The Lotto Matrix: Virginia Lottery Protest, Stolen Debit Card Used To Buy Winning Lottery Ticket, More

Christian Holmes

lottery results roundup

Welcome to this week’s “Lotto Matrix,” a weekly Friday compilation of the lottery industry’s most significant, interesting, or absurd happenings.

Battle lines in Virginia

Upset with the powers that be for being told they can’t operate electronic skilled games, alternatively known as slot machines, convenience stores and gas station owners in Virginia have decided to protest what they see as an injustice. Sticking a middle finger to the man and saying that if they can’t operate their money-making machines, these business owners won’t sell the state’s lottery products.

The machines have proved controversial in Virginia. In 2021, a law was passed that banned the games. Business owners were displeased. After all, these machines account for a good chunk of their profits and help support staff and payroll. Eventually, a group of business owners challenged the ban and the matter reached the Virginia Supreme Court, where the court reinstated the ban. Confusion has followed about how exactly the ban would be enforced, and where.

Fast-forward to the present day. Gov. Glenn Youngkin is set to make skill games legal through amended legislation. However, small business owners are viewing the amendments as a “slap in the face” because the rules are so strict that to the store owners, the amendments would constitute an effective ban, because they would prohibit the machines within 35 miles of a casino or Rosie’s Gaming Emporium, or within a half mile of any church, daycare, or school.

“And that basically eliminates 60% of the geographical area or just about 80% of the businesses and 90% of the population that does not get access to the skill games,” Dharmendra Patel told WDBJ7.

Further, state taxes on revenues would increase from 25% to 35%.

“Basically, he [the governor] has killed the skill games bill by default,” Patel said. “This [bill] is really critical for our survival. I can pretty much guarantee you that a lot of the stores will be closing down if the skill games [legislation] doesn’t make it through.”

What does not selling lottery products do to send a message to the state, especially if lottery sales make up a good portion of these small businesses’ revenue? Although that’s true, most of the money goes to the state. The state loses its distributors by not selling the products, and the operation halts.

By refusing to sell any tickets on Monday and Tuesday, store owners hoped the General Assembly would reconsider the skill games legislation.

“I hope it sends a message to the governor, considering he told us before that he does support us,” Raj Patel said. “Now, I think this is our only option to do this, and hopefully, he does see it and sees the impact we can create.”

In response to Monday’s protest, Youngkin’s office issued a statement.

“The governor supports small business owners having access to skill games, and his proposed legislative amendments, stemming from discussions with a bipartisan group of members and dozens of outside stakeholders, would establish an important regulatory framework, enhance consumer and public safety protections, and grant localities and Virginians a voice,” said press secretary Christian Martinez.

Stolen debit card buys a big winner 

Joshua Addyman’s debit card was stolen back in 2019. The thieves who stole his card used the details to buy a lottery ticket, of all things. Go figure, the ticket the goons bought with the card won £4million. Now, Addyman wants to know if he’s entitled to the loot.

Of course, if Addyman is asking for his share, that means they caught the perps. Heck yeah, the goons couldn’t evade detection for long. Before they were ID’d, the perps had to have a little fun. After finding out they won the money, Jon-Ross Watson and Mark Goodram went on a five-day bender. When they went to claim the ticket, they weren’t thinking things through.

After they allegedly told lottery officials they didn’t have bank accounts, the lottery provider Camelot investigated the win. Things looked and sounded suspicious. The initial story was that their friend bought them the ticket with his card, and they wished to remain anonymous. Local police got involved, saw the individuals’ rap sheets, and put the pieces of the puzzle together. When they found out that the card used to buy the ticket was stolen, things escalated.

Addyman told The Sun: “If I got any of it [the £4 million], that would be brilliant. No one ever told me it was because someone won £4 million. I’ve had my card stolen before, I was like ‘why is this such a big deal?’ No one ever explained it to me. If it was about people winning £4 million on my card, I would have been interested to see what happens to these people.”

A police spokesperson said: “We conducted a full investigation into a case of fraud by false misrepresentation, which resulted in two men receiving custodial sentences. We provided the victim with appropriate updates and information that protected the integrity of the investigation and helped ensure the offenders were brought to justice.”

A spokesperson for lottery operator Allwyn said Addyman didn’t have any claim to the money, given that the ticket was purchased fraudulently:

“There has been no reason for us to contact him as he is not the owner of the ticket and he has not contacted us. The prize in question will be paid to National Lottery Good Causes after the expiry of the statutory limitation period starting from the end of the prize claim period for the relevant scratch card game.”

All’s well that ends with a good cause?

The agony of waiting 

A Michigan man had the shock of a lifetime recently when he won $150k. Brian Ellsworth, from Jackson, is now “giddy” about claiming his Powerball prize, which he won after buying tickets at a Save Time store on April 3.

“When I took the tickets to the store a few days later to check them, one of them came up with a message to file a claim at the lottery office. I had never seen that message before, so I wasn’t sure what it meant,” Ellsworth told lottery officials. “I scanned it a few more times and then finally asked the clerk what was going on. She scanned the ticket and told me I was a big winner!”

The win would’ve normally been $50k, but Ellsworth chose the Power Play option, which tripled his winnings to $150k. 

“It has been the longest week of my life holding onto this ticket, so I feel giddy to be at the lottery office claiming my prize!” he said. “Winning is going to make life easier for me and my wife.”

Ellsworth plans to spend the money on a nice travel trailer and some home repairs and pocket the rest.

Best of The Rest

New hires:

Texas Lottery Appoints Ryan Mindell to Executive Director

Ticking away: Time running out to pass gaming bill in Alabama.

Slam dunk: Jontay Porter punishment gets us no closer to knowing if leagues are truly tough on gambling.

Rewarding greatness: DeWitt teacher wins Michigan Lottery award.

NeoGames in the spotlight: NeoGames’ Christopher Shaban appointed Managing Director iLottery

Check the prize box and see you next week!