On Feb. 10, a team of lottery officials from Kentucky went door-to-door and interviewed hundreds of families in their communities across the state to find out how their winnings had been spent.
They had won $25 million in a lottery that was being sold by the state as a means to help the poor.
The winners were supposed to be given a check for the amount of the winnings, but many people in the lottery’s service area had never seen one.
“When we asked people if they were OK with that, they said, ‘Well, it’s just money,’ ” said John Mascarin, chief lottery executive of the state.
The state said it had received hundreds of reports of abuse, including threats, vandalism and theft.
But it said it was also receiving reports of lottery winners stealing their win tickets.
The lottery has since hired outside law firms to investigate.
The problem in Kentucky has grown since the first lottery in the country in 1883.
In its first two years, it was shut down for nearly two decades and replaced by a lottery in Cincinnati.
Last year, it returned to its original location and reopened in November.
The Kentucky Lottery and Gaming Association has said it has received more than 600 reports of thefts from the state’s lottery offices since the state reopens in December.
The biggest complaint from families is the high amount of time it takes to retrieve their prize money.
One woman who was not identified told The Globe and Mail in December she lost her lottery winnings of $100 and had been waiting six months to be contacted by the lottery.
She was still waiting in December when the lottery opened again, the woman said.
“They told me it was $2,500 and they told me that’s it,” she said.
The women, who had worked in the state lottery office, said they felt trapped.
They lost their money to lottery agents, and now they don’t know where to go.
“You’re stuck,” the woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said.
She said she was frustrated to find she had to wait months to receive her $100.
She also said she had no idea how the state had spent her winnings.
“It just doesn’t make sense,” the lottery worker said.
In Kentucky, the lottery is supposed to collect a maximum of $5,000 per person per year.
In 2014, the state raised that limit to $10,000 and then increased it again in 2015.
Since then, the federal government has stepped in and increased that limit again, to $25,000.
The federal government, however, has not taken the bait.
“We don’t want the federal authorities to be making these determinations,” said Kevin Mancini, an economist at the University of Kentucky who studies lottery abuses.
“I think they would be surprised if there are no violations, especially if the federal money is going to the state.”
In fact, he said, some of the abuses may have been covered up by lottery officials.
“In some instances, the [pandemics] have reported violations to the federal lottery and then they have said, there is no federal money, that’s just the state and they’re not reporting it,” he said.
Mancino said that when he looked at the lottery logs, he found instances where lottery officials had reported winning more than $2 million in the past five years.
But in some cases, the reports were later determined to have been fake.
“What’s the point in having a lot of complaints?” he said in an interview.
Mascari said the state has launched a program to increase transparency and oversight of the lottery and will make changes if needed.
The department will also look into the lottery office in Cincinnati, where a report was found last year that had not been properly investigated, he added.
Misconduct and ethics concerns also surfaced in 2014, when the state began allowing lottery agents to sell tickets to people who did not have a social security number.
The sale was limited to five tickets a week.
It was reported that some of those people were being paid millions of dollars by lottery agents.
The commissioner of the Kentucky Lotteries said the department was investigating.
The agency’s commissioner, Steve Giesbrecht, said the agency is working to correct problems, but added that he couldn’t comment further on the current investigation.
In the meantime, the Kentucky lottery is expected to reopen in the coming months, and officials hope to add more games in the weeks ahead.
But the state still faces a number of challenges.
The largest challenge is the lack of the ability to track who is buying and selling lottery tickets.
“That’s one of the most difficult things to do,” Mascali said.
It’s also hard to know if people are buying tickets at the same time as they are selling them, he noted.
Mapping the state of Kentucky’s lottery can be difficult because the state is