A Kennewick man says he has decided to back off plans to sue the Washington State Lottery Commission over a misleading scratch card game.
Ken Goldsmith raised objections with state lottery officials in June claiming the Red Hot 5s scratch card was misleading, giving many ticket holders, including himself, the impression they had won the $55,555 grand prize.
After a Herald story, Goldsmith said he received plenty of offers from attorneys across the state to handle a class action lawsuit under the Consumer Protection Act, but none would take his case on a contingency basis.
In the meantime, the lottery commission killed the game.
"It was never my intent to give the lottery a bad rap," Goldsmith said. "I brought to their attention a problem because I felt the game was flawed. Their first response was that it would be too costly to pull the game, but after the Herald story ran, they did pull it.
"But I still think they should at least issue another $5 scratch ticket to those of us who thought we had a winning ticket," he said.
But that isn't going to happen, said Arlen Harris, a lottery spokesman.
"We are bound by state law not to reimburse a lottery ticket," Harris said. "The (law) would need to be changed first."
But, he added, the public can request that the law be changed by appealing the issue to the commission.
Confusion about the Red Hot 5s tickets came from a lack of directions on the card, which didn't explain that the numbers on the back were for a totally different game than the ones on the front of the card.
Once Goldsmith's story appeared in the Herald, he heard from almost two dozen people across the state, including Glenn Jetton of Kennewick, who also thought they had won the grand prize on the Red Hot 5s scratch card.
"I do feel the lottery should take some kind of responsibility for that card," Jetton said. "And I agree with Ken that they should at least replace the card."
Barbara Johnson of Kennewick also had what she thought was a winning ticket. And though she understood Goldsmith's concern, she was more pragmatic.
"I'm a gambler, and when you gamble, you win some and you lose some," she said. "Sure, it would be nice if the lottery folks would at least reimburse the $5 ticket, but I'm not going to worry about it."
As for Goldsmith, he's done worrying about it.
"I took a lot of flak from people who thought I was being a sore loser," he said. "But the bigger picture is this: I believe I made my point in proving that this was a flawed game. And maybe because I raised the issue with them publicly it made a difference because they did the right thing and pulled the ticket even though they initially said they wouldn't. End of story."