Kennewick man to fight state lottery; says new scratch card 'misleading'

By Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldJune 15, 2013 

A Kennewick man plans to fight the Washington State Lottery in court over a scratch card payoff that didn't pan out.

Ken Goldsmith, 55, recently bought one of the newest scratch cards, Red Hot 5s, and thought he scored the top prize of $55,555 by matching one of the numbers.

But when he scanned the card at a lottery kiosk, it came up a loser.

"I called the lottery office in Olympia to find out why it scanned a loser, but they knew what scratch card I was referring to before I even mentioned it," Goldsmith said.

The language on the Red Hot 5s scratch card says to match a number on the card to one of the winning numbers and win that cash prize.

The language also states that there are more numbers on the back side of the card to play. What it doesn't say is that the front and the back of the ticket are two different games, and that's where the confusion sets in, Goldsmith said.

"I matched a number on the back to the $55,555 winning number on the front, so I thought for sure I'd won," he said. "The people at the lottery office told me it was made clear on their website that this scratch card was two different games, but it should have been made clear on the scratch card, and the fact that it isn't is very misleading."

Seems Goldsmith isn't the only player confused.

"The Red Hot 5s scratch card has caused some confusion with people," said Arlen Harris, a lottery spokesman. "But we have no intention of pulling the ticket from the market because the cost factor would be excessive."

The Red Hot 5s is the first double-sided scratch card issued across the country, Harris added.

"We are the first to offer a scratch card that plays on the front and back, and we hope to add another one in the future," he said. "We've learned from this experience, however, and we will be more explanatory with future scratch cards like this one."

Goldsmith isn't satisfied with the lottery office's explanation. He thinks the tickets should be honored because the correct game rules were not printed on the cards.

"People don't go to the lottery website to check the rules," Goldsmith said. "They expect them to be on the card."

He plans to fight the issue in court, and has asked the Washington State Bar Association to recommend an attorney to represent him.

"I am not ignorant about how scratch cards work, since I've been buying them for 15 years," Goldsmith said. "I read all the rules on the cards, but I am amazed at how many people don't do that and will throw away a ticket that is a winner because they didn't read all the rules on how the game wins."

That's why he picks discarded scratch cards out of the trash wherever he sees them.

He's never thrown away any of his loser cards, either. He keeps them stored in boxes according to the year they were purchased.

"I've won a decent amount of money many times on those castoff tickets," Goldsmith said. "And that's why this Red Hot 5s game has me annoyed. Nowhere on that ticket does it say the front and the back are two separate games."

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