immediate release --March 4, 1999.
Contact Bob Brammer, 515-281-6699
of the Attorney General's Office:
"We recommend that doubts and uncertainty
be resolved in favor of paying the prize."
With our advice and
counsel, the Iowa Lottery last week asked the Court to determine the ownership
interests in the Feb. 10 winning Powerball lottery ticket, with a prize
of $15.9 million. The Lottery had been confronted with multiple claims
of ownership in the winning ticket, and one claim was made by a person
under age 21.
The multiple ownership
issue has been resolved. Sarah Elder has withdrawn any claim of ownership
in the winning ticket.
Regarding the issue
of under-age sale, we have advised the Lottery based on our review of
the case that we conclude the facts are ambiguous and the application
of the law is somewhat unclear. The stipulated and clear facts of the
purchase in this case are very brief and simple, essentially that Timothy
Schultz decided to buy a Powerball ticket about 6:45 p.m. on Feb. 10,
that he only had fifty cents in his pocket, that he asked Sarah Elder
if she had fifty cents, that she provided Timothy with fifty cents, that
Timothy bought the ticket, and that he wrote "Sarah + Tim's"
on the ticket.
These are the established
and stipulated facts of the events immediately surrounding the purchase
of the winning ticket. As the consent order filed today concludes, these
facts are subject to interpretation and do not conclusively establish
a sale of the ticket to an underage person.
In such a case, we
recommend that doubts and uncertainty be resolved in favor of paying the
prize. We reach this conclusion in the interest of fairness. The public
in general and the winner in particular have paid the price of the tickets.
The State has profited from the sale of the lottery tickets. To pursue
a fight to keep more of the proceeds is unfair, unless it is clear that
the purchase is illegal, and in this case that is not clear.
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