Two Major Issues With The Texas Scratch Ticket - Willy Wonka - Golden Ticket ... The Ticket Appeals To Children & How Can They Pay A $1 Billion Prize?

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The Lotto Report

Originally Posted: April 10, 2017
Revised: April 11, 2017 - 9 PM
Sharing your comments, thoughts, fears & solutions to the
Willy Wonka Story, click here or scroll down to bottom of page -


The Willy Wonka - Golden Ticket Promotes A "Chance"
to Win $1 Billion.
But can they fund $1 Billion?


Editorial & Opinions by Dawn Nettles


Comments? Email me


First Major Issue ...

This Scratch Ticket Clearly Appeals and Targets Children
A Real No-No ...

About Public Policy ...
Do ya'll remember when the Texas Lottery was forced by the legislature to "get rid" "of Scratchman in 1997 amid much controversy. The reason, our elected officials made it very clear to the Texas Lottery that they were NOT allowed to design and create games that would appeal or target children. So the TLC quietly did away with Scratchman - he suddenly disappeared. Poof!

Then years later, the TLC pushed their limits again with the TX Legislature by selecting the Flintstone scratch ticket from their selection of tickets to sell. But the Legislature forced them to pull this game too. The design definitely appealed to children and was a no-no. I often wondered how much of the states profits were lost but never bothered to find out.

The TLC has continued to push the limits and have actually gotten away with other games that definitely appealed to children. One would have to assume that "money" was a motivating factor for the legislature to overlook these other games.

Then on March 20, 2017, the Texas Lottery introduced a new $10 scratch ticket titled Willy Wonka - The Golden Ticket. Of course, we all remember that Willy Wonka was a fictional character in Roald Dahl's 1964 children's novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which later became a movie. The movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, became a classic. Children love it and it still airs on TV - in fact, it's aired at least twice in the last 10 days in the Dallas area. To me, this means that it has enough viewers - it's profitable for them!

If by chance you've never seen the movie nor read the book - the story line is that Willie Wonka owns a chocolate factory and it's time for him to retire. So he needs to find someone he can trust to take over the factory. He comes up with a genius plan ... he distributes thousands upon thousands of chocolate candy bars and five (5) of those candy bars contains a "golden ticket" inside the wrapper. Whoever finds the five golden tickets, wins a tour of the chocolate factory which was a fantastic prize because no one had ever been allowed to come inside. There would also be another "unknown" prize - which was ownership of the chocolate factory. Children from all over bought up the candy bars in hopes that they would find a "golden ticket" inside.

By offering this game - the TLC has once again shown total disregard to policies set by the Texas Legislature. It needs to be pulled, but for two reasons - in my opinion - which I will explain.

When I saw and heard about this ticket, I went in search of the unknowns but I couldn't find answers. So I asked the Texas Lottery. Below is a copy and paste of my questions and the TLC's response. I want to start this story by giving you these facts first ...


Copy and Paste of Email Sent to Texas Lottery.
My questions are in BLACK,
Ms. Cripe's (TLC's)
responses are in RED.



I've received numerous calls referencing the second chance drawings among other inquiries referencing the ticket. I've read what's posted on the TLC website but I can't find answers to the questions put before me. The info posted seems vague unless I'm missing something somewhere.

My understanding and questions are:

1) Will TX draw 5 names in each of the 4 draws and each winner wins a trip to Vegas?

There will be five winners in each of the four drawings for a total of 20 prizewinners. Each prizewinner and one guest wins a trip to Las Vegas. The prizewinner shall have one chance to participate in the Billion Dollar Challenge™.

2) Is this all - a total of 20 winners? The are no other low tier winners?

See answer to #1.

3) The cash prizes referenced - is this won only in Vegas?

The Prizewinner shall have one chance to participate in the BILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE™ for a chance to win a cash prize from one thousand dollars ($1,000) up to one billion dollars ($1,000,000,000).

4) How much are the cash prizes? And what does one do to win these cash prizes?

