By Beverly Gadson-Birch
Good morning all of y’all lottery players out there. Boy, have I got some news for you from a reliable source regarding the Christmas Day “Add a Play” lottery glitch.
Before I share the information with you, let’s take a look at the South Carolina lottery’s history.
According to the Daily News Service, the SC Education Lottery was approved by the voters in 2000 and ticket sales began in 2002. In addition to scratch off tickets, South Carolina currently has Pick 3, Pick 4, Palmetto Cash 5, Powerball, Mega Million and Add-a-Play. Add a play gives players an added chance of winning on the daily games.
I recall former Senator Robert Ford crisscrossing the state trying to sell voters on the benefits of a SC lottery. The naysayers said it was going to negatively impact the poor and they were right.
They said the lottery would benefit the rich. And, again they were right. The lottery was intended to provide scholarships and funds for the state’s educational system. It was also going to increase SC revenue and jobs while keeping South Carolina dollars in the state.
The lottery has become big business in the state. Practically everyone gets a bite out of the profits. Just to give you an idea, take a look at the information available on the SC Lottery web page. “In South Carolina, as of 2002, the SCEL had 3,524 retailers statewide. Retailers received a 7 % commission for scratch tickets and online sales. Roughly $23.5 million in sales commissions were paid in FY 2002.
Commissions earned in FY 2003 were $50.7 million.” That was fifteen years ago. Just imagine what the commissions are today.
According to the Daily News Service, lottery sales for 2015 were $1,401,700,000 and $1,600,384,426. That’s a whole lot of playing; so, what are the odds of a poor man winning the lottery?
Y’all do know the lottery is a game of chance and the odds of winning are slim to none, but it’s always the chance one is willing to take. And, as the lottery slogan goes “you have to be in it to win it.” Now, let’s look at what happened on Christmas Day.
The players were certainly in it, to win it! Players went to their usual lottery retailer, plunked their hard earned dollars down for a one in a million chance of winning. It was Christmas and players were feeling kind of lucky. And, so it was with my “reliable source”.
My “source” is a regular lottery player. He received three winning Holiday Cash Add-a-Play tickets for $500 each. Excitedly, he handed his tickets to the lottery retailer and was told she did not have enough money on hand. Soon others standing in line realized this must be their lucky day. The retailer paid some of the winners before saying to the other customers waiting in line “something must be wrong with the machine”. It’s paying out too much on the Add-a-Play. Oh, so now, it’s paying out too much!! Nothing is ever said when they are “losing too much”.
Lottery officials refer to the “so- called machine malfunction” as a glitch. Well, what lottery officials aren’t telling the public is during the “so-called” glitch is that not all the tickets were winners; some of the tickets printed during the same “glitch” period were losers. If the losers lost money, then the winners should have won money. Why couldn’t the “glitch” occur on the side of the loser? I am sure more players lost that day than won. If the retailers paid some of the players before the “so-called glitch” was discovered, then the others that didn’t get pay should also receive payment.
Lottery officials need to do what’s right and pay off the other winners. If some were paid; all need to be paid. There is no need for the Commission to run up millions more in legal fees. What happened is not the players’ fault. Y’all got insurance. Let your insurance company hassle it out with Intralot—the gaming equipment and technology company. The same folks who lottery officials are refusing to pay will be the same folks footing the legal fees as they fork over more money in hopes of striking it rich.
I know y’all didn’t ask me but y’all know I’se got to say it anyhow. This ain’t about no lottery law as it relates to glitches. It’s about who is on the receiving end of the “glitch”. It’s poor and minority folks who are always on the losing end. Most of the money received from the lottery are from poor folks looking to hit it big. And, y’all know who is on the other end of the money poor folk spend playing the lottery: white folk. If y’all don’t believe me just check and see how much lottery dollars go towards educating black students. Well now, a little fact history for Black History.
Y’all can “play on South Carolina” if y’all wanna; but, make sure you collect what you are owed. Pssst! By the way, Lottery officials are meeting in Columbia Wednesday morning at 10:00 AM. You might want to be there to file a grievance. I am just saying ……..