Jan 11, 2016, 10:39 am
Lottery Post will host event at 8pm EST
By Todd Northrop
Lottery players from across the United States — and around the world — will have the chance Monday evening to ask questions about the Eddie Tipton computerized drawing rigging scandal to Terry Rich, Iowa Lottery CEO, who was instrumental in discovering the crime.
In December 2010 a Hot Lotto jackpot worth $16 million was won on a ticket purchased in Iowa. One year later, with just two hours to spare before the ticket was to expire, a lawyer representing an anonymous winner turned in the winning ticket at Iowa Lottery headquarters. And that's when the roller coaster of a mystery — and later discovery of a crime — began.
Although lottery players can claim a prize using a legal trust, the Iowa Lottery standard security process insists that before a prize is paid out, the actual winner must be identified by the Iowa Lottery. Over the next few weeks when the actual winner refused to identify themselves, the lawyer incredulously informed the Iowa Lottery that the claim of the $16 million jackpot was being withdrawn.
And that's where Rich and the Iowa Lottery security staff became heroes, because rather than just dropping the matter, they embarked on a dogged multi-year investigation that eventually unearthed the most devastating crime in United States lottery history.
It turned out that the "winner" of that $16 million Hot Lotto jackpot was actually Eddie Tipton, the former security chief for the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), located in Urbandale, Iowa.
Tipton had rigged the computer that generates the winning numbers for the Hot Lotto game to draw the same numbers that he had purchased on a lottery ticket earlier that day at a QuikTrip gas station in Des Moines.
The full history of Lottery Post news coverage of the investigation and eventual conviction of Tipton can be found below, but the story doesn't end there.
Rather than spiking the ball after Tipton's conviction, Rich continued the investigation to find out if any other damage was done. And what he found sent shockwaves through the lottery industry.
Using his brother and other accomplices to buy and redeem lottery tickets, Tipton had rigged major lottery prizes in several other states — states that used the same computerized drawing equipment that Tipton himself designed when he was the security chief for MUSL.
The full extent of the damage is still being assessed, and Tipton is currently scheduled to begin a second trial for additional crimes in July.
Having served as Iowa Lottery CEO since 2009, Terry Rich has been at the center of the ordeal for entirety of it. If not for his his insistence in sticking with the investigation over the years (as well as Tipton generally being a poor crook), lottery players might never have known that the winning numbers being generated with a computer in several states were hacked by a criminal.
Lottery players who value true lotto ball drawings, which may be somewhat more expensive than computers, but are infinitely more verifiable to auditors, also have Rich to thank for demonstrating to the world why computerized drawings should be eliminated or at least minimized.
Rich has now agreed to answer questions about the past and future of the computerized drawing scandal from lottery players themselves, live at Lottery Post tonight, Jan. 11, at 8:00 pm Easter Time (5:00 pm Pacific).
To ask a question, a person simply has to register a free account at Lottery Post. After a simple verification via e-mail, a person can post questions to Rich, and is also free to post on any of Lottery Post's forums.
The Question & Answer session will appear as a forum topic, which will be visible at the top of the Lottery Discussion forum at Lottery Post. To post a question, a person simply clicks the New Reply button when viewing the topic, and then types their question. Rich will respond to questions right in the same topic, with the original question "quoted" so that it is clear which question he is answering.
In addition to his role as CEO of the Iowa Lottery since February 2009, Rich also served as a past president of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (NASPL). He is an enthusiastic supporter of the lottery industry in general and an engaging presenter, as any audience member can attest to when listening to one of his presentations.
One of the issues facing the lottery industry is an invisible wall of distrust that separates lottery players from the official government lottery organizations that run the state lotteries. Most communications with lottery players from the industry is all "marketing speak" designed to increase sales and gloss over anything negative. As a result lottery players can feel the state lotteries are hiding something with all the "happy talk".
While we don't expect Rich to throttle the industry with his answers, the fact that he is willing to directly respond to actual lottery player questions live reveals a level of transparency that is sorely lacking in the lottery industry — and hopefully something that be followed by other lottery leaders.
The Lottery Post website will feature a prominent banner at the top of every page leading visitors directly into the Rich's Q&A session at 8:00 pm EST.
Timeline of the biggest crime in US lottery history
The following is a compilation of Lottery Post news coverage chronicling the Hot Lotto mystery and subsequently discovered crime.
We start the timeline with a news story indicating that only 3 months remained for the $16 million Hot Lotto jackpot to be claimed.
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