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Chief Executive Assures Customers Prizes are Safe

15 November 2005

NZ Lotteries Chief Executive Assures Customers Prizes are Safe

Customers can safely claim prizes from New Zealand's almost 800 lottery outlets, knowing they will get whatever prize money they have won in any lottery game, Chief Executive Trevor Hall said today.

Mr Hall said a former lottery retailer in Raumati, near Wellington, who today pleaded guilty to two charges; using a document and obtaining by deception, was a 'rogue operator' who had been caught.

"It's a case of a 'bad apple' whose crime has quite unfairly brought into question the reputation of all lottery retailers.

"We have rigorous selection processes that we use to select our retailers and, in this case, this rogue retailer needed to commit a crime - lying about previous convictions - before he could become part of our network.

"We've now put in place even more rigorous checking procedures for prospective retailers, but I am confident that with the exception of the ex-retailer convicted today, we have a group of trustworthy retailers selling our products," said Mr Hall.

Mr Hall said NZ Lotteries dealt with the customer's complaint about their prize winnings not being paid in full with the utmost seriousness.

"Once the customer who had the winning Second Division ticket raised concerns we promptly investigated the situation, reported the matter to the police and the retailer's right to sell our products was revoked.

"The winner was paid out the full prize amount, and no one received prize money they were not entitled to.

"This outcome underlines the infallibility of our systems. They are foolproof, and our security processes are robust. We will detect attempts to defraud the system as this retailer tried to do, and will prevent them occurring.

"We sell around one million tickets every week and pay out many thousands of prizes, and this is the first time in our knowledge that a crime like this has been committed."

"I can reassure all of our customers that if they have won a prize they will receive their money, and we have comprehensive systems in place to ensure that this occurs," says Mr Hall.

"We have taken this matter extremely seriously and if any customers have any doubts whatsoever about prizes, we encourage them to contact us."

ENDS

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