A Long Beach man sued the state and California Lottery Commission Friday, alleging he was wrongfully denied a $5 million Scratchers ticket prize because his 16-year-old son bought the winning ticket.
Ward Thomas' Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges failure to discharge a mandatory duty, breach of contract, negligence and both intentional and negligent representation. The suit seeks unspecified damages.
A California Lottery representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Thomas says his son bought five Scratchers tickets at a Mobil station on Bellflower Boulevard in Long Beach on Oct. 16 by exchanging other winning tickets. One of the five was a winning ticket with a $5 million prize, the suit states.
Thomas validated the ticket at a 7-Eleven store in Long Beach that same day and then validated it again the next day at the lottery office in Santa Ana, the suit states.
However, on Dec. 5, the Lottery Commission told Thomas that his award was being denied because his son was a minor and therefore was "not legally able to play the lottery," the suit states.
The complaint does not state how the commission knew Thomas' son bought the tickets and that the purchaser was under age 18.
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No one at the gas station, which also is a defendant, told Thomas' son that he was too young to buy a lottery ticket, the suit states.
The suit further alleges the commission failed to enforce its own rules in the operation of the lottery and that the commission engaged in false advertising by not publicizing that lottery ticket buyers had to be at least 18 years old.