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news blog > article

Lottery conducts checks on retailers

August 22, 2018 Posted by NC Lottery at 11:53 AM

The lottery has safeguards in place to ensure winning tickets are handled correctly, including checks to see how employees at stores that sell lottery tickets follow lottery rules. We just completed a new round of checks and it showed a 99.2 percent compliance rate.

The checks involved a lottery investigator and law enforcement officers from local and state agencies presenting to a retailer a special lottery ticket that looked exactly like the other tickets in a scratch-off game with a prize exceeding $600. All but two of the 247 retailers complied with lottery policies and procedures by telling the undercover investigator posing as a lottery player that the ticket was a winner and the prize must be claimed at a lottery office.

The campaign, conducted between November 2016 and June 2018, checked retail locations in 47 counties and 108 cities and towns.

Two retail employees told the investigator the ticket was a non-winning ticket and kept it. Criminal charges are pending against the retail employees involved in both cases. The lottery also took administrative action, including terminating ticket sales at stores involved in one of the cases.

It’s also possible now for all players to check their own tickets. The lottery has put equipment in every store either a ticket checker or a lottery vending machine with a ticket checker. And the lottery’s smartphone app, the N.C. Lottery Official Mobile App, has a ticket-checking function that allows players to use the app’s camera to scan the ticket’s bar code to see if it is a winner.
By using the ticket checker or the app, players with a prize-winning ticket never has to give it to anyone else until they claim their prize.

To keep your winning tickets secure, you should immediately sign the back of the ticket to establish ownership. You also can help keep our games secure by reporting any suspicious activity or concerns you have to the lottery’s Security Hotline at (888) 732-6235.


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3/20/2023 01:32 - NC Lottery

@Kristy Hi Kristy, Our security staff has a detective program to try to identify all kinds of potential fraud. Anytime you have a concern about something that happened at a particular store that sells lottery tickets, please either call our Customer Service team at 877-962-7529 between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or contact our Security division 24 hours a day at 1-888-732-6235.

3/19/2023 09:07 - Kristy S.

I went to purchase pick 3 tickets and pick four tickets and I also paid for gas on the same transaction as I sometimes do. But because it was so cold the cashier let me pull off and didn't try and stop me before finishing up pumping my gas to let me know I left my tickets behind. When I realized what I did I went back to the Harris Teeter gas station where I purchase them at to let them know I had indeed left my Winning tickets because my number did come out today but I was told that the next Cashier gave my tickets to someone else who came there. And when she went to give them back they let her keep my tickets anyway after she told them they was not hers. I spent 64 dollars in lottery for them to let someone walk away with my tickets and my Winnings tickets. I used my debit card for the transaction and I would like to know can my transaction be pulled up and it shows my purchases for the draw games that I had purchased.

6/20/2022 11:47 - Angela G.

I purchased a $30 200X ticket at Store# 2723970 Circle K at 305 Cleveland Avenue in Kings Mountain, NC. I won $60. I then tried to get my cash and was told she did not have the money to pay out and I would need to go somewhere else. This should not happen with gas prices as high as they are, people shouldn't have to ride around looking for somewhere else to cash in a winning ticket. Luckily, I was able to go to the Shell Station down the street where the cashier cheerfully paid me my $60. I will not be buying anymore lottery tickets at the Circle K.NC Lottery
Hey, Angela! We apologize that you had this experience when trying to claim your winnings, but we're glad you were able to claim your prize elsewhere. Thanks for letting us know, and congratulations on the win!

1/14/2022 04:11 - NC Lottery

@Eric: We completely understand your frustration, Eric, and we apologize for the inconvenience. While we encourage all of our retailers to pay out prizes under $600, and expect them to offer an alternative, such as a business check, when they do not have cash on hand, we cannot require them to do so. Please know you can always claim prizes by mail or at our offices as well if you cannot find a retailer to cash in your prize. https://nclottery.com/ClaimPrizes. Congratulations on the win!

1/14/2022 03:28 - Eric J.

