Scratchcard Winner in a Fix

Tuesday June 30th 2009

A Dundee man who bought a UK lottery scratchcard ticket for £2 and won a top prize of £100,000 wasn’t able to receive his prize because he lacked proper identification. Willie Hamilton was asked to provide lottery officials with a passport or bank account details so that his win could be confirmed and paid out, but because Willie has spent time in prison for robbery, he hasn’t previously had the need for either of those things.

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The ‘lucky’ scratchcard winner hasn’t got a driving licence either, so lottery officials needed time to think about the best way of proceeding. Under normal circumstances, requesting proof of identification with a passport, bank account details or driving licence means that most winners can progress through the claims process with ease. But when a winner like Willie comes along, with none of those proofs, things get a little more tricky.

Willie suggested various other ways in which the lottery organiser should be able to confirm his identity. The most humorous was by taking him to the local police station, where he said 90% of the officers on duty would be recognise and name him without hesitation. It’s a curious claim to fame, but nobody can dispute that Willie’s novel solution to his predicament didn’t have some merit.

The lottery officials eventually decided to write Willie a cheque for the £100,000 prize. But the cheque is non-transferable, so now the winner has to find a way of accessing his winnings.

It isn’t that Willie doesn’t want a bank account, but rather that the banks haven’t been very willing to open one for him. This might be understandable when you consider that he is, after all, a convicted criminal. But now that Willie is £100,000 richer we have a feeling that one or two banks might suddenly decide to have a change of heart.

Having served the time for his crime, Willie was released from prison in 2008. He has been trying hard to keep on the straight and narrow ever since, and his £100,000 lottery scratchcard win might just help him to continue doing that – if and when he manages to cash it, that is.

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