Saturday, June 24, 2006

Penny Wise Dollar Foolish

Many state lotteries sell instant scratch off tickets that range in prizes from a free ticket to thousands of dollars. Like most other ticket buyers, I too have shoved tickets winning minimal amounts in my glove box, console, or visor for future redemption ... in other words, for when I'm really broke and would love a cup of coffee. In Indiana, Tom H. Smith did something similar to that, and when he went to cash them in he was told they had expired. Apparently this has happened to numerous other people because Mr. Smith is now involved in a class action suit against the Indiana State Lottery Commission. So far, the Commission has spent almost $500,000 in legal fees since the case was filed in 1997, and a proposed settlement will create a $600,000 fund to resolve this and other disputes with lottery claimants. So rather than pay the man the five dollars he was entitled to from his winning ticket, the Indiana State Lottery Commission has chosen to fight it out in court and by the time it's all said and done will have cost them 1.1 million dollars in legal fees and claimant payouts. I would only think the odds of winning on any scratch off ticket in the state of Indiana now have just gone way down ... gotta pick up the loss somewhere.


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