than $5" because a 4 of 6 prize could pay less than a 3 of 6 prize ... There is something seriously wrong with this picture.
Because of your previous comments, this rule has been withdrawn twice - once in June 2001 & again in Nov. 2001. But the TLC reproposed the rule again on Dec. 21, 2001 but it still does not specify the "minimum" percentage of sales the 6 of 6 winner is due. The proposed rule says, "6 of 6 winners "may" receive 68.24% of the prize pool" but for the players protection, it should say, "6 of 6 winners "shall" receive "a minimum" of 68.24% of the prize pool." Comptroller Sharp originally wrote the rule using the word "shall" but the TLC secretly changed the word to "may" in 1997. The language change was never discussed in a Commissioners meeting.
Another new proposal is in the works for Pick3. They are trying to start playing the game twice per day. As you will read, players object.
Brought To You By ...
The Lotto Report
A Bi-Weekly Publication
Originally Posted: May 12, 2001
Revised: Jan. 21, 2002
Concluded - Feb. 12, 2002
Your comments were acknowledged. The rule was not
adopted as it was written. It was revised a 4th time, then adopted
on Feb. 12, 2002. 6 of 6 winners now have a specific "minimum"
amount that they have won when they win! A bittersweet victory.
Now we must move on to the proposed Pick3 rule change.
The TLC is proposing to play Pick3 twice a day. Send your
comments to me. The TLC won't accept emails for comments.
Also, I plan to have a form posted this time that you can simply
fill out and submit for comment. Hopefully, it will be up by
the end of the day (2-14-02).
My letter of comment - faxed 1-21-02
I am enclosing with this letter my comments that I have posted on my web site, www.lottoreport.com regarding the current proposed rule change. It includes a summary of the rule changes - 3 pages - and the rule itself with my comments - 12 pages.
Additionally, I am enclosing some of the players comments that are posted - 10 pages, a copy of a press release that Ive sent to the media, Governor Perry, the Sunset Advisory Commission, Commissioner Clowe, Commissioner Whitaker, Commission Criner and every state legislator in the state (those by email) - 3 pages.
This is the 3rd time in less than 8 months that I have spent my time and my money spreading the word to the people regarding the same subject matter on this rule change. In the previous 2 proposals that were withdrawn, the TLC received over 1500 comments of opposition to the language in the rule - fellow players and myself have simply requested that the rule guarantee a minimum amount that a 6 of 6 player will receive when they win. Even slot machines tell you what you will win if you match the symbols.
The language in the new proposed rule does NOT guarantee that players will be paid the greater of the amount advertised which IS based on the applicable interest rate OR the jackpot amount shall be based on a minimum of 68.24% of the prize pool - whichever figure is the greatest. Additionally, the rule still says, the direct prize category may be 68.24% of the prize pool when it should say, the direct prize category shall be a minimum of 68.24% of the prize pool. The language must be specific like it is on all the other prizes.
Further, the new rule deletes the sentence guaranteeing that no prize will be less than $5 which players strenuously object. There should never be even a remote possibly that this could happen. When the TLC added the four balls, do you remember that part of the TLCs sales pitch was that no player would ever receive less than $5? It appears the TLC needs to re-evaluate the prize structures.
Please be advised that I have a great many comments to turn over to the TLC. Needless to say, I cannot post all of the comments on my web site. However, rules or no rules, I refuse to spend my money faxing hundreds of comments to you and I refuse to pay for xeroxing these comments as well - especially since the previous 1500 comments object to the same thing as this new rule still states. I will give you the original comments at the next Commissioner meeting. In the meantime, let the 10 pages of comments that I have posted on my web site suffice for now.
I am against the TLC paying less that $5 for having 4/6 numbers on the Texas Lotto. How can you justify paying LESS than five dollars for 4 out of 6, yet MORE for having 3 out of 6? Let's say you start a new job and your boss tells you: "If you work hard and get 50 folders typed today, I will pay you an extra $20.00 but if you only get 20 folders typed today, I will pay you an extra $40.00" I am sure a 6 year old child can think more reasonably than the people working (?) at the TLC... Liz W.
I've just posted on the "daily page" how the TLC fared in a review recently completed by the State Council on Competitive Goverment. Very interesting. Here's a link to read some of the things they reported. Click here.
