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Keller @ Large: Public Mistrust And New Casinos May Undercut Lottery

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(AP Graphic)

(AP Graphic)

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – The lottery’s “Cash WinFall” game is now being investigated after a betting group reportedly figured out a way to buy nearly all of the tickets for one very big jackpot.

The Boston Globe reported that a club led by an MIT graduate bought more than 80 percent of the tickets for one drawing and won more than $2 million.

Lottery proceeds are the lifeblood of city and town budgets across the state, and they’re already threatened by mounting competition for gambling dollars. And as the man in charge of our state lottery acknowledged on Thursday, the last thing they need is a loss of public confidence.

Watch Keller @ Large:

State Treasurer Steve Grossman said he hopes the probe and ensuing reforms will dispel any public doubts about the lottery he oversees.

“Every person who’s a customer of the lottery needs to know that every game is fair and equitable and there’s a level playing field,” said Grossman.

Without confidence in the state lottery, lottery players might start preferring the odds online or at the casinos and slots in nearby states and coming soon to Massachusetts, a threat to lottery proceeds acknowledged by casino proponents, including the state treasurer.

“I know the lottery will take some kind of a hit,” said Grossman.

“Bottom line, I think we’ll be better off, more revenue, more local aid, more resources and more jobs,” Grossman continued. “It’s always risky to do anything in the public square.”

What’s at risk if public mistrust and competition undercut local aid drawn from lottery revenues? As one recent commercial put it, over $4.6 billion is at risk, for everything from improving roads and schools to hiring police officers and firefighters.

“I think the taxpayers can count on the governor, and on me, and on the attorney general,” said Grossman.

Setting aside Grossman, who only took office this year, clearly no one was alert enough to spot and blow the whistle on the legal rigging of the Cash WinFall game.

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