See answer to #3. Prizewinners will be mailed the official, detailed rules of the BILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE™ prior to their trip departure. The BILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE™ is administered by MDI Entertainment, LLC and Scientific Games International, Inc. Any questions regarding the BILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE™, including questions regarding the assignment of proxies, prize payments, and tax liability or withholding for cash prizes, should be directed to MDI Entertainment, LLC at 1-800-201-0108. Participation in the BILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE™ may be subject to other local, state, and federal laws, including the laws of the State of Nevada.

5) Chance to win $1 Billion - what does one have to do to win the $1 billion?

Prizewinners will be mailed the official, detailed rules of the BILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE™ prior to their trip departure. The BILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE™ is administered by MDI Entertainment, LLC and Scientific Games International, Inc. Any questions regarding the BILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE™, including questions regarding the assignment of proxies, prize payments, and tax liability or withholding for cash prizes, should be directed to MDI Entertainment, LLC at 1-800-201-0108. Participation in the BILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE™ may be subject to other local, state, and federal laws, including the laws of the State of Nevada.

6) "Participating lottery jurisdictions?" Is this a multi state scratch ticket?

Yes, this is a multi-state scratch game. In addition to Texas, Scientific Games (SGI) anticipates 9 – 11 additional states launching over the next several months.

7) How many states are involved?

Not all states have officially announced the game, but it is anticipated there will be 10-12, which includes Texas.

8) How many tickets have been printed all total? (Including the other states)

SGI anticipates a little more than 60 million tickets will be printed over the next several months.

9) How many people will actually be eligible to win $1 billion? The press release and posting implies or leads one to think it's only a total of 20 winners.

The Texas Lottery will be sending 20 prizewinners and they will get to participate together with prizewinners from other participating lottery jurisdictions in the BILLION DOLLAR CHALLENGE™.

10) Is the bar code to scan into phones to enter the second chance drawing the same bar code used by retailers to validate tickets?

When a player is using the Texas Lottery app to enter a promotional second chance drawing, they scan the barcode found on the front of the ticket. This game has two barcodes on the front. The “ENTRY BARCODE” in the lower right hand corner on the front of the ticket is a repeat of the validation barcode – i.e. both barcodes are the same.

I will most likely have more questions when these questions are answered.

If by chance I've missed these details on the TLC web site, then please send me a link.



Second Major Issue ...

At the time I asked my questions, I had not reviewed the financial aspect of the game ...
But I have now. And I've concluded that to fund a $1 billion prize should be impossible.

Here's why.

In Texas, they printed 9,676,300 tickets. At $10 each, and if all tickets are sold, sales would total $96,763,000.

Of the 9.6 million tickets printed, 2,798,870 are winning tickets. If the money from all winning tickets are actually collected by players, the prize payout for the INSTANT tickets would be $67,786,660 (70%).

In the Second Chance drawing, the prize value of the Las Vegas trip is *$7,496.67. This would make a total prize expense of $149,933.40 for the twenty winners. In the end of production prize structure, the TLC increased the total payout expense to $67,936,593 to include the $149K to fund the Las Vegas prizes. Interestingly, there's no money included in the prize pool for any other prizes.

With a 70% prize payount, this leaves the Texas Lottery 30% of total sales to pay expenses - 7% operating cost, 5% to retailers. The School Foundation Fund receives whatever is left over which should be approximately 18% of total sales. (Not included here are the costs to Warner Bros for using their name.)

Even IF 10 other states are participating, each state would have a similar prize structure. And, if they print 60 million tickets all total like Ms. Cripe said, then total sales would only equal $600 million which is $400 million short of $1 billion. Hmmm ...

Based on these facts, how on earth could the TLC fund $1 billion in a Second Chance drawing? Why isn't the money to fund a billion dollars included in the prize pool? Where's the money to fund $1 billion????

To confirm the figures above, see the official Willy Wonka prize structure, Excel format. Click here.
To see a break down of all prizes offered on Willy Wonka, see game #1834 on this report. Excel format. Click here.

I wonder, are they advertising a fake prize amount? Or maybe, just maybe, they have alternate facts not known to us! <grin>

*Federal Withholding tax of $1,871.67 is included

Licensed property games
Speaking of money, budgets and what they can afford to pay in prizes, the Willy Wonka game is called a "Licensed Property" game. Meaning that they are paying to use the "Willy Wonka, The Golden Ticket" name. Most of you are completely unaware that generally speaking, the money to pay for Licensed Property games comes from the players prize money meaning they really aren't paying the percentage quoted to players. There's been a lot of these games - past and present - a few examples include the Harley Davidson, Cowboys, Houston Oilers, etc. The lottery pays these organizations/companies to use their names.

