Big prize gone, tix still for sale

The odds of winning the lottery are bad enough, but Michigan is adding insult to injury by selling tickets for the Golden Pack, long after the top prize was won. This is the kind of thing that, if a person tried to do, would be called fraud, but because a state does it is called “maximizing revenues.”

From the Detroit News:

It’s called The Golden Pack, a Michigan Lottery game that costs you $10 to play, with the promise that you can walk away a millionaire. But in truth, you can’t come anywhere near the top prize — it was won long ago.

Only two Golden Pack tickets were truly golden, but the rest are still for sale.

What’s left is a maximum prize of $10,000, but lottery officials say they’re not deceiving anyone. Read the small print, they say, or check the lottery’s Web site, which lists weekly grand prize updates.

The news is a surprise to some lotto players.

“Whaddya mean I can’t win the top prize?” said Bill Christman, 64, a Warren truck driver who bought a scratch-off ticket last week.

As of Monday, five of the 38 instant games still shipped to stores no longer offer grand prizes. And top prizes are gone in as many as 100 other games that may still be sold, lottery officials said. That means untold numbers of players over the next several months will buy tickets that cost as much as $10 without any chance of winning a top prize.

“If the top prize is gone, the ticket shouldn’t be for sale,” Christman said. “It isn’t fair.”

He is among the players who feel taken when they find they’re playing for substantially less money than what’s splashed across the front of tickets.

A disclaimer on the back of each ticket tells players “prizes are subject to prior sales,” but consumer advocates said the vague language is hardly a warning.

The lottery introduces about 72 instant games a year, each shipped to stores for two to five months, but some are available for a year or longer, lottery officials said. Games expire 18 months after they’re introduced.

Both old and new games are sold in stores, and lottery officials aren’t sure how many tickets from old games remain on store shelves.

Lottery winners lose out – 02/22/05

Lottery players of Michigan, beware! The state’s lottery commissioner says the onus is on you to find out if you’re playing for millions or hundreds. This is a direct quote from Gary Peters: “Folks who are just playing to win the top prize need to check the Internet.”

Still, the big-prizeless instant games appeal to those who frankly admit they have nothing to live for:

“It gives me something to do other than read the paper. I get so bored being a cleaner,” said Betty McCarter, 54, of Detroit, who on Wednesday bought three $2 tickets and a bottle of Faygo.

McCarter doesn’t mind scratching tickets with no shot at winning a grand prize.

“I can still win $5 or $10,” she said.

If she’d have not bought the tickets, she’d be ahead six dollars for sure.

We live in a world where people spend $6 to win $5 (maybe) because their lives are boring. Nice.

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