New York lottery officials say a disrespectful message on a player’s scratch ticket was a freak accident but the player is far from convinced.
A few weeks back, Nick Lynough, a 22-year-old college student from Elmira, New York, purchased a $5 Wheel of Fortune scratch ticket from a machine in a local bar. While scratching away the ticket’s chemical coating, Lynough was shocked to find the phrase “You Elmira Trash” spelled out in the ticket’s Person, Place and Things categories.
Lynough told ABC News that he originally believed the ticket was “fake and tampered with.” Shock was then replaced by anger and the notion that Lynough, as an Elmira native, was being “disrespected” by some prankster at International Game Technology (IGT), which produced the ticket. Lynough eventually persuaded Sheriff Christopher Moss of the Chemung County Sheriff’s Office that the ticket was sufficiently suspicious to warrant further investigation.
Moss forwarded the ticket to the New York State Lottery, which conducted its own investigation. On Wednesday, lottery officials confirmed that the ticket was legit and that the “unfortunate arrangement of words on this individual ticket was completely random, coincidental and – most importantly – unintentional.”
The New York Gaming Commission also weighed in on the brouhaha, saying the odds of these letters appearing in this particular order were “one in 900m.’ For the record, odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are one in 258m, while the Powerball jackpot odds are one in 175m.
Satisfied with this explanation, Moss said there’s nothing more for law enforcement to do. Lynough remains skeptical, however, and not just because his now famous ticket failed to win him any prize. Meanwhile, IGT has been asked to remove the word ‘trash’ from the possible results of the Wheel of Fortune game.