We really should find out how much is being paid to Warner Bros.and where does that money come from to pay them. Which pool of money includes their share of sales?

About the questions I asked the TLC .... What's said and what's not said ....

The ticket makes it very clear that there will be four (4) second chance drawings to win a trip to Las Vegas. It's also very clear that players have an opportunity to play in a "Billion dollar challenge."

The ticket does not say that they will only draw 5 names in each drawing which is NOT what players expect when entering Second Chance drawings. Players believe there will be hundreds of winners and prizes. It is important to note that to enter these drawing, one has to have an account. When players use either their phone or their computer to enter Second Chance drawings, they just click on "Enter" then "Log In." They do not click on "Game details" - players think they already know the details.

(Here's just a few examples of other "second chance drawings" showing these drawings generally awards hundreds of prizes ... click here, click here, click here)

The Willy Wonka ticket says players have a chance to win "UP to $1 billion" but no other winnable prize amounts are given. Nor are the prize amounts shown on the TLC website.

What do players have to do to win $1 billion? It is NOT explained on the ticket nor is it on the TLC website. And Ms. Cripe wouldn't tell me - rather she said I'd have to contact MDI and/or Sci Games for details. Does this mean the Texas Lottery is selling a game and telling players they have a "chance to win $1 billion" but they don't know what players will have to do to win it? Will we have to kill someone? Run around naked? Eat poison? Answer questions where only doctors or lawyers would know the answers?

Clearly, the Texas Lottery knows. If not, then they should be put out of business. Players (consumers) have a right to know what they have to do for a chance to win $1 billion or any other prize for that matter.

The ticket says nothing about it being a "multi state" game. The TLC website mentions, "Participating lottery jurisdictions" but I don't think players really know what this means. Can you believe, they are selling a scratch game but failed to disclose it's a multi state game? I think this is a rather important detail for players to know.

The TLC can NOT confirm how many other states will be participating. So how can Texas promote a "chance to win $1 billion." Where's the money to fund $1 billion?

Most all states have "public policies" too. I wonder how many states have specifically told their lotteries NOT to design games that appeal to children?

Finally, the Texas Lottery is REQUIRED to quote the odds of winning prizes on any and all games they sell. But they haven't given you the odds of winning the $1 billion prize because they say they don't know how many states will be participating. Go figure!

What's the real motive with this ticket?

Could it be a way to get players to download the TLC app?

On the face of the Willy Wonka ticket, it tells you to use the Texas Lottery app to scan the entry barcode for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas and a chance to win $1 billion. It "appears" using the TLC app is the only way to enter for a chance to win these prizes. But this not true.

If you read the back of the ticket, there's 4 extra little words NOT found on the front of the ticket. Those 4 words say "Or enter at" It appears to me that they are trying to trick/entice players into downloading the TLC app to their cell phones to give the TLC a chance to learn more about YOU.

If you accept their app on your cell phone, the TLC can SPY on you. You give them a right to obtain your PERSONAL info - this is in the agreement you sign before they allow you to download their app. Now do understand, this is my personal opinion and that of many other players I've spoken to.

Is there really a $1 Billion prize?

I don'tknow for sure but based on the prize structure and the heavily used word, "chance," I seriously question the validity of the $1 billion prize. I don't see how it's humanly possible - someone needs to explain to me so I can explain it to you. This actually reminds me of the "inflated Lotto TX jackpot" in 2005. The TX Lottery advertised a jackpot amount that they could not fund. They finally confessed that I was right and the jackpot couldn't have been funded if won.

What I plan to do ...
I'm going to complain to my elected officials. The ticket clearly appeals and targets children and teenagers. Secondly, I think the legislature should get answers that I didn't get. Such as ... how does one win $1 billion, where will the money come from to fund $1 billion and how much is being paid to Warner Bros.

Then I'm going to ask the AG or the State Auditors to confirm that consumers "really" have a chance to win $1 billion. I can't see where this is possible.

