RALEIGH — North Carolina Education Lottery players will now be able to check their tickets in stores or on a mobile phone app, Lottery officials announced this week.
Every location that sells lottery tickets now has either a ticket checker or a lottery vending machine with a ticket checker. In addition, the North Carolina Lottery Official Mobile App, the smartphone app for the organization, now has a ticket-checking function. By using the phone’s camera to scan the ticket’s bar code, players will be able to see for themselves if their ticket is a winner.
“This way, a ticket with a prize on it never has to leave a winner’s hands,” said Mark Michalko, executive director of the North Carolina Education Lottery.
The announcement comes the same week Lottery officials announced the completion of statewide integrity tests revealing the highest compliance rate since the lottery’s inception. Stores selling tickets were checked and achieved a 99.2 percent compliance rate, according to lottery officials.
The campaign, conducted between November 2015 and June 2018, involved 247 retail locations in 47 counties and 108 cities and towns. Of the 247 locations, 245 passed the compliance check.
“Retailers who sell lottery tickets are great partners, and their work helps ensure that North Carolinians collect the prizes that they win,” said Michalko.
The checks involved a lottery investigator, as well as local and state law enforcement agencies. An undercover investigator presented a retailer at each location a special official-looking lottery ticket with a winning scratch-off prize exceeding $600. At 245 of the locations, retailers followed lottery policies and procedures by telling the undercover agent the ticket was a winner and the prize must be claimed at a lottery office.
Two retail employees kept the ticket and told the investigator it was not a winner. The two employees are facing criminal charges, and the Lottery terminated ticket sales at stores involved in one of the cases.
“Two cases of a retailer taking someone’s prize are two cases too many,” Michalko said. “We want all our retailers to pass this test. We’ll continue training retailers and providing tools to players to protect themselves with the goal of achieving 100 percent compliance.”
To keep winning tickets secure, lottery players should immediately sign the back of the ticket to establish ownership. Lottery players also can help keep games secure by reporting any suspicious activity or concerns to the lottery’s Security Hotline at 888-732-6235.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.