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Texas Lottery: Still screwed up

Hey, remember the inflated Texas Lotto jackpot scandal, the one that cost unqualified Perry crony Reagan Greer his job? It was supposed to have been fixed last year. Well, not quite, according to an audit of the Texas Lottery Commission.

Auditors found “a significant number of instances in which agency management did not comply with policies and procedures to review or approve documentation related to jackpot estimations, jackpot prize payment calculations and transfers to the Foundation School Fund.”

[…]

Lottery officials had asserted that they inflated four jackpot estimates between May 4, 2003, and June 11, 2005, auditors wrote.

But from November to March, auditors found three more instances in which lottery officials knowingly approved jackpots that exceeded the agency’s “high-end” estimated sales.

Winners wouldn’t have been impacted on those occasions because, as the report notes, they occurred after commissioners agreed to guarantee winners the higher of either the advertised jackpot or percentage of actual sales.

But auditors noted that “failure to accurately advertise Lotto Texas jackpot amounts may contribute to a lack of public confidence in the Lotto Texas game and the Texas Lottery Commission.” They also pointed out that if the agency is required to pay jackpots that exceed sales, they may have to be paid with money that would otherwise go to education.

“That is troubling to me because that does take money from the state,” said Gerald Busald, a lottery watchdog and math professor at San Antonio College. “The difference is when Reagan Greer did it, if somebody would have won, the player would have been out money. Now if somebody wins, the state is out money.”

Busald praised the audit overall and said he had confidence that the agency’s newly named Executive Director Anthony Sadberry, a longtime Houston attorney, would continue improving morale and trying to establish a culture of playing by the rules at the lottery.

Sadberry had been the interim director before being hired two weeks ago. In addition to this, he’s still got a lot of morale issues at the TLC to deal with. The good news is that the employees there seem to approve of his hiring. We’ll see how it works out.

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  1. […] There’s plenty of room for improvement in how the Lottery is run, though a lot of that is the Commission’s fault. Be that as it may, this is a rare opportunity. I hope we take advantage of […]