Proposed changes appear weird. HEB in San Antonio (highest sales) quit the lotto. This happened late last year. Too many new rules - that's what the lady at the counter said. Dan
All of the other Texas gaming industries have very strict governing rules. There are exact percentages and distributions of moneys in other industries (for example Horse Racing).
The Lottery commission should avoid documenting words like "guaranteed" and "may" (when referring to a collection or payout event). If the commission wants to use "guaranteed" then they should set the amounts of payout to an amount that they will absolutely (always) payout.
If they cannot guarantee dollar amounts then they must set the payouts to a fixed % (percentage) of sales and stick to that percentage.
Signature: John R. H. (Digital signature )
Don's Comment ...
The people that are supposed to be the caretakers of the "TLC" by attempting to slip these so called small word changes are doing nothing more than propagating the conception that the rest of the people living in the U.S. have of Texans. (Never turn your back on one or you will lose your pocket book legally according to the rules of Texas)
I think the people at the Texas Lottery think that players have no brains and maybe they are right. We are foolish in that we play their games and buy those horrible scratch offs that don't pay us anything. The TLC has lied and cheated us but we continue to support them by playing. I feel stupid because I'm commenting again when I know that they they will only find sneaky ways to make the rules changes they want. Thank you Dawn for keeping us informed and I hope my comment helps because I really agree with everything you've said and if it weren't for you, we wouldn't know anything about their practices - like the Enron employees.
Cindy O. Terrell.
Dawn: You are right. It also makes Pick 3 harder to track if they use the same machine for both draws, just a thought. The players only have so much money and increasing the number of games won't bring out any more unless they take food off the table and milk from their baby's bottle.I worked at the deleted paper name-News 29 years and I have seen it many times. There are only so many gaming dollars out there. The newspaper used to invent new advertising schemes, but found the advertisers would just spread their same budget thinner between the increased options.
Getting back to the basics is the best way to increase revenues. That includes service, honesty and fair play for the merchants. Anything else will kill the goose and the goose's face is turning blue as it is.
L. M. Amarillo
What a joke you think you will get more money with two pick 3 drawings everday now. You've got to be living in the dark ages. No way will that happen. People are short of money now and many are losing their jobs. Leave things alone and be happy with it. Just like you screwed up the lotto with added numbers. I still haven't seen more winners and never will as it is harder to win. This may fly for a while but the newness will wear off you can bank on that. All you people want is to pocket more money for yourself. John S. McAllen
I've expressed my sentiments twice about the necessity I feel it is for the game rules to reflect the amount each prize group will receive when they win playing any Texas lottery games. If, in the end, the rule states, "the direct prize category may be 68.24 % of the prize pool for the drawing" then my comment to the Texas Lottery is that "I may play the lotto in the future too." Thank you Dawn for keeping us abreast of the TLC. B.C. Cedar Hill
I agree with everything you state in your page on "payout" amounts. However, I don't wish to print out page and mail some one else. Hope this to you helps.
Hi, Pick 3 twice a day would be bad for the number crunchers out there. I think it is exploitive of the regular players of course and an easy way to avoid the cost of starting a pick 4 game. Dan
Subject Line: Brainless, Senseless Crooks
Dawn - I would appreciate it if you would make my comments known to the Lottery Commissioners when you present the comments at the meeting. I have been a big player of the lottery in the past, but with all the changes being proposed, I think it is time to consider another way to participate in the game of chance. As we see these changes unfold, the players have less and less and less of a chance to realize any return. We may as well spend the extra $, go to Vegas and play. At least you can look the people who are taking your money in the face, and maybe take in a few shows while you are there. I continue to believe the adding of 4 balls was a big part of a down hill turn for the overall participation of players. I oppose the winning of less than $5 for 4 of 6 numbers playing lotto texas. (how sad)
I also oppose the rule which allows them not to be specific as to amount will will receive for 6 of 6.
I oppose any rule that would not be specific about the percentage that the winner would receive. That is like saying go ahead and put up your money, if you win then I will tell you how much. Get real
I oppose the TLC paying the amount that they advertise as opposed to paying the percentage allocated to the winner based on sales. That percentage should be invested or paid to the winner and the winner get the results (less or more) based on the percentage of the pool. Paying less or more must not be allowed. pari-mutuel must be the only way.
I oppose the allocating of such a high percentage to pay 3 of 6 winners.
I object to players not receiving a minimum of 55% of sales.
