Would you buy that “Million dollar” lottery ticket if you knew that someone had already claimed the million bucks? No? Well, if you buy lottery tickets in Virginia you may have been doing just that, according to a new lawsuit.
Scott Hoover, a business professor at Washington and Lee University in Virginia, was “shocked” to learn that the $5 scratch-off ticket he bought had no chance of being a big winner. The top prize of $75,000 had already been awarded before he even bought the ticket. Now CNN says he’s suing Virginia for breach of contract.
“It’s one thing to say it’s a long shot to win the $75,000, but it’s another thing to say you have no shot to win it,” John Fishwick, Hoover’s attorney, told CNN.
Through a request filed under the Freedom of Information Act, Fishwick’s firm was able to obtain records that showed the Virginia State Lottery sold $85 million in tickets for which no top prize was available. Fishwick says the state should pay $85 million in damages.
USAToday says that about half of the 42 states that sell scratch-off tickets continue to sell them after the top prizes have been claimed. Lottery officials say it’s fair because there are still lesser prizes that have not been claimed, and because people can use the internet to check if top prizes have been claimed.