Should any of you do the same, and if you get answers, please share them with me. OK? To find your state elected officials, click here.

Comments? Email me


- Posted April 11, 2017 - PM - After posting the original story -
- Sharing Your Comments, Thoughts, Fears & Solutions to the Willy Wonka Story -

WOW - I never anticipated a response from ya'll like the one I received yesterday. Which brings me to stop everything so I can share your comments. I'll keep this posting short and direct. There were three (3) major issues among commenters that were brought to my attention. They are ....

1) Thoughts and possible solutions to "can they fund $1 billion" ...
It was suggested to me that there WAS a way to fund $1 billion. Before I go any further, this tidbit did NOT come from the Texas Lottery. But it did come from my "smart" friends!

It is possible that Warner Bros and Sci Games "could" purchase an insurance policy to cover the very remote chance of someone winning a billion dollars. Now having said this, can you imagine the costs to purchase insurance to pay $1 billion? <grin>

What a total waste of taxpayer money should this be their plan. Do understand, we are speculating here!

I do know that insurance coverage is purchased to cover major liabilities that lotteries and their vendors could encounter. Such as the Fun 5's lawsuit, the rigged drawing incident (Eddie Tipton case), printing errors and the such. But I don't know of any cases where an insurance company covered an intentional liability!

As for promoting "a chance to win a billion dollars" and paying God knows how much for insurance to fund, if by chance, it is accidentally won, well, I personally think this is going entirely too far. Enticing consumers to overspend to chase a far fetched dream is wrong. Truth be known, they most likely KNOW there will be NO billion dollar payout. It is a fact that lotteries do NOT have to adhere to consumer protection laws so they can conceivably get away with anything. I even question the "$1000 UP to $1 billion" prizes Ms. Cripe alluded to as there is NO money allocated in the prize pool for any other prizes.

2) Thoughts and fears pertaining to a potential announcement that someone won a "$1 billion prize" ....
Now comes Texas HB 59 (on this webpage, you can choose to read the history, text, actions etc). IF House Bill 59 IS passed - it would allow lottery winners to remain anonymous. This means the Texas Lottery could conceivably claim there was a winner when there really was no winner. The Texas Lottery would never have to disclose details or prove a win. WHOA - this is horrible.

I pray YOU will all call your legislator and oppose the passing of this bill IMMEDIATELY. Say NO to HB59.

I realize that some of you think this would be a good thing but there's nothing good about allowing winners to remain anonymous. Truth is, no harm will come to a winner IF he simply keeps his mouth shut about winning! Players are allowed to collect their prizes in a trust which can shield them from publicity. The Houston Chronicle ran a story on this very issue yesterday. Click here to read it.

3) Remembering the Monopoly game where the TLC reneged on Las Vegas trips won by players with a chance to win $1 million ....
Yes, I did think about the Monopoly game when I posted the details of the Willy Wonka Second Chance drawing. Like winning the second chance drawing in the Monopoly game, players would win a trip to Las Vegas in the Wonka game too. As we all know, the Monopoly winners did not receive their prizes as promised - the Texas Lottery reneged after announcing who the winners were.

It was truly a wake up call to hear your comments, memories, distrust and distaste for the Texas Lottery pertaining to them offering a similar prize in the Wonka game.

For those of you with no knowledge of what happened with the Monopoly Second Chance drawing or just want a refresher of how badly the Texas Lottery treated Texans in that Second Chance drawing, here are the links to various stories. I would suggest that you read the 4 editorials posted in Jan 2015.

- Monopoly Millionaires Club -
- Texas Players Jilted -
4 Separate Editorials - Jan 5, 9, 14, 23, 2015, Click here
Past Monopoly Drawing Results, Click here
Hoosier Lottery Losing Money (So is Texas), Click here
Official Game Rule (As of Oct 29, 2014) (word), click here
MMC Audience Selections Procedures, click here (pdf)

Future participating states - Click here (pdf)
Draw Sales by State, Click here

Comments? Email me


Willy Wonka - The Golden Ticket -
The Update Page - Click here


Meet the $1 Billion Willy Wonka winner.
Another Dallas Morning News, Dave Lieber story -
everyone should read this one!
Posted 12/15/18 - Click here


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