The State Lottery Has A New Rule To Stop Repeat Winners

  • The State Lottery Has A New Rule To Stop Repeat Winners

    He's done it again, and not just for the second, third or even 10th time. For the 1,246th time this year, Ali Jaafar has hit it big on the lottery.Get more news about LOTO彩票包网,you can vist

    State records show that since Jan. 1 the Watertown man has won more than $1.8 million from lottery retailers all around Massachusetts -- with most of his riches coming from scratch tickets revealing $1,000 prizes. Jaafar is on track to be the winningest lotto player in Massachusetts for a third consecutive year, and nothing yet seems to be getting in his way when it comes to winning.Not a streak of bad luck. And not a new state policy designed with the specific purpose of cracking down on people who rake in large lottery prizes with what many see as remarkable frequency — winners just like Jaafar.

    Announced last year, the policy went into effect, after a delay, on July 27. It allows lottery officials to investigate — and ultimately penalize — anyone who wins 20 or more lottery prizes valued at $1,000 or more within a calendar year. If the lottery director determines a person's lucky streak is "factually or statistically improbable," the new policy allows the lottery to freeze the player's payouts for months.

    Lottery records requested by WBUR reveal, however, that the players with the highest frequency of winning are still collecting tremendous wins, despite the policy.On Aug. 14, the lottery sent letters to 54 people it says "fit the definition of 'high-frequency prize winner' " to let them know about the new policy and its consequences, lottery records show.

    "We are enforcing the policy immediately," reads the letter signed by lottery Executive Director Michael Sweeney.The lottery declined multiple requests for an interview and instead asked WBUR to submit questions via email.

    "Implementing this policy is a major step forward in addressing potential issues of money laundering and other illegal activities and the potential avoidance of outstanding child support liabilities, and taxes and fees owed to the Commonwealth," Sweeney said in his emailed responses Monday, adding that the policy "remains a top compliance issue for me."Since the policy took effect, Jaafar, each of his two sons and at least 10 others have individually won enough to trigger a potential hold on their awards. All of those individuals, except for one, were sent letters notifying them of the policy. But, for those 13 people, lottery records show the agency did not suspend their prizes.

    Together, those frequent winners — who could have had their prizes withheld under the new policy — have won about $1.7 million from July 27 to Oct. 9.

    Gregory Sullivan, research director at the Pioneer Institute and the state's former inspector general from 2002 to 2012, has researched vulnerabilities in the lottery in the past.

    "There is a phenomenon in state lotteries," he said, "where certain individuals defy all laws of probability and statistics" with the rate of their success. He explained that often, people who frequently cash in lottery tickets aren't winners at all — but are instead collecting wins on behalf of others trying to evade taxes.

    The lottery's Sweeney also says he believes it is likely frequent cashers are not actually winning — but cashing in wins for others.

    "This is a well-known problem, you know, not just in Massachusetts," Sullivan said in a phone interview Tuesday. "But it is a well-known problem in Massachusetts, and it has been for some time."