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NJ Lottery Commission Tells Ticket Holder 'You Won, But Didn't'

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BLOOMFIELD, NJ - Bloomfield resident Robert Chalet thought he had a “winning hand” in a New Jersey Lottery High Card Poker scratch-off ticket that he bought in Nutley.

But when he went to redeem the ticket, he was told that he had not won.

Chalet says his ticket is a $150,000 winner. But the state Lottery Commission says at least for now, it is not.

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Chalet bought the $5 “High Card Poker” scratch off ticket on Aug. 10 around 11 p.m. at the 7-11 store located at Kingsland Street and Darling Avenue here.

“I couldn’t believe I had won so I showed the ticket to my cousin to make sure I was not seeing things,” Chalet said. “We both looked again and again. I read the rules twice too and decided ‘yes,’ I had a winning ticket!” said Chalet

Yesterday, after filling out the claim form at the state Lottery office in Clifton, Chalet said he was told by a member of the Lottery Commission staff,  “You won and you didn’t win.”

On his game card, the dealers hand was 4-6-7-10-Q. Chalet's hand was 5-6-9-J-Q

According to the bearer of bad news, the Commission pulled the scratch-off game on Aug. 10, because the rules were not changed on the tickets. The Commission was to be honoring tickets that were still in circulation that had not yet been picked up yesterday by lottery agents.

Chalet said the Lottery Commission’s advice to him was, “You should get a lawyer."

The description and details of the High Card Poker game includes: “MORE THAN $13.6 MILLION IN PRIZES! Approximately 4.32 million HIGH CARD POKER tickets are initially planned in this game. The New Jersey Lottery reserves the right to subsequently increase this quantity of tickets. Should additional tickets be introduced, prize levels and frequency of winning will be consistent with the initial quantity of tickets. In the HIGH CARD POKER Instant Game, New Jersey allocates approximately 65% of the gross receipts to prizes. On the average, better than 1 ticket in 5 wins a prize. Tickets Printed = 4,365,360”

As of 5 p.m. yesterday, the lottery website showed that of the three $150,000 winning tickets printed, the three prizes were still remaining.

The question remains: Does Chalet hold a winning hand?

 “Of course, I’m going to get an attorney and pursue this,” Chalet said. “My largest winner before this one was $50.”

The following update has since been posted on njlottery.com:

“To clarify and avoid player confusion please see the following message from the New Jersey Lottery – Effective August 10, 2017, the New Jersey Lottery is immediately suspending the sale of High Card Poker, Game #01436, due to the potential for players to misunderstand the game’s win scenarios as stated on the back of tickets.  High Card Poker, which went on sale on Aug. 7, should be considered a void game, effective August 10, 2017, according to Lottery Rules and Regulations, as well as the General Rules Governing Instant Games. Lottery retailers are removing High Card Poker tickets from their inventory and no additional tickets will be distributed.  All winning tickets already in circulation will be honored. Retailers may continue to validate tickets they have sold and should follow normal cashing procedures for prizes less than $600 and assist players with claims over $600 in submitting their claim form to the Lottery. For further information please contact the New Jersey Lottery at 1-800-222-0996."

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