The proposed change to texas 2 step that would use the word "may" rather than "shall" should not happen regarding the 45.56% of the prize pool. Thats like saying maybe I will and maybe I won't pay you that much.
I REALLY OPPOSE the proposed change to play the pick 3 game twice a day. Because of the changes that are proposed or going on in the other games I will be restricting myself to playing the pick 3 game only. To have 2 games a day will kill that game also I think.
I think unless TLC gets their act together regarding being above board as to percentages, amount in pools and how much winners will receive, what prizes are availabe in scratch offs, etc., etc., that the state of Texas needs to -
1. Drop the lottery
2. Get someone to run the lottery that can/will install some integrity, insure the players that the winners will receive what is coming to them. (no more, no less).
It is no surprise to me that the amount spent on the texas lottery is down and going down more. As I said, I have been a big player of the lottery and have really enjoyed it. I have written a lot of computer programs to track, predict, ect associated with the numbers I want to play. It is sad to say that I will have to become an EX PLAYER. All of the unknowns as to how it is/will be operated is more than I wish to deal with.
Jim E. San Antonio
I will send some comments to commissioners also.
Thanks Dawn for all your support/help with dealing with the TLC.
I agree with your comments on the prize fund distributions and I feel that the Lottery commmission should stop screwing around with a good thing and leave well enough alone.
Dawn, please feel free to forward my message as you might deem appropriate. Thanks.
I am opposed to this. If they do this they will screw this game up like they did cash5 when they went from 2 times a week to four times a week. They need to keep it only once per day. Ken
How many times can they make us comment on the same subject? Why didn't they already make the changes we requested? I read somewhere that the TLC received no comments in favor of the rule change but thousands opposed the changes. Why are we having to comment again? It's is a waste of my time. Dan, Houston
I'm going to take one more shot at the Commissioners (will copy you) but I need their names and direct addresses.
Hello Dawn. My name is Roy M. and I live in Tomball. I am against a second Pick 3 game. I don't see where another game is going to help me in any way. If they want to help me than they need to start paying for pairs in the pick 3 game. I won't play a second game because it will take money from my night game. Thank you.
The Second Proposed Rule Was Withdrawn In Nov. 2001.
A Long Letter But One Really Worth Reading
I am writing this letter to express my opposition to the proposed changes to the rules governing the Texas Lottery, especially the Lotto on-line game. I am against any changes to these games at this time.
I am opposed especially to the proposal to only pay the advertised amounts. These amounts are proven to be false and this is one of the reasons that the lottery is having such trouble. Paying the actual amount would keep a little faith in the game. This is especially true since the advertised amount is clearly marked as an estimate. Based on the fact that the game has not sold enough tickets to justify the initial advertised pot of $4 million, it is clear that we cannot rely on the estimates your staff is preparing.
Also, paying the advertised amount would amount to redefining the term pari-mutuel. In proper pari-mutuel betting, the sponsor (such as the racetrack or the Texas Lottery Commission) takes a predefined cut of the betting, and the rest is awarded to the winners based on pre-defined formulas. If the amount being paid to a winner is the advertised amount instead of the amount defined by the sales, this is not pari-mutuel betting.
I understand that these changes are being brought about in an attempt to boost sales of lottery tickets. It was my understanding that the change to 54 balls was supposed to do this also, but it clearly has not worked or this change would not be proposed. Please note that the change to the rules was also opposed by a majority of the players, which is where the money comes from. If you make changes the players oppose, you lose players.
I will instead propose my solutions to restore faith in the TLC and lottery games that I feel will boost sales.
The first rule I would change is that I feel the games should be proper pari-mutuel games. All prizes, even the minimum would be paid for through a pari-mutuel formula. This prize would be rounded down to the highest penny (not dollar like you do now). This may leave a few dollars in the amount, which would promptly be rolled into the next prize fund. This would also mean that the sales and formula would exactly determine all prizes. There would be no need for an estimated prize and no need for a contingency fund. Existing contingency funds would be rolled into the next prize fund after this rule is adopted.
The second rule I would change is that all unclaimed prizes are rolled into the prize fund. On the first drawing after the 180-day limit for a prize to be claimed, this money would be rolled into the prize fund. After all, this money belongs to the various winners and not the state, so it should be paid to the winners.
