A popular state Lottery game was suspended over cheating concerns and Connecticut gamblers could be shortchanged out of hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
Connecticut Lottery officials said the issue was with the Five Card Cash game.
They've since shut it down on Thursday because they said some retailers were intentionally manipulating a mechanism of the instant game for their own benefit.
“At this point, we believe that lottery sales agents were able to manipulate the lottery terminals producing a disproportionate amount of winning tickets. With the number of winning tickets being larger than usual, the state may have lost some revenue, for which full restitution will be sought as appropriate. Thus far, the investigation indicates the public was not harmed in any manner,” Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan A. Harris said in a statement on Friday night.
Since the game started more than a year ago, there's been two ways to win, the traditional nightly drawing, and an instant win feature.
Customers told Eyewitness News that while they're glad the problem is being fixed, the fact that it happened at all is concerning.
"You know you felt real safe when they put the system in place, you could check your tickets and the scratch off tickets," said Phillip Hansley of Bloomfield. "Now you got me wondering about that. Everyone's always scamming."
The Department of Consumer Protection said it will investigate the matter.
The Lottery said it will be installing new software to enhance security.
Parash Darji, who is the owner of Steve's Liquor in Wethersfield, explained how easily players could get conned. Darji said when a ticket is printed, a clerk could glance and see if it's an instant winner. The clerk can set it aside for himself and then just print the player a new ticket.
Darji said it's something he's never done, but added all it would take is a sleight of hand and a gullible customer.
“People can keep the money and put it in their pocket as much as they want,” Darji said.
Players with winning Five Card Cash tickets from Nov. 13 drawing will be able to cash them in once sales resume.
The lottery said Five Card Cash will be up and running possibly by next week. They're upgrading new software.
But, Darji said the easiest way to avoid any cheating is to just get rid of the instant win completely.
Copyright 2015 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.