Mass. Lottery Faulted in Inspector General Investigation

Massachusetts Inspector General Gregory Sullivan has released the findings of an investigation into the now-discontinued State Lottery’s Cash Winfall game. And he’s blaming state officials for allowing savvy gamblers to make a killing on the game. New England Public Radio’s Adam Frenier reports.


The game featured a so-called roll-down provision. If players failed to correctly match all six numbers drawn for several drawings in a row, the jackpot would grow. Once it reached two-million-dollars, the money would roll down, boosting the value of consolation prizes for picking fewer than six correct numbers. The syndicates jumped on the consolation rolldowns, purchasing thousands of dollars worth of tickets, improving their odds of winning.


The Inspector General’s report says Lottery officials not only knew about what the groups of gamblers were doing, officials bent rules to make it easier for them to purchase tickets: Daily sales limits were routinely waived, Lottery Agents where the syndicates were based were given additional terminals to sell tickets and gamblers were allowed to operate machines themselves.


The investigation did find no criminal wrongdoing by Lottery employees and despite the loophole, all players did enjoy the same odds of winning. Massachusetts Treasurer Steven Grossman oversees the Lottery. He says rules regarding how many tickets can be sold at a location in a day are among others which are now strictly enforced. He calls the entire episode a “teachable moment”.


“We brought in all of our lottery sales representatives from all over the state. We let them know that we do things by the book. We let them know what the rules and regulations are and must be. They’ve got to be implemented fairly, across the board, everywhere.”

The Lottery saw a profit of more than 980 million dollars last year. For New England Public Radio, I’m Adam Frenier.