There has been growing national media interest about the integrity of some who sell lottery tickets—not about the lottery organizations themselves but the actual individuals who work at/or own a retailer location.
While it appears that a very small number of U.S. lottery retailers may have committed wrongdoing, the Tennessee Education Lottery welcomes this attention as another way to raise player awareness and to help serve as a warning to any retailer who might consider taking advantage of a player.
While the media interest is fairly recent, many lotteries—including Tennessee’s—have been working for years to prevent retailer infractions that could impact players. After all, if a player doesn’t believe he or she had a fair chance of winning a prize, it would make the mission of raising millions of dollars for important causes impossible.
Fortunately, as a relatively new lottery, Tennessee’s investigations have revealed a low level of fraud and/or other wrongdoing. In fact, as of the last week in April, the TEL had taken action against one retailer for requiring tips to cash tickets and another for purchasing tickets from customers for less than face value and then redeeming them at the lottery for the full amount. In addition there are four appeal hearings pending related to the same issues.
That said, the TEL has several strategies in place to guard against this type of activity:
Raise Player Awareness: It’s important for those who play lottery games to be aware of a few tips, which the TEL posts in the form of a “Players Checklist” on its website and at retailer locations.
Things to know include:
• Sign the back of a ticket immediately after purchase.
• Listen while your ticket is being validated. If your ticket is a winner in Tennessee, the retailer terminal will play one of three musical tunes.
• Check your ticket before leaving the store to make sure you have the correct ticket or replacement ticket.
• When a retailer validates your ticket, watch the screen at the top of the terminal for important information.
• Ask your retailer for a copy of the validation receipt after cashing your ticket.
• Consider checking online (drawing-style) tickets yourself –it’s easy. Find winning numbers at www.tnlottery.com or call TEL Player Services at 1-877-786-7529 or in the Metro Nashville area, 254-4946.
Ongoing Monitoring and Investigating: To ensure the highest degree of integrity by its retailers, the TEL developed Consumer Protection Procedures to document, communicate and assist in the resolution of complaints concerning retailers. These procedures are available on our website under About Us at www.tnlottery.com
In addition to investigating calls from players, TEL Security and Sales divisions monitor all retailer operations and prize claims on an ongoing basis to look out for any inappropriate business activity. The TEL Prize Claim Form contains a question to determine if the prize winner is a retailer or a clerk at the retailer’s establishment, and the TEL cross-references that information against its retailer database.
The TEL also relies on support from those outside our offices. If you have a suspicion or complaint about a TEL Lottery retailer, please call Player Services at 1-877-786-7529 or in the Metro Nashville area, 254-4946. In order to follow-up on your call, you must provide as much information as possible, such as the retailer location, time of incident, name of clerk, etc.
Protecting players and strengthening partnerships with its network of more than 4,700 retailers is just one way the Tennessee Lottery has generated over $1.4 billion for education programs.
The organization is committed to continuing these efforts and helping to create a brighter future for education in Tennessee.
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