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Lottery winner loses out
Former mayor not allowed to redeem $500 after leaving with ticket

Katie May
Northern News Services
Published Tuesday, March 23, 2010

INUVIK - A winning lottery ticket hasn't turned out to be quite so lucky for Bill Prodromidis.

NNSL photo/graphic

Bill Prodromidis is considering hiring a lawyer after his $500 winning Nevada ticket was considered invalid because he left the building to open it. - Katie May/NNSL photo

The former mayor of Fort McPherson was in Inuvik one Saturday about two weeks ago, when his daughter gave birth to his brand new grandson. On the way from the hospital, he stopped to buy some bingo cards at the New North Network building.

"There were so many people in that small room," he said, adding the line up trailed out the door and into the parking lot.

"I got my bingo seats and I turned around and a lady was selling Nevadas. So I gave $10 to the lady, got the Nevadas and I went outside because there is no room you can move around there and opened my Nevadas in my truck."

Prodromidis ripped open the tickets to