Lawsuit Aims To Refund Thousands Over Rigged Games

Friday January 6th 2017

A lawsuit has been filed to try and reimburse hundreds of thousands of lottery players in the wake of the Eddie Tipton scandal, on the basis that ticket holders never had a chance of winning if certain draws were rigged.

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Tipton was found guilty in July 2015 of tampering with computer equipment whilst he was employed by the Multi-State lottery Association (MUSL), so that he could fix the results of a Hot Lotto game in December 2010 in order to win himself. The investigation was later expanded to other states and drawings as more information came to light, and a new consumer fraud case has now begun in Iowa.

The plaintiff is insurance salesman Dale Culler, who kept the $45 in tickets that he bought for the drawing in December 2010. The lawsuit is seeking class action status, with Culler the representative for everyone who bought tickets for games that were allegedly rigged by Tipton.

“While I know the odds aren’t great, I never expected that the games were fixed and my chances were zero,” said 53-year-old Culler in a statement. The lawsuit argues that all the players who lost money should receive a refund plus interest, and attorneys for Culler say those who did not keep their tickets but give a statement swearing they participated should be allowed to join the class.

The MUSL fired Tipton after his arrest and has insisted he acted alone, but the lawsuit will ask a judge to find the association liable for the rigged games before certifying the group as a class later. It is the first potential class action to come about as a result of the scandal, although another case involving financial planner Larry Dawson has also moved forward. Dawson won a $9 million jackpot in January 2011 but argued that his prize would have been worth $25.5 million had the earlier game not been rigged.

It will be fascinating to see how both cases develop, as the aftershocks of the scandal continue to affect lottery officials and players seek compensation.

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