By Gabriel Monte: Freedom Newspapers
A Clovis retailer has filed a lawsuit to stop the New Mexico Lottery from discontinuing games before prizes can be awarded.
Randy Stansell, owner of Stansell’s Thriftway Supermarket, said the lottery is taking advantage of scratch-off lottery players.
“They’re just doing things that if I were to do it, I’d get thrown in jail for,” he said.
Lottery spokeswoman Linda Hamlin said lottery officials were reviewing the lawsuit and it would be premature to comment.
Attorney Warren Frost of Logan, who is representing Stansell and two other men in the class-action lawsuit, alleges the lottery cost players millions of dollars by discontinuing games before prizes could be awarded.
“They’re pulling games with big winners still out, and that changes the odds and everything else,” Stansell said.
The two other men involved in the lawsuit are Kenneth Nutt, who owns two KC Express stores in Clovis and Portales, and Chris Canning, who works at the Logan Super Stop in Logan. Nutt and Canning could not be reached for comment.
Stansell filed the lawsuit last week at the state district court in Albuquerque.
The lawsuit asks the court to stop the lottery from discontinuing scratch-off games before winners can claim their prizes. It also asks the court to outline when the lottery can pick up unsold games.
Frost said the lottery pulled a $500,000 ticket in October but let it stay out on a limited basis after complaints from retailers.
Stansell said more people could join his lawsuit. He said he has been playing the New Mexico Lottery since it started 11 years ago and many of his customers play it as well.
“They’re not doing them right,” he said. “People play those games with the intent that they might get lucky and win big.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.