Lincoln retailers pass integrity test in lottery ‘sting’ operations
Kentucky Lottery news release
Retailers in Lincoln County recently underwent security investigations by Kentucky Lottery staff to ensure players are being paid for winning tickets.
Lincoln was part of a four-county “sting” operation carried out by the Kentucky Lottery, with Boyle, Garrard and Rockcastle Counties also investigated. All the retailers who underwent what the Lottery referred to as integrity testing, including those in Lincoln, passed the investigation.
The program’s goal was to determine if store clerks were following procedures for cashing winning tickets. During the investigation, undercover Lottery security personnel presented clerks with tickets that appeared to be winners into the thousands of dollars. Special tickets were produced by the Lottery’s instant ticket provider (Scientific Games) for the operation.
“When the tickets were presented, security personnel told the clerks he or she didn’t know if any of the tickets were winners,” said the Kentucky Lottery’s Senior Vice President of Security Bill Hickerson. “It was up to the clerks to scan the tickets to see if they were indeed winners.”
The Integrity Testing Program, first started in 2011, has resulted in seven Grand Jury indictments handed down against retailers in Louisville and Lexington. Each was charged with state lottery fraud, a Class B felony which carries a term of 10 to 20 years in prison. Hickerson says any retailer who failed the recently conducted tests would have faced penalties ranging from loss of employment, license termination and possible criminal prosecution.
The integrity testing in Lincoln, Boyle, Garrard and Rockcastle Counties took place “in the past few weeks,” according to Hickerson. He said due to the ongoing nature of the operation, the names of the retailers investigated, specific dates when the testing took place and other details will not be released.
“I’m happy to report the positive findings in Boyle, Garrard, Lincoln and Rockcastle Counties, as I continue to believe the overwhelming majority of our retailers and their clerks are honest in their dealings with our players,” said KLC President and CEO Tom Delacenserie. “We want players to know that we’re looking out for their best interests – And we want retailers to know we’re on the lookout for those who aren’t following the law.”
“There is a low-tech way and a high-tech way for players to always protect themselves whenever they have a winning ticket,” he said. “When at a retailer, players should always sign the back of any tickets before they hand them over to be checked. Also, there are scanners at nearly all of our retail locations which allow you to scan a ticket to see if it’s a winner without ever having to hand it over to anyone.”
Delacenserie added that the Kentucky Lottery smartphone app allows players to scan tickets with their phones to see if a prize has been won.
Players are encouraged to contact the Kentucky Lottery’s security department through their Fraud Watch program if they feel they may have not been properly paid a prize. Information can be submitted by phone at (502) 560-1813 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We have the ability through our computer systems to quickly look at any single transaction. This allows us to investigate any activity on a ticket to determine what happened at the terminal during a transaction,” said Hickerson.
Delacenserie said the Integrity Testing Program is continuing.
“If these results had not been positive, we would be taking steps to enforce consequences on retailers who keep winning tickets,” he said. “These tests continue to be performed across the Commonwealth, as we want players to be confident their experience at a retailer will be a positive one.”
The Kentucky Lottery has earned over $5.4 billion for the Commonwealth since 1989. KLC dividends pay for college scholarships, grants and education programs. Visit kheaa.com to find out more about grants and scholarships paid for by the KLC.