The third rule I would change is the number of games played. I would play each of the three large games only twice a week. Monday and Thursday would be for Texas Two Step, Tuesday and Friday for Cash Five, and Wednesday and Saturday for Lotto. This would eliminate some of the competition for dollars among games and provide slightly larger drawings for Cash Five. This would then help boost sales since we know that larger prizes attract more customers.
These are the rule changes to how I think the games should be played. There is one other problem that I think needs to be addressed if lottery sales are to climb at all. This is the problem of lack of faith in the TLC.
I have played the Texas Lotto since it was first started. I used to play an average of $20 per week with occasional extra tickets. I have lost most of my faith in the way the lottery is being run and cut my playing to 1 $20 ticket for ten games. I did this when the TLC changes the rules on how Lotto was played over the objections of the players.
I believe one of the primary reasons for the lack of faith in the lottery is that the TLC is not listening to the players. You have listened to your staff, and to suppliers like G-TECH, and to some of the large retail outlets. All of these are necessary for the game to succeed, but none of them are as critical as the player who buys the ticket. Remember that the other constituencies may have other goals and interests than the players. Workers want their jobs. Suppliers want contracts. Stores want profit from selling tickets. Players are interested in the game and how it is being run. Since players are the ones who pay for this, I think you should listen to them more.
The most critical players are the core players. These are the people who buy tickets for every game on a regular basis. We buy the tickets for pots that are estimated at $4 million dollars, instead of waiting for large $20, $30 or $50 million pots. Sales are dropping because these core players are cutting our playing down, much as I did. We are cutting it down to protest the TLC not listening to us and to show our lack of faith in the TLC to run a fair game.
To be honest, I do not blame the Commissioners themselves. They have been led astray by the professionals. The best way to restore faith in the TLC is going to be by proving that you do listen to the players. One way to do this, and I strongly urge you to consider this, is to replace the current Executive Director and Communications Director. These two people, and most especially Ms. Cloud, have cost the TLC more in the way of customer relations than I can possibly estimate.
They have done this by pushing for rules changes that they know the players don't want. They have done this by demonstrating that they don't care about players or the game. Look at Ms. Cloud's record. She has attempted to run the lottery as her personal fiefdom. She brought you proposals to change the rules, and when the public comments were against them, she brought them again. The second time she brought the proposal for changing the Lotto game to 54 balls, she did not point out to you that the players were against the change. She said that the retailers were for the change, and deliberately failed to mention that her surveys had proven forgeries in them. She did not question the validity of her survey, even knowing it had forgeries, because it supported her point of view.
When the proposal to change to an estimated prize amount was first brought forth, Ms. Cloud asked you to consider it, despite not receiving a single comment in favor of it. Not one person, not even a retailer or lottery employee commented in favor of this proposal. While Ms. Cloud did mention that the comments were negative, she did not say exactly how negative they were. And she has brought the proposal back again.
Ms. Cloud and Mr. Elkins have deliberately combined to make communications with the Commission harder. They have cut off some people from direct communications because they don't like the points of view espoused. They will not allow comments on proposals by e-mail to make it harder to comment on proposed rule changes. They have not even posted this round of proposed changes on their own web site in an attempt to receive fewer comments.
I work in the computer industry. I find it hard to believe that Mr. Elkins cannot find a way to accept e-mails as comments on proposals. It would be fair to require the e-mails to have a full name and return address, even though this is not a legal requirement or a regular mail requirement. If Mr. Elkins cannot keep his web site accurate and use it to disseminate proper information, and cannot find a way to incorporate current technology into the comment gathering process, then he is incompetent as a communications manager and should be fired.
I believe that Mr. Elkins is competent and could do these things if he desired. I believe that the facts show that Mr. Elkins and Ms. Cloud have deliberately conspired to run the lottery offices as their own private empires. I believe that there is no way that the core lottery players will have any faith in the Texas Lottery Commission while these two people work there. I believe that the lottery sales will continue to drop until faith is restored in the lottery office.
I do have one advantage in my predictions on lottery sales. I can say for sure that the sales will drop, because if this rule is adopted I will never buy another lottery ticket. My sales may not be much, but I am not the only person the TLC is driving away from the lottery and back to horse racing for my gambling enjoyment.
If there are any questions about this letter, or any of the points I made, please feel free to contact me. My home address, telephone number, and e-mail address (I do accept e-mails as communication) are at the top of this letter.
The Lotto Report