News, Culture & Society

California teen’s $5m winning lotto ticket denied winnings

  • Ward Thomas sent his son, 16, into a gas station to use previous Scratchers to buy more, of the five purchased one hit a prize of $5million
  • Lotto Commission is denying him the winnings because they say his son is a minor and was not legally allowed to make the purchase
  • Thomas has sued the Ca. Lotto Commission and the gas station who sold the ticket to his son because he says they failed to tell him he was not of age
  •  State Atty. Gen. Office says he and his son broke the law when his minor son bought the tickets and Thomas tried to collect the winnings 

A man whose 16-year-old son purchased a $5million winning lotto ticket on his behalf sued the California Lottery Commission for denying him his winnings, but the state is fighting back.

The state Attorney General’s Office says in a new filing in the suit, that a minor purchasing the Scratchers amounts to ‘illegal gambling’ and therefore the money should not be paid out.

Ward Thomas of Long Beach says he sent his son into the Mobil Gas Station with tickets he previously purchased and used the winnings to buy five more Scratchers.

This Mobil Gas Station is named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by Ward Thomas who says they should have told his 16-year-old son he was too young to play

Ward hit the $5million prize but is being denied his winnings 

Ward hit the $5million prize but is being denied his winnings 

One of the five was a wining ticket with a $5million prize. Ward went to claim the prize at a lottery office himself, but two months later the prize was denied because his son was under 18-years-old and therefore not legally allowed to play.   

Thomas sued  the Lottery Commission and the gas station on July 20, claiming the gas station did not check his son’s age or alert him he was too young to buy the tickets. 

He also says the commission was negligent in not advertising explicitly that players have to be over 18-years-old. 

Deputy Attorney General James Waian says in the papers that any person who is not of legal age to purchase a lotto ticket and tries to claim a prize with someone who is of legal age is guilty of a misdemeanor.

‘In a perverse twist, plaintiff is seeking to profit from admittedly participating in illegal gambling by a minor and claiming a prize on an invalid ticket, activity that the California Lottery specifically protects against,’ Waian says in the papers according to CBS4 Los Angeles.

Waian adds: ‘Even if Thomas and his son were not aware of the age requirement, as the old axiom states, ‘ignorance of the law is no excuse.’