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Friday, 11 May, 2001, 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK
Lottery losers: Should Camelot pay up? Your comments
Camelot has stood by its decision not to hand over a £3 million jackpot to a couple who lost their winning Lottery ticket.
Kay and Martyn Tott forfeited their prize because they failed to meet the 30-day deadline for claiming on lost tickets.
Camelot said that to pay up would undermine the lottery's rules and damage its integrity. "We have not been a callous uncaring organisation. We have, however, a responsibility to uphold the rules."
What do you think? Should Camelot pay out?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
Give them the money! If they have proved they bought the ticket then they deserve to get their prize. Nobody deserves to think they are going to be millionaires only to be told go away and try again.
We agree that Camelot must not pay the prize to this couple. Rules have to be kept. They were not responsible enough to take care of their ticket. They had the opportunity to claim within 30 days, and they didn't claim in this period. The argument of compassion is not relevant in this case. Beside, the other winners, don't have the same rights, and this "stressed" couple simply had bad luck. No ticket, no prize.
In Spain, if you play the lottery and you lose your ticket, you cannot claim for it and you won't get the prize money. Additionally, if someone finds your ticket, it becomes their ticket and not yours.
We don't understand why it is such a great subject of discussion.
In any game there are rules. If you don't play by the rules, you cannot win the game. Anyway this couple's shameless exploitation of the media to try and win sympathy from the public has certainly backfired on me. Did anyone see the interview where the guy talked about "having to keep a bottle of Jack Daniels by his bed to sleep". I may have had some sympathy with a case presented differently.
These people claim the "stress" is straining their marriage. Has "till death do us part" really become cheapened to the point of "till you lost the winning ticket"? If their marriage means so little to them let them part, let them miss out on the £3m and lose each other into the bargain.
I won a tenner a couple of years back, but unfortunately lost the ticket, and was told that I couldn't claim my prize. This was the ruling then, and this must remain the ruling forever. What's good for one is good for everyone else, and if they do hand out the three million, then I also want my ten pound prize from two years ago, and I am sure there will be others demanding the same thing.
I don't feel that Camelot should have to pay up but at the same time they should not be allowed to pocket the money either. The fairest option would be to give the money to charity.
Two weeks ago a cheque appeared through my door. It was from the football pools. I have a standing entry with a direct debit. No paperwork to lose and I don't even have to check the numbers!
I think they should pay out the money to the last but one winner.
Hands up all those who had teachers who fell for the "dog ate my homework" excuse! Same difference - the responsibility is on the user to protect their piece of paper. The rule is clear - no ticket, no claim.
They should have read the regulations in the small print. Where is the small print? On the back of the lost ticket!
James McGregor, UK
When a government minister says Camelot should pay up regardless of their carefully kept rules to avoid fraud, then we can see the row for what it really is - a cheap attempt to have us argue the toss on a totally irrelevant matter compared to the mess of foot-and-mouth. Biggs and Co are also providing a clever diversion - who needs spin doctors when you have the Sun?
The rules are quite clear. If you wish to claim a prize then do not lose your ticket. It is as simple as that!
I can't understand how anyone can buy a ticket in a lottery and then not look to see if they have won. It's tough luck, but follow the rules that you agreed to when you bought the ticket.
I believe I'm right in saying that to collect Premium Bond prizes over a certain value you have to produce the actual winning bond, even though Ernie will have a record of your name and address. Obviously if Camelot paid out in this instance then the rules for ALL competitions which require the production of ticket would have to be changed, wouldn't they?
The 30 day rule is not very apparent and was little known until this case. Camelot ARE satisfied that the couple were genuine winners. Paying them out would not lead to a flood of claims as each claim has to be verified anyway. I think Camelot should pay out, OR should make sure the rules are published were everyone can see them. Why didn't Camelot tell the couple straight away about the 30 day rule, instead of making them wait 45 days?
The media must really be scraping the barrel for stories if losing a lottery ticket is considered so important.
I forgot to buy a lottery ticket but would have picked the correct numbers. Surely Camelot should have compassion and pay me! A. they bought a ticket and didn't check the numbers. B. They lost the ticket.
C. They failed to claim for the lost ticket within the 30 days. Sounds like they should be happy that they remembered where they lived when returning from the newsagent in the first place.
People would change their tune if it were their ticket. We are all human, we all make mistakes and lose things - Camelot should pay up. This is NOT their money to keep. I think the Government should make them pay up or withdraw their license to print money! If Camelot thought this was going to happen to them, I bet the couple would have the cheque in their bank before they could blink.
While my sympathies do go to the claimants, I have to side with Camelot on this one. The rules of the lottery apply to everyone and a thing like the lottery would turn into a mockery if the rules could be bent or broken whenever someone feels hard-done-by. I would have a lot more sympathy if they had the ticket but fell outwith the normal claim window, but we are talking about a lost-ticket claim and people should feel damned lucky that they get 30 days at all - as one guy from the states said here, it maybe should be no ticket - no prize. I wonder if people can claim if they forgot to actually buy the ticket, even though they get the same numbers every week...
What a pair of pratts! No ticket, no proof, and therefore no prize.
Anyone could claim they bought the winning ticket then lost it.
Maybe this couple did always buy a ticket but forgot this time!! Hence the reason why they are kicking themselves now. That's the whole point - who knows! Bad luck to this couple but hardly a tragedy
I think it is sad the couple lost their tickets but the rules and regulations should be kept in this country. Anyone can say they lost their tickets when there is no claim of a winning ticket. I strongly feel in UK the rules and laws should be kept as it is. Rules are there to be obeyed and the British should obey them not break them.
I think the couple are very selfish to ask Camelot to pay them. I don't think they are entitled to anything. Sorry!
Robin Chakraborty, UK
The comments made by Culture Secretary Chris Smith to give them the money were nothing less than cynical vote catching. The couple said on TV that the stress of this dispute was putting their marriage at risk. I think this sort of comment is a sad reflection on Britain in the 21st century when money and celebrity are all. They lost the ticket, tough luck. It is their own fault. Don't give them the money.
Of course in the small print it probably says they don't have to pay if they don' feel like
it. Get Premium bonds instead - they always pay out no matter how late the claim!.
Michael P. Moore, Japan
Give them a million then they have both scored.
There has to be a time when you accept your misfortune. They should accept reality and stop whinging.
Living in the US, I am amazed that the UK lottery would even consider paying out on a lost ticket. Not an option here. You either have the winning ticket or you don't.
Bravo to Camelot for giving it to charity when for certain sections of the media perversely that seems to be the wrong decision. They've made a potentially unpopular choice but one that will benefit charities, Camelot should be applauded.
James Owen, UK
Camelot are being utterly mean and cruel. They talk about precedent, but personally I think they are doing more harm to their image with the mercenary treatment they are giving this couple now. How can you let ticket-holders get so close only to tell them that on some mundane legal technicality hidden in the fine print they just missed out on the dream of a lifetime? Camelot should have used their discretion. Rules should not preclude compassion or else we are living with Big Brother.
Graeme, England: You make a rather sweeping statement in saying everyone wants a non-profit lottery. The bottom line is who will offer the most money for good causes and the biggest prizes. If the company that does this also happens to make a profit then it is still in the best interests of the public. As for not having say in things that affect you, if you don't like it don't play it simple as that.
Why should Camelot pay out this time around? I won £1.5m but forgot to claim within the allotted time of 30 days. You don't hear me complaining now, do you?
As they say: "you lose... you lose!"
Camelot have had their share of controversy recently and this is yet another PR blunder. The error was not in their decision not to pay out, but in their decision to investigate the ticket at all. They should have simply said that the claim period for lost tickets had expired and left it at that. I really do feel for the unfortunate Totts, who were by inference led to believe that their claim might have been upheld.
John Randelf, UK
Play by the rules - if Camelot refused to pay out on a ticket less than 180 days old then we would all be outraged - so why expect them to pay out on a ticket which is invalid? As for Mrs Tott's comment that this is the worst form of torture, I think a reality check is long overdue!
Why should Camelot pay up if the rules have not been observed? Paying sets a precedent and rewards stupidity. In any case, don't unclaimed prizes go to good causes? It isn't a case of Camelot keeping the £3 million for their coffers. At least the couple involved have been able to sell their stories to the tabloids for a bit of cash to soften the blow.
Nigel Harris, England
In order to claim a lottery prize, the only piece of evidence that is required is the lottery ticket. Is that too much to ask? Although, the situation regarding the Totts is really unfortunate, they lost their ticket and therefore should not be entitled to get a prize.
I think they should move on and get off our TV screens! I'm a believer of fate and if it was destined to be yours, then it would have been yours. At the moment, they are being used by media to try to pull ratings. Try again this Saturday like everyone else.
Trevor N, UK
I know that if it were me I would be utterly convinced that Camelot should pay. The trouble is that it isn't me and so I find myself thinking that the rules are clear and were set at the lottery's inception and therefore to be fair to all, they should be observed.
There's a lot of vindictive commentators on this one. They won, Camelot agrees that they won so it should pay - undermines the integrity of the lottery indeed. Yes they were daft to lose the ticket but for Camelot to keep them hanging on for seven weeks just to re-confirm that they weren't going to pay out is nothing short of torture. Still, I think it's very noble of everyone else who has commented so far to agree that if they were in the Tott's position they'd just shrug their shoulders and say 'Ah well, win some, lose some.'
Rahul Mahajan, UK
As much as I think Camelot should have lost its license to run the lottery I must agree with them on this one. Stick to the rules - it's not like they're missing out on something they've worked hard for, get on with your lives!
As someone who thinks that the lottery is the best scheme yet devised to get the poor to pay for the recreation of the rich it seems to me that Camelot should pay up. In this game of chance it should be the chance of choosing the numbers that matters not the skill in keeping the ticket!
There are millions of people living on or very near to the breadline in Britain who buy and religiously check their lottery ticket for winners. This couple simply lost theirs, unfortunately such is life - no payout. Perhaps Camelot should donate the money to charity.
I wonder how many of the people who agree with Camelot not paying out would say the same thing if for some unfortunate turn of events they were in the same position. OK, rules are rules but why is it a 30 day rule when Camelot have admitted that they are sure the Totts are telling the truth? Camelot were quick enough to get the decision of the Lottery Commission to only deal with the Richard Branson lottery bid. Double standards?
I think it's unfair for a struggling company like Camelot to have to cough up that sort of dough, it's not like they've got money to waste is it? Mind you I bet Richard 'Man of the People' Branson would have paid up.
I can't understand why people buy lottery tickets and then forget to check them. Perhaps Camelot ought to stop advertising unclaimed prizes because there is a very good chance that 6 months down the line the ticket will be lost.
It doesn't come much easier. You pick 6 numbers, pay £1, get a ticket, check your numbers and if you have won you are a millionaire. People who cannot master this simple set of tasks do not deserve the money.
A. Cutelli, UK
Surely there is a point to having rules and deadlines?
They don't just have them for fun!!
No - Camelot do not pay out. It's a very simple rule, buy the ticket, retain it and claim if you win. If you are stupid enough to lose it - tough!!! A softening of this rule would open flood gates of bogus claims and expose Camelot to further criticism, which in the light of their past performances they can do well without.
If you lose the ticket and don't claim the prize you miss out. Those are the rules which have to be upheld. If they were to relax the them, it would then be entirely reasonable for people who found old tickets (i.e. over the 180 day limit) to expect to be paid even though they had lost any entitlement. It is unfortunate for the couple concerned, but it's not as if they have lost anything - they never had the £3m in the first place. All they have lost is some dreams.
Rules are rules and should be kept by.
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