It is not clear how many retailers are being probed but investigators have warned that any agents found guilty of manipulating machines will expect severe repercussions. “Loss of license is just the beginning,” Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris was quoted as saying in the Hartford Courant. “They could go to jail for this.”
It is reported that manipulation of the machines may have been possible because there was a delay between when tickets were ordered and when they were printed, perhaps giving some retailers the opportunity to void losing entries but let winning ones print. Harris has suggested that these were not the actions of hackers, but of people who were familiar with how retail lottery terminals operate.
The 5 Card Cash game is based on poker and anyone who has a winning ‘hand’ of cards can scoop a prize. In the instant version of the game which is under suspicion, ticket holders win if their hand matches one of 10 different combinations.
CT Lottery president Anne Noble has insisted in a statement that ‘integrity is paramount’ and the game is not expected to be down for long, but for the moment players with winning tickets will have to wait to claim their prizes until the investigation has run its course. Participants have also been encouraged by the Department of Consumer Protection to ‘take a look and make sure their ticket is coming out of the terminal’ in future to ensure they have a valid entry.