As easy as it is to play lottery & pay for it, it should be just as easy to cash in your winnings, I went to 3 stores in my area off of Lake wheeler road & all 3 retailers stated they don't have the funds to cash it. This is very unfair & frustrating for not only myself but other lottery players around the area especially those who work 9-5 & don't have the time to visit headquarters. It almost discourages people from playing because of the difficulty it takes to get paid. The sad part is the same retailers that say they don't have the funds are the busiest stores in the are when it comes to lottery sales. It just doesn't make sense when it should.

1/04/2022 09:02 - Rashad B.

There is another possible issue going on. The circle k in Goldsboro, NC on Wayne memorial seems to always have issues with Lottery being down. I just went at 8pm and there was a note on door saying no lottery sales lottery down. How often does this happen and I’m starting to think they do it to avoid the extra work lottery customers give themNC Lottery
Hi there, Rashad, thanks for reaching out! That individual retailer may have been experiencing an issue with their systems that would have prevented them from conducting lottery sales. Lottery systems were not down yesterday though, so if you run into this again with the same store we recommend trying a different retailer. We will definitely pass this info along to look into it though!

11/13/2021 02:02 - Ryan S.

I was told they could not sell me any tickets due too “shift change” but witnessed the man in front of me purchase tickets. This has happened multiple times and I was told by another retailer too report it next time.NC Lottery
Hi Ryan, thanks for your comment! Our players are our eyes and ears across the state. Our security staff has a detective program to try to identify all kinds of potential fraud. Anytime you have a concern about something that happened at a particular store that sells lottery tickets, please either call our customer service team between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 877-962-7529 or contact our security division 24 hours a day at 1-888-732-6235. Thanks!

5/08/2021 02:06 - Joseph W.

I was told by Circle K on Arbor Vista in Charlotte that the don’t cash lottery tickets anymore and my only option was to get 40$ more tickets. That’s such bullshit. They pay out in South Carolina right down the street. Maybe I’ll just go back to playing there. NC Lottery
Hi Joseph, thank you for letting us know. A retailer should be able to pay any prize under $600. If they don't have the cash on hand they should offer alternate forms of payment, like a business check or money order. I apologize for the inconvenience, and we will look into this issue right away.

12/29/2019 07:09 - Isaac C.

Why should anyone play your lottery if the store can just refuse to pay you your winnings! I've complained several times about the TA station at the gibsonville exit off interstate 85.I was told that the manager could unlock the lottery machine since it wouldn't scan my Ohio Id, yet Everytime the store looks at me like I'm a nut and reguses! Today I went in with another $10 winner and was told they wasn't gonna cash it!!! When I buy the tickets I don't ask that you wait for the money! It's ridiculous, I think the attorney general should be informed since it continues to happen even though I report it!! NC Lottery
Hi Isaac, we're sorry to hear this location is refusing to payout winning tickets. We've flagged this issue with our team to investigate. Thank you.

10/05/2019 12:43 - Michael R.

A store clerk told me it is illegal to get trashed tickets out of the garbage. Is this true? And a store in Aquadale NC Stanly co has now twice told me my winning ticket was previously cashed and found out that the Aquadale NC store had lied. NC Lottery
Hey Michael, There is no law that prevents folks from finding tickets that have been discarded, but we always recommend players check their ticket using the ticket checker on the mobile app or at retail locations and collect their Lucke-Rewards points before discarding the ticket. We're extremely sorry to hear about your experience at the Aquadale store, and we'd like to know more about what happened. Please give our security team a call at 1-888-732-6235 so they can do some further investigation.

5/26/2019 02:20 - Sandra H.

I was in Exxon gas 1421 E Andrews Ave, Henderson, 3rd in line for cashier when man ran in and jumped to front of line cussing. He said "You just said my tix wasn't a winner and I took it to Food Lion and they said it was already cashed out $200. You gonna give me my mfing money right now. You thought I was gonna throw it away." The cashier started fumbling with papers and then said "Yea, yea here it is, I made a mistake." meanwhile the man is still ranting, I thought he was going to pull out a gun. The cashier stepped behind the rack of tixs so the man couldn't see, and I witnessed him pulling two $100 bill from his own wallet. He then gave it to the man who left the store. Truly frightening, and if that man had tossed the tix the cashier would have gotten away with stealing his winnings. NC Lottery
Thanks for sharing this with us, Sandra. Please give our security team a call at 1-888-732-6235 so that they can investigate this further.

