Pennsylvania Lottery Under a Microscope to Prevent Fraud

The Pennsylvania Lottery is about to be put under a microscope. The Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is preparing to review the service, focusing on repeat winners. The investigation will review if the lottery is doing enough to prevent fraudulent behavior regarding winners as well as retailers where tickets are sold.

High-Volume Lottery Winners

The lottery in the state just completed a huge, record-breaking year. The announcement of the audit by DePasquale comes just days after several news stories broke regarding several states having high-volume winners.

One case in particular caught the eye of the Auditor General. In Boston, an individual was buying winning tickets from other players to help the winners avoid paying taxes. The person ended up cashing in over 7,300 tickets. The total prize value of these tickets came in at $10.8 million.

The scheme not only involved the winners and the perpetrator but also the convenience stores that sold the tickets and paid the winners. DePasquale commented on the case and how the issue surfaced years ago. At the time, he warned that he would be monitoring the situation. He wants to ensure that the lottery is doing everything they can to prevent any fraudulent activity.

Protecting the Lottery

For DePasquale, his goal is to protect the lottery. The Auditor General explained the reasoning behind the audit as a way to protect older adults in the state who rely on programs that are funded by the lottery. If players or retailers are taking part in fraudulent activity, the lottery is obligated to catch them and take action in order to protect the Lottery Fund integrity.

The examination of the lottery will evaluate how effect the regulations, policies and procedures are within the department. During the last fiscal year, the players of the lottery bought $4.5 billion in games with over $2.9 billion in prizes claimed.

According to DePasquale, the seniors of the state as well as lottery players and the general public have a right to know if every dollar of the prizes awarded are claimed based on the law.

The lottery already provides over $1 billion in proceeds each year to support senior citizens. Programs that are offered by the lottery for older residents include property tax rebates and home care services.

If issues are discovered during the audit of the state lottery by DePasquale, there is no doubt that action will be taken. The Auditor General is taking the integrity of the Lottery very seriously and working to ensure that no fraud takes place, be it via retailers or players.

DePasquale will also have an audit team working with his office, looking at the selection of vendors for the terminal based games as well as instant lottery tickets. The vendors will be vetted by this team. The state has already spent over $1 million to evaluate the bids by vendors and they have yet to complete their selection or a contract valued at $1 billion.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.