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Lottery lawsuit demands that $85 million be returned to scratcher buyers

Scott Hoover has made good on his threat to sue the state over alleged fraud in sales of scratch-off lottery tickets. The business professor’s lawsuit, filed in Richmond Circuit Court by Roanoke attorney John Fishwick, claims that the state lottery has taken in “millions of dollars in sales of tickets falsely promising the chance to win the top prize.”

Hoover claims that the lottery, over the last five years, regularly failed to pull tickets from lottery games after all the top prizes were claimed. He estimates that the lottery gained at least $84.7 million in revenues from the knowing sale of losing tickets. The lawsuit, alleging breach of contract, asks the court to set up a claims procedure to return the money to players.

In a statement released June 11, lottery Executive Director Paula Otto acknowledged “a chance” that tickets from scratcher games remained on sale after the final top prizes were claimed. Otto said, however, that the practice ended in July 2007 and that the lottery is changing its rules to avoid the scenario in the future.

Hoover’s lawsuit has been assigned to Chief Judge Walter W. Stout III, according to the clerk’s office.

By Peter Vieth

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