5/02/2019 10:41 - Nancy N.

why is my lottery cash five purchase saying pending? NC Lottery
Sorry for the trouble, Nancy. Please give our online team a call to have them resolve your issue. Their phone number is 1-855-767-1863. Thanks!

9/10/2018 07:02 - William A.

Thanks for the response I would think those audits are public info how about give us a link to the latest audits. ThanksNC Lottery
You are correct in that our audit information is available to the public! While blog moderators don't have those documents on hand to link to you, we are happy to share them if you email your public information request to player.info@lotterync.net. Someone will work with you directly to provide those reports. Thanks!

9/07/2018 12:52 - Brenda M.

I would like a answer on this question, when a person plays a large amount of points in any game can that help a person win? another way of saying it is does that help one's chances of winning or what.NC Lottery
Hi Brenda, You bring up a great question. The odds of winning in a Lucke-Rewards or second-chance drawing will vary based off of the total entries. The more entries you make, the higher your chances of winning might be, but it's important to remember that just one entry gives you the chance to win!

9/06/2018 03:13 - Sherry P.

I play the lottery and sometimes people who don’t get really irritated because they have to wait. I also have people disregard me because hey have others and dont want to make them wait. I have also went to go to my carfor cash to buy another ticket and he employee buy it and scratch and win in front of me.Right when you thought you seen it all.I still play. I can say on a positive note the NC education lottery assisted my daughter with her tuition and that was great.

9/05/2018 07:24 - Roger K.

There is no law in North Carolina that bars retailers from playing the lottery, however, more than 80 percent of lottery retailers in North Carolina have a “No Play on Duty” policy for employees. Hey LZ, That should be 100 percent No Play on Duty policy.. I walked in on this store owner scratching ticket. I ask her did you win! of course she didn't know what I was saying, she was one of them India woman. She smile at me, took my money and I left. So I say yes to NO PLAY ON DUTY IN NC..!!

9/01/2018 06:58 - Darin S.

Hi, Thanks for the entertainment that NC Lotto provides. Here is my question.... 1. Do we have to keep our scratch ticket that we scanned in for a second chance drawing? 2. I ask b/c the retailers will NOT return a scratch ticket that was paid out. I like to keep them so I can put them into a 2nd chance drawing and for tax reason in case I ever win a good prize. I understand they say they must keep them so a person doesn’t try and claim the same prize more than once, but wouldn’t their computer tell them if it has already been paid? Anyway, no big deal unless I have to have a scanned ticket to win a 2nd Chance drawing. Thanks again NC Lottery
No. Once you scan in a ticket for a second-chance drawing, you can discard it. Remember you can use the N.C. Lottery Official Mobile App to easily scan your ticket into Lucke-Rewards before you claim your prize at the store. Thank you for the kinds words. Glad you are having fun.

8/27/2018 04:00 - Elsie S.

There are gas stations in the Raleigh area refused to pay out a $100.00 ticket said he could give me gas or purchases. I took my ticket and left. This is not the first time in the Raleigh are this has happened. What is it that some of the stores hold out putting out the new tickets that come out the first Tuesday, of the month. (you guys promote it) but the retailers are not always doing this it's like they want to force you to buy what they have on display also how about if they run out I've been told we have to wait for the manager who want be back for a day or week before they can replace the missing tickets they sell out of. Okay these are just a few of my concerns. NC Lottery
Hey Elsie, Thanks for sharing this with us. Most times this situation arises when a retailer does not keep large amounts of cash on hand at all times of the day. This is often due to security concerns. If this happens again, we recommend visiting to another retail location to claim.

8/26/2018 11:27 - LaToya K.

When will the Kiosk machines begin taking credit/debit cards. This is the best FEATURE for VA STATE LOTTERY. NC is passing money by. :( NC Lottery
Hey Latoya, Our team has been working on a new feature for lottery vending machines to be able to accept debit transactions, but the new feature is not ready to roll out quite yet. No date set -- so stay tuned!

8/26/2018 10:31 - William A.

