The Lotto Matrix: New Jersey Happenings, Pennsylvania Payout Delays, Georgia Scandal, And More

Christian Holmes

lottery matrix

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

Jersey jostling

A bill in New Jersey allowing lottery players to submit prize claims online has reached the next step of the legislative process. The Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee unanimously voted to push Assembly Bill A3270 to the Appropriations Committee. 

Currently, if New Jersey Lottery players win $600 or more, they must fill out a claims form, either by printing the forms off the lottery’s website and mailing them to the lottery or delivering the papers to one of the state’s lottery headquarters, to have their winning item verified and receive the funds through the mail in the form of a check. Bill 3270 would allow players to receive their funds electronically via their smartphones, computers, and other devices with wireless communications. If they choose, the money could be funded directly to their bank accounts. 

For added context, New Jersey lawmakers have been strongly pushing for the legalization and regulation of iLottery in the state. The legislature passed a bill in 2022 that would allow for the launch of iLottery services in the fall of this year. Meanwhile, Assembly Bill 3759 by Rep. Sterley Stanley (D) was introduced in February and as written, it proposes that the lottery commission not be allowed to operate iLottery services. However, the bill has remained in the State and Local Government Committee since its introduction.

Assembly Bill A3270 opens the door for further implementation of digital services because the digital infrastructure is already in place to build on. Stay tuned.

Pennsylvania Lottery experiencing technical issues

Due to a change in its computer system, the Pennsylvania Lottery is experiencing delays in paying out player’s winnings. 

The Lottery told the media that while switching to the new computer system earlier this year, they backlogged prize payouts by placing a hold on claims made during a certain set of dates. To rectify the holds, the Lottery’s staff is “now working overtime to move every claim that was on hold through the pipeline as quickly as possible.”

According to lottery officials, the upgrades included vending equipment, improved technology, and new features to “improve the Lottery playing experience.”

“We have made significant progress in recent weeks, and we expect that we will return to our normal processing timeline (four to six weeks) in the very near future,” said a Lottery spokesperson on Monday.

Caught red-handed

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said an inspector with the Georgia Lottery Corporation has allegedly allowed stores to pay him under-the-table bribes in exchange for passing their inspections.

The inspector’s name is Michael Jerome Kessler Sr. As of this writing, the GBI is convinced at least three stores with coin-operated machines regulated by the Lottery Corporation agreed to side deals with the inspector.

Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Mark Winne discovered documents which say Kessler is charged with bribery for accepting three $2,000 payments. “Each document references a different location for those stores,” Channel 2 reports. 

“Integrity is the bedrock of the Lottery and its mission, by the way. Essentially, people are making bets. They’re gambling when they’re using machines across the state or when they are betting on any other activities that we allow in Georgia, and we don’t want a criminal element to seep into that,” said state Senator Emanuel Jones, who is part of the Georgia Lottery Commission and lives in Henry County where Kessler is alleged to have taken bribes.

The Lottery spokesperson said that “employees are held to the highest standard to ensure that we achieve our important mission of maximizing revenues for HOPE and Pre-K.”

According to Channel 2’s reporting, GBI agents searched Kessler’s Rockdale County home last Monday. Henry County Jail records also show he was booked on Wednesday of last week.

Scientific Games names new chief communications and brand officer

Scientific Games introduced Beth Bresnahan as its new chief communications and brand officer on Tuesday.

Before her promotion, Bresnahan was the company’s vice president of strategic communications. In the newly created senior executive position that “elevates strategic oversight of Scientific Games’ global communications, ensuring a unified and consistent voice and a strong representation of the company’s brand across all platforms and mediums.”

Bresnahan’s resume includes nearly a decade in leadership positions in the lottery sector. Her biggest role of note is serving as the executive director of the Massachusetts Lottery. She also was the executive director of the District of Columbia’s Office of Lottery & Gaming, and has worked in public relations as CEO of the Essex Media Group in Lynn, Massachusetts.

“This promotion will come as no surprise to those who know and have worked with Beth,” said Scientific Games CEO Pat McHugh in a statement. “Her strategic vision, extensive experience in brand communications and deep knowledge of Scientific Games and the lottery industry have earned her the respect and support of our entire company and leadership team.”

Best of the rest

All-time best: Lottery player makes history, wins state’s largest online jackpot worth $7.19M

Uptick in scams: iGaming Fraud Increased 64% YoY

She’s cursed: Florida mom’s lottery win turned to ‘absolute nightmare’ after the state snatched her winnings

A good start: DC Lottery hails FanDuel success as revenue tops $5.0m in opening 30 days

Time to regroup: outlines growth plan after Q1 losses

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!