Houston, TX (Law Firm Newswire) April 10, 2015 - The legal case against GTECH Corporation, the operator of the Texas Lottery, entered another phase on April 7 when the plaintiffs, who filed a lawsuit in December 2014, filed a second amended petition accusing the company of fraud.
And now the plaintiffs, who were originally a group of 250 lottery players who alleged that GTECH duped them, has now grown to number nearly 1,000 lottery players.
The lawsuit, which was filed in state district court in Austin on December 9, accuses GTECH of intentionally programming its lottery computers to treat winning tickets from the now-defunct Fun 5’s scratch-off game as losers. When the case was first filed, 250 plaintiffs were seeking $248 million in damages, representing the winnings that should have been awarded to them. The case was amended on February 11 to include another 419 players before the April 7 second amended filing, in which nearly 1,000 players were named as claimants.
“When this lawsuit was filed against GTECH in December it stood to reason that the number of players affected by the company’s actions would grow as awareness of the problem among the victims became more widespread,” said Richard LaGarde, the attorney for the plaintiffs in the case. “The public was seeing only the tip of the iceberg late last year with respect to the consequences of GTECH's failure to fix the language on the tickets soon after the game was introduced last September. The claims now total $508 million.”
The instructions GTECH printed on the Fun 5’s tickets said that if a ticket revealed a Money Bag symbol, the player would win five times the amount of money appearing in the prize box. In their second amended petition, the plaintiffs claim GTECH’s language was written at a time when the game’s rules provided for all tickets with the symbol to be deemed winners. But, they added, the company then made a significant percentage of tickets losers without also changing the instructions to make it clear that not every ticket with the symbol would be considered a winner.
“Individuals bought tickets with the reasonable expectation that the game would be played according to the rules printed in the instructions and this turned out to not be the case,” LaGarde said. “Instead, GTECH misled the players, and now this has turned into a public relations disaster and legal mess for the company as well as a stain on the reputation of the Texas Lottery.”
LaGarde Law Firm, P.C
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