Man Thinks Random Lottery Ticket Words Insulting His Hometown Are No Accident

lottery ticketNew York’s current “Wheel of Fortune” branded instant lottery game seems pretty fun: you scratch off letters and reveal which are or aren’t on the game board. These words are supposed to be randomly generated, but one gambler is really upset at the state lottery after scratching off the words, “YOU/ELMIRA/TRASH.” You can probably guess where he lives.

The game categories here were “person, place, thing,” and those words do fit the categories. They are also a completely-formed insult, and the ticket containing that phrase happened to be sold in the city of Elmira (population 29,200) to a 22-year-old college student.

“At first, I thought someone was playing a trick on me with one of those fake lottery tickets, but I guess it was real,” he told the local newspaper. The owner of the bar where he bought the ticket agreed: she thought something was wrong and contacted the county sheriff’s office.

Local law enforcement and the state Gaming Commission checked out the ticket, determining that it was real and that no one had put that phrase together on purpose. In a statement, the gaming commission assures us all that they are not flinging hyper-regional insults at members of the public. They explain:

“The odds of these three words being selected in that particular order are 1 in 900 million. As soon as the ticket was brought to our attention, we immediately contacted the ticket printing vendor (IGT) to remove the word ‘trash’ from being a possible result for any future game. We apologize to anyone who was offended by this unfortunate result.”

Feeling trashed by a Lottery ticket [Star-Gazette]

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