Illinois lottery provider responds to lottery losers who sued

By Zachary Lewis | May 24, 2017

BENTON, Ill. (Legal Newsline) – Northstar Lottery Group has filed a motion to dismiss against a class action lawsuit accusing the group of misrepresentation and deception.  

The lawsuit was filed on April 24 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois by four plaintiffs, Illinois retailer Raqqa Inc., Michael Cairo, Jason Van Lente and John Bean. The plaintiffs state Northstar failed to distribute winning tickets and had discontinued scratch-off tickets before the inventory could be exhausted and participants could win the "top prizes."

Cairo, Lente and Bean alleged they had “regularly purchased” tickets from 2011 to 2017 but consistently lost and are seeking damages for injuries suffered. Raqqa stated it had previously entered into an agreement with the Illinois Lottery Department as a ticket distributor. 

As part of their alleged agreement, Raqqa stated it received a sales commission and was eligible for bonuses when winning tickets were sold. Raqqa claims it lost in both commission and bonuses when Northstar allegedly discontinued their games prematurely before grand prizes were awarded and their inventory had sold out.  

Moreover, according to the complaint, the plaintiffs also claimed Northstar acted as an overseer to the Illinois Lottery and manipulated the odds, planning the games and determining the number of manufactured tickets. It stated Northstar supplied more tickets than Raqqa could sell.

The four plaintiffs will represent all Illinois citizens in the class action suit “who purchased or sold Illinois Lottery instant game tickets between July 1, 2011, until the present."

Northstar filed a motion to dismiss April 24.

"Boiled down to their essence, Plaintiffs’ claims reflect their dissatisfaction at having played the scratch-off instant lottery and—like the majority of lottery players—having lost, or in the case of Plaintiff retailer Raqqa, not having sold a grand-prizewinning ticket and reaping the resulting commissions," the motion states.

"Borrowing the narrative of a newspaper article printed in late 2016, Plaintiffs advance a host of claims, all of which turn on the conclusory allegations that Northstar somehow implemented a 'scheme' to 'maximize profits' by printing more instant lottery tickets than it knew would sell and discontinuing certain instant lottery games before top prizes for those games were awarded." 

Northstar also argues the plaintiffs are unable to prove how their claims of injury or harm correlates to Northstar’s conduct and their claims “fails as a matter of law." 

Moreover, it states the plaintiffs' claims of “common-law and statutory fraud” fail to demonstrate an intent to deceive, cause injury, or “induce reliance."  

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