Who’s checking on the lottery? I would love to see a audit done on the odds. I think as a player that spends 5k a year on scratch offs I would like to make sure the odds are right. That’s how I decide on tickets sometimes. NC Lottery
Hi William, We're glad you find the information about ticket odds useful. After a scratch-off game ends, the lottery's finance department conducts an end-of-game reconciliation process. The reconciliation is reviewed by the lottery's internal auditors, who report to the state-appointed lottery commission. All of the lottery’s financial and gaming systems operations are subject to an annual IT audit and a biennial security audit by independent outside auditors.

8/26/2018 08:06 - Sandra W.

I play the lottery daily. I get very frustrated by gas stations not being able to give cash back over 50.00. I see them take in 50.00 to 100.00 sales and immediately put the money in the safe. Some won't let you get tickets instead. What ever happened to getting a money order, then I wouldn't have to run around to cash them. Another problem is the tickets run out and they don't replace them for days, even when the employee in charge of filling up the tickets is just outside smoking. The lottery ends up losing alot of money every day. These stations hate selling tickets. State they dont make any money selling them. Wish pick 3 and 4 were available to buy online. Love the phone scanner feature. NC Lottery
Hi Sandra, all lottery retailers should redeem winning tickets $599 or less in cash or a business check. Are retailers near you not redeeming tickets over $50? Please let us know if so.

8/26/2018 06:38 - Ricky S.

Who conducting checks on the N.C. Lottery ? Shady stuff going on with the pick 3 and pick 4 numbers that have been coming out for the past 4 or 5 months. No quads in years and payouts on winning pick numbers are real inconsistent. This three pre-draws is shady also.NC Lottery
Hi Ricky, there are multiple checks in place to ensure the integrity and security of our drawings. Lottery ball sets are tested and certified by the Standards Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, which is the regulatory agency responsible for enforcing the NC Weights and Measures Act. An auditor from Thomas & Gibbs is present to ensure that the lottery follows the detailed security procedures, that there are no anomalies with the pretests or procedures for the live drawing, and certifies the results of the drawing.

8/26/2018 10:31 - Evelyn P.

Thanks for your diligence! I had a retailer tell me my ticket wasn't a winner last year, but I knew it was. I asked for my ticket back and left. When I scan in a winning ticket, using my scanner, for the drawings, it goes through but does not indicate that's it's a winner. Is there anyway to let us know it's a winner so that possible winning tickets will not get trashed? Your system use to reject it, which prompted me to look at it again. Sometimes we don't realize it's a winner due to the complexity of the game or senioritis(smile). In other words, too much to look for(smile). Also, when scanning a ticket that has already been scanned, can IT dept. make it so that we can scan over this one without having to delete every box already filled? Thank you.

8/26/2018 10:30 - Tiffany A. S.

I went to Kangaroo on Durham rd in wake forest a couple months back to turn in a ticket well the clerk scanned it then scanned it again I watched her then came back to me telling me it had already been collected which I KNEW was a lie I told her that’s impossible she said well it’s been claimed there was a line of people and rather than show myself over $10 I just left and will never return but yeah some clerks are shady

8/25/2018 04:48 - Tonya E.

I love this game

8/24/2018 04:35 - MARGARET M.

When scratch off games end, it is not known by all the local stores in my area. I would like to see compliance, but I know of recent issues that need to be monitored not reported if the actions are not changing. NC Lottery
Sure. Hearing concerns from players help us ensure things work the way they should. If it is a security issue, please call our Security Helpline at (888) 732-6235. All retailers get notified about the end of games. So if it is a training issue for retailers, call Customer Service at (877) 962-7529, and they will work with our Sales team to schedule some additional training.

8/23/2018 06:14 - Berry B.

Great Job,Plzs kept it up!!

8/23/2018 03:11 - stephane d.

I am certain you will not post the two stores that failed the test but can you announce the county in which they are located? NC Lottery
Hi Stephane, One case involved a store in Kinston in Lenoir County. Based on a review of what happened, the lottery suspended sales at that store. When the terms of the suspension were not followed, the lottery terminated sales at that store and a sister store under the same ownership nearby. The other case involved a store in Wilmington in New Hanover County. The employee involved no longer works at that store. The lottery has a range of sanctions or administrative actions it can take based on the circumstances of what happened.

