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Lottery ticket 'printing error' voids huge jackpot

Jan 8, 2009, 1:06 pm

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Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation

Man gets undisclosed settlement from Ontario Lottery — and apology

Other 'winners' not so lucky

Unlucky lotto "winner" Thomas Noftall may not have won the jackpot, but the 27-year-old will take home some cash from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. after all.

OLG offered Noftall an apology and an undisclosed financial settlement yesterday after a printing error on his lottery tickets led him to believe he had won $135,000.

Noftall and his lawyer met with lottery officials yesterday at OLG headquarters in Toronto. After the meeting, Noftall told reporters he is happy with the apology.

"I didn't get my dream, so I'm going to keep playing Lotto 6/49," Noftall said. "I can keep hoping, can't I?"

Noftall is one of 15 players who contacted OLG about the bogus win, although officials believe as many as 150 faulty tickets were purchased. No other players have been compensated, said OLG chief executive Kelly McDougald.

The gaming corporation compensated Noftall not because of the misprint, but because an OLG employee told him he could collect his winnings despite the error, McDougald said yesterday.

"It was a very unique situation with Mr. Noftall in that it was very explicit that we made direct miscommunication with him and that's what we're compensating for," said McDougald. "When he called into our call centre to inquire we gave him some wrongful information and that exacerbated his anxiety and pain and suffering."

Noftall bought several $3 Fruit Smash scratch tickets New Year's Eve and thought his dreams were coming true when four of them produced big prizes. Between the cards, Noftall thought he had won $135,000 in prizes.

The tickets were actually part of a batch of about 1,100 misprinted cards distributed to GTA retailers.

When Noftall realized something was wrong, he contacted OLG and a representative assured him he would get the money.

After reviewing the tape of that call, McDougald agreed Noftall was misled. "It's been a whirlwind for him the last seven days and he's quite happy that it's at an end," said Bryan McPhadden, Noftall's lawyer. "He's accepted the gracious apologies by OLG and is sufficiently happy with the result and he will continue to play OLG lotto tickets."

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