The state lottery system in the United States is generally regarded as a well run, and thoroughly regulated, arm of the legal gambling industry.

In fact, most industry observers credit lotteries with opening up regulated gaming markets throughout the United States where gambling is now legal in 48 states.

But a recent scandal involving a corrupt lottery worker and a few rigged games could cause major troubles for the lottery and its status as a cash cow for state budgets.

At the the heart of the matter is former employee of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) named Eddie Ray Tipton.

Tipton, who lives in Iowa, was recently convicted of fraud and sentenced to ten years in prison for his role in rigging a 2010 Hot Lotto Jackpot to the tune of $14.3 million (USD). (Tipton is currently free on bail while he appeals his conviction.)

According to published reports, Tipton used his position as Information Security Director at MUSL to pre-program winning lottery numbers so that he could cash in big. Though Tipton’s plan ultimately failed, his actions have some lottery-watchers, and state investigators, worried that corruption in the lottery business could be more widespread than was originally suspected.

Prosecutors in several states are investigating allegations that Tipton, and a few accomplices, worked in cahoots to rig lottery wins in Colorado, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. Investigators are also looking into whether or not Tipton had help from accomplices with his endeavors.

Auditors are currently poring over years’ worth of lottery wins looking for any irregularities that could involve Tipton and his accomplices.

The bigger question now is whether Tipton’s conviction will have any impact on state lottery ticket sales?

 


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