Two Des Moines law firms have joined forces and filed the first class action lawsuit against the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) over the alleged rigging of lottery games in Iowa and other states.
The lottery association helps run multi-state lottery games and its information technology security director, Eddie Tipton, was found guilty of rigging a Hot Lotto drawing in Iowa and is accused of rigging the software of several games in other states. Nick Mauro of Crawford and Mauro is one of the attorneys in the case.
“We’re hoping to bring some justice to the people who paid money to play in these rigged games — and feel like if played in a game that was rigged — you deserve your money back. Plain and simple,” Mauro says. Mauro’s firm is working with Dickey & Campbell law firm.
Dale Culler of Burlington purchased $45 worth of tickets for the Iowa Hot Lotto game which was ultimately determined to be rigged. Mauro is representing Culler and says they hope to find others who also bought tickets and lost out.
“It’s one of the challenges in this case, and I think the first step is determining just exactly which games were affected by the rigged number generators that were used.
And once you identify each of the games you can set up the class so that if you played for example, the December 29th 2010 Hot Lotto — the game Mr. Tipton was convicted of rigging — you are part of that class,” according to Mauro. Many people throw out their tickets after learning they haven’t won, but he says there are other ways to determine if you played in the rigged games.
“If you sent your ticket in for a second-chance drawing or simply by a sworn statement under oath through affidavit, we should be able to identify pretty easily just how many tickets were bought for each particular game,” Mauro says. “We should be able to narrow it down too to where they were purchased. I assume they keep those numbers. For example, if you bought your ticket at a Kum & Go at a certain location, that data’s got to be available somewhere.”
Getting that information could be a key part of the case. “The first step of course will be for the Multi-State Lottery Association to have a chance to respond and I am sure will try to defend the allegations, and we’ll go through that process,” Mauro says. “I think the next step will be to identify which games. We should be able to identify, and the public should know just which games were rigged.”
Mauro says while Tipton was acting on his own, the organization should have been able to catch him before he rigged the lotteries. “There should be, and we should expect zero tolerance on the lotteries themselves through their vendors or through their own employees of manipulating the games,” according to Mauro. “It is a duty that they have and a duty that they did not follow through on and as a result we have years of contents that apparently were not on the up and up.”
The lawsuit goes back to a rigged drawing in Colorado beginning in 2005, and also cites three drawings in Wisconsin, one in Kansas and Oklahoma as others that Tipton is believed to be involved in, as well “additional rigged contests as yet to be determined.”
Tipton was convicted on July 20th, 2015 of tampering with lottery equipment related to the December 29, 2010, Hot Lotto drawing and faces criminal charges for the other drawings.
Here’s the filing from the lawsuit: MUSL lawsuit PDF