State lawmakers are wading into a dispute involving the integrity of the Iowa lottery. The threat of legal action has subsided, but lawmakers promise legislation to protect lottery players from fraud. State Ombudsman William Angrick warned of a subpoena if the lottery did not open its consumer complaint files.
The ombudsman is investigating the lottery after a probe unveiled widespread retailer fraud in the Canadian lottery. The ombudsman now says he’s been assured of fairly unfettered access to the files.
Acting Lottery chief Ken Brickman agreed. "We agree in substance on how we can proceed to move this inquiry along," Brickman said. "(Angrick’s) staff will begin their work on Monday." But lawmakers said regardless of the outcome of the probe, they want better safeguards to prevent retailers from telling customers they did not win, then claiming the prizes themselves.
Dubuque Democratic Senator Mike Connolly said he’ll offer legislation to require a printed receipt showing a consumer in writing if he had a winning ticket or not. "We should be able to assure the consumers that they won or they didn’t win," Connolly said. "They should not have to rely on the vendor’s word."
But, Iowa Lottery Vice-President Mary Lottery says in the end, it’s the lottery player’s responsibility to make sure whether or not he or she has a winning ticket.
"Quite frankly Senator, people shouldn’t just be relying on the clerk to scan the ticket and tell them whether or not they are a winner. In fact, it is the customer’s responsibility in any retail environment – despite any amount of reminders or safeguards put in place – to take the responsibility to verify a transaction," Neubauer said during testimony before a statehouse committee Wednesday.