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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, JUNE 13, 2014

CONTACT: FLORIDA LOTTERY COMMUNICATIONS
(850) 487-7727

FLORIDA LOTTERY ANNOUNCES MULTI-TIERED STRATEGY
TO ENSURE INTEGRITY ABOVE ALL
~ Sign Your Ticket Consumer Awareness Campaign Launching Statewide ~

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Lottery is an industry leader, recognized for the integrity and transparency of its games. Today, the Florida Lottery stresses its commitment to ensuring retailer integrity and player protection at every level by launching a comprehensive effort that includes a statewide consumer awareness campaign called "Sign Your Ticket," enhanced retailer monitoring, and stronger protections for consumers at the retail level.

"Maintaining the integrity of the Florida Lottery and the trust of those who play our games is our top priority," said Cynthia O'Connell, Secretary of the Florida Lottery. "We believe that any incident of theft is one too many, and we are taking significant steps to discourage illegal or unethical activity."

The program has three main components:

1) Sign Your Ticket

Sign Your Ticket is a public awareness campaign designed to educate the public about the importance of signing their lottery tickets immediately, every one, every time. Signing a ticket upon purchase prevents anyone else from claiming a prize won on the ticket. The Sign Your Ticket requirement is a player protection mechanism that has been in place since the Lottery's inception, but public adoption can be increased, thereby protecting more consumers. The following are key components of this campaign:

  • The campaign is currently featured on our website in the Integrity section at www.flalottery.com .
  • Public Service Announcements (PSAs) will begin airing on statewide television and radio this month.
  • Signage will begin appearing in stores immediately and will roll out over the next several weeks.
  • This campaign is being further strengthened over the next year with increased messaging on the tickets themselves. For example, beginning in July, all new scratch off games will have "Sign Your Ticket" instructions, as will all other games moving forward.

The Florida Lottery encourages players to protect themselves and their tickets in other ways, such as: checking their own ticket to see if it's a winner and watching the monitor while the ticket is being validated at a retailer. Lastly, if there is a question about the ticket being a winner or the prize amount won, players should ask for the original ticket back and contact the Florida Lottery Customer Service Office at (850) 487-7787.

2) Enhanced Retailer Monitoring

The Florida Lottery has increased its investigations of suspicious retailers. This increased effort has identified 96 retailers statewide who are frequent winners. They will be investigated over the next 60 days. In addition to those 96 retailers, we have been conducting regular retailer integrity investigations (stings) as part of a program that dates back to 2009. Specifically, the Lottery is making the following changes to the program:

  • Enhanced internal analytics of our database of winners has improved our ability to identify anomalies and spot suspicious or criminal activity.
  • Retailers caught acting improperly will be suspended or terminated permanently, losing their ability to sell Lottery tickets.
  • If retailers are caught committing a crime, we will pursue their arrest and prosecution, supported by our partners in law enforcement and local state attorneys.
  • Enhanced, formal agreements with other state law enforcement agencies will better align our organizations, allowing us to share information, identify criminal activity, and investigate retailers.

To date, in 2014, we have terminated 26 retailers and suspended an additional 23. Twenty of these terminations and suspensions have been related to ticket theft or improper ticket payment issues.

3) Stronger Consumer Protections

Lastly, we are working to limit retailer theft of tickets at the store level by improving technology, strengthening our policies and procedures, and educating retailers. These efforts include:

  • Continuing to add self-validating ticket machines to retail locations. Currently, more than half of all retailers have these machines. Last year, we added the ability for players to scan scratch-off tickets. Additional enhancements will be announced soon.
  • Re-educating retailers about all further changes to the Lottery rules and procedures.
  • Regularly releasing the names of retailers who have been suspended and terminated to the public and to other retailers.

The Lottery's retailers are integral partners in helping the agency generate more than $26 billion dollars for Florida's students and schools over the past 26 years. The issues that we are addressing affect a fraction of a percentage of our 13,000 retailers that may have acted improperly or committed a crime. It would be unfair to characterize the vast majority of honest retailers due to the actions of a few. However, we feel strongly that any incident of theft is one too many, and we are taking significant steps within our organization to reduce this activity. Over the coming months, the Lottery will provide updates to this plan, and continue to work with its stakeholders to make improvements. We believe these changes will help to limit ticket theft and further protect our players.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA LOTTERY

The Florida Lottery is responsible for contributing more than $26 billion to education and sending more than 650,000 students to college through the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. The Florida Lottery reinvests nearly 98 percent of its revenue back into Florida's economy through prize payouts, commissions to more than 13,000 Florida retailers and transfers to education. Since 1988, Florida Lottery games have paid more than $37 billion in prizes and made more than 1,300 people millionaires. For more information, please visit www.flalottery.com.

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