8/23/2018 11:09 - james w.

I went to the Food Lion In Taylorsville NC with a $500 pick 3 and the management told me they did not cash in tickets for that amount. The young girl did not even scan it or anything.NC Lottery
Thank you for sharing this information with us, James. Unfortunately we do not know the circumstances surrounding why the retail location wasn't able to pay your prize. However, we can say that most times this situation occurs is because the retailer does not have the cash on-hand at the moment. If this happens again, we suggest going to another retail location to claim. You also have the option of coming to one of our regional offices or mailing your claim to us!

8/23/2018 09:50 - Hatice K.

I saw few elderly does not know how to check their tickets of ticker check machine, I helped them & show them how to scan their tickets.I don't like ticket scanners because the red laser does not show winning #'a quickly & does not read quickly enough.NC Lottery
Thanks for helping teach a few players how to check their tickets, Hatice!

8/23/2018 08:03 - Irwin F.

Thank you for your diligence in checking retailers out. I've come across some places who hire dishonest sellers who lessen the amount you've won when you submit multiple winning tickets. Stuff like that needs to be stopped.NC Lottery
We agree, Irwin. If you ever see something that doesn't look right, we urge you to call our Security Hotline at (888) 732-6235 to file a report.

8/22/2018 08:46 - Tatiana D.

Please, scan all your tickets, including the draw games. It is easy to find the scanner now. Don't give tickets to the clerk to scan. You really can't depend on people's honesty. Besides, it is easy to miss a matching number or to make a mistake in the game, especially when you are tired. It happened to me-I almost threw $100 and $250 winning tickets in the trash. That is why so many wins go unclaimed.The scanner is your friend!

8/22/2018 05:46 - William M.

Another option for Players should be an on line check, on this Lottery website !! Believe it or not, not everyone has a smart phone still. Before every ticket was made eligible for entering for additional drawings, you did tell people, when they entered what they thought were losing tickets, that the ticket in fact was a winner. As part of that process of entering any ticket now, just tell us what, if we have a winning ticket.

8/22/2018 04:51 - m. earl b.

who were the retailers that did not comply. where are they located. they might be cheating other people too. NC Lottery
Good evening, Earl. The lottery ended lottery sales at two of the stores involved so they no longer sell lottery tickets. In the second case, the employee involved no longer works at the store.

8/22/2018 04:41 - yvonne f.

I remember a retailer telling me some time ago that most of the winners on the scratch offs are usually the first couple of tickets in a pack or at the end of a pack, after I asked how is it every time I buy tickets its the 30-35th ticket. They buy up the first few of a roll before most people get their hands on them or before they even put them out. I remember a clerk telling me that had to put a new roll in and when she gave me the ticket from the new roll it was number 35($3 and $5 tickets). NC Lottery
Yvonne. The info provided to you from that person was incorrect. Prizes in instant tickets are distributed randomly and no one knows where the winning tickets are. The winning tickets could be anywhere in a pack. If the winning tickets were always in the front, it would not be random. Sorry that you got incorrect information. Glad you checked with us.

8/22/2018 01:57 - Renee H.

I would like to know can employees scratch off tickets while working ?I have went into stores and purchase tickets and go back in and employees would be doing this and knowing no one else had went in behind me.ThanksNC Lottery
Hi Renee, There is no law in North Carolina that bars retailers from playing the lottery, however, more than 80 percent of lottery retailers in North Carolina have a “No Play on Duty” policy for employees. If you ever see something that concerns you at a retail location we encourage you to call our security division at 888-732-6235.

8/22/2018 12:14 - Sharone B.

I hope that you guys checked the store at the corner of Ashe Ave and Western Blvd. The guy there tried to cheat me out of lottery winnings recently. The funny thing is I called and made a report of the incident and was never called back. Not to mention he redeemed one of my tickets and didn't give me my money back...NC Lottery
Hi Meekah, Thank you for sharing this information with us. We have passed your comments along to our security division so that they can investigate it further. We want our players to feel secure and confident with all practices when they play our games, and appreciate you taking the time to let us know about this.

Buy, Scan, and Check tickets with the NC Lottery Official Mobile App.