Audit: Colorado Lottery not investigating frequent winners

Posted at 3:30 PM, Oct 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-03 17:30:35-04

DENVER (AP) — A state audit found the Colorado Lottery has not been identifying and investigating frequent winners, including a case in which a player won at least $600 in the Pick 3 game two dozen times with tickets purchased at a store owned by that player.

In fact, the audit identified 10 people who each won at least $600 at least 15 times from 2015 to 2018, making their individual winnings at least $9,000. The store owner won at least $14,400 over three years.

The top Pick 3 prize for a single play is $2,500. Players can bet 50 cents, $1, $2 or $5 per ticket, depending on the kind of bet they make. Drawings are held twice a day.

One of those players won $600 or more 47 times — or at least $28,000 — with all but one of those winning tickets bought at the same store. That player was the only person to buy a $600 winner at that store during those three years, the Denver Post reports.

The audit did not identify the frequent winners or where the tickets were sold. Winners of prizes less than $600 are not tracked.

Lottery officials say investigators have found no evidence of foul play, but administrators agreed to start monitoring unusual winning patterns.

The Colorado Lottery will create quarterly reports on high-dollar, high-frequency winnings along with reports on retailers claiming high dollar amounts, said spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill.

The Office of the State Auditor, which conducts lottery audits every five years, said it had not previously looked into frequent winners.

The audit also found that six of the lottery’s 120 employees, including the lottery director and two of its five commissioners, were not included in the database of employees, contractors and their immediate families who are not allowed to play the lottery’s games. The lottery says its database has since been updated.