Man Sues Powerball Over Website Error

( — John Cheeks of Washington, D.C., likes to play the Powerball lottery when the payout spikes, using a personal combination of numbers relating to family birthdays and other numbers that have significance to him. On January 6, he bought a ticket and used his favorite numbers. He missed the live drawing on January 7, however, and had to look up the winning number on the website on January 8. His numbers were listed there, and while excited, he kept reasonably calm. He called a friend, who advised him to take a picture of the website. He did so and went to sleep.

However, there was apparently some sort of mistake with the website, and Cheeks numbers weren’t actually the ones that were drawn on January 7. He first took what he thought was his winning ticket to a licensed retailer, only to be informed that it wasn’t a winner. As he had evidence to the contrary, he then took the ticket to the D.C. Office of Lottery and Gaming Prize Center, only to be denied again. The claims officer instead just told him the ticket was worthless and suggested he throw it away.

Cheeks did not take the claims staffer’s advice and instead put the ticket in a safe deposit box and then contacted a lawyer. His attorney, Richard Evans, began to investigate Cheeks’ claims and eventually got some explanation about what happened. He was told that a contractor, Taoti Enterprises, based out of Washington, D.C., had posted the incorrect numbers by mistake. Evans says they have not provided any proof for that assertion, but even if it were true, the mistake would still be the responsibility of the Office of Lottery and Gaming.

There was apparently a somewhat similar case in Iowa. In that case, a contractor admitted fault, and the people who were mistakenly declared winners still got their winnings. In the Iowa case, the prizes ranged from $4 to $200. The prize at the time of Cheeks’ mistaken win was $340 million. His lawsuit will include the Multi-State Lottery Association, as well as the contractor, Taoti Enterprises.

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