Man sues after lottery officials refuse to pay $5M prize because underage son bought ticket

A man is suing the California Lottery Commission, claiming officials refused to pay a $5 million prize because his underage son purchased the ticket.

Ward Thomas sent his 16-year-old son into a Mobil gas station in Long Beach to exchange winning scratcher tickets for more tickets in October, the Los Angeles Times reported. The store employee did not ask the teen for ID, the suit alleges.

The son handed the tickets to his father, who discovered that evening that one of the tickets was a big winner. Thomas validated that the ticket was a $5 million winner at a 7-11 store and at a California Lottery district office, the suit claims.

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But the lottery commission never made a payout to Thomas. The suit alleges that the lottery commission withheld the prize money because his underage son bought the ticket. One has to be at least 18 to participate in the state's lottery. The lottery commission reviews all jackpot winning tickets, including reviewing security footage from the purchase point. The state and lottery commission are accused of failure to discharge a mandatory duty.

Thomas also names the gas station as a defendant, claiming there were no signs stating that one had to be 18 to purchase lottery tickets, even if they were purchasing on behalf of someone else who was of age. The gas station is accused of breach of express and implied contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, negligent misrepresentation and negligence, according to lawsuit documents.

Thomas is seeking more than $50,000 in general damages.

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