ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico man claims he won more than $500,000 on a lottery scratcher, only to find out the New Mexico Lottery won’t pay him. The Lottery’s answer for why they’re not paying, isn’t sitting well with the ticket buyer. Now, he’s suing.
The New Mexico Lottery claims the ticket was a misprint, but the lotto player argues that’s not his problem.
“He thought he was one of the luckiest men in New Mexico for sure,” explained Sam Bregman, Attorney for John Wines, of Roswell.
Bregman is representing Wines in a lawsuit against the New Mexico Lottery, filed in District Court Wednesday. Bregman told KRQE News 13 the Lottery refuses to pay Wines his winnings.
“It’s unfortunate, and quite frankly the New Mexico lottery is cheating.”
Wines paid $20 for a ‘Ruby 7s’ scratcher at his local gas station in December. The game rules require the player to match numbers on the ticket with the top two winning numbers; in this case a ‘1’ and ‘2.’ Wines found five matching numbers, equaling $500,625. But when he went to cash in, he was told the ticket was a misprint and that there are numbers missing. With a closer look, a sliver of the missing numbers is visible. Wines couldn’t believe it.
In an interview with Fox News last month, Wines said he contacted the New Mexico Lottery office.
“I sent her a picture of the ticket and she came back a little later and said we reconstructed it, and said it’s not a winner,” Wines told Fox News. “I kept asking, well how is it not a winner when the numbers are there to show that it’s a winner?”
“If they believe it’s a misprint, that’s between them and the printer, we don’t really care,” Bregman said. “John paid his $20 for that scratcher, he entered into that contract. Guess what New Mexico Lottery? You have to pay him,” Bregman added.
The fine print on the back of the ticket states: “Liability for void, altered, or misprinted tickets, or disputes, if any, is limited to the refund of the retail sales price.”
However, Bregman points out lotto players don’t get to read the fine print until after they buy the ticket.
“It’s their ace up their sleeve, the New Mexico Lottery, they pull that ace out when they don’t want to pay somebody, and that’s really unfortunate,” said Bregman.
And, according to the rules of the game which are clearly stated on the ticket, Bregman claims this case is cut and dried.
“No where on it does it say this may be a misprint, to the contrary this says you just won over $500,000,” Bregman said. “He’s a winner, and they are acting like big time losers by not paying him.”
KRQE News 13 reached out to the New Mexico Lottery for comment on this case. A spokesperson said they don’t comment on current lawsuits.
The Roswell man said the lottery offered to give him $100 in new lottery tickets. He declined the offer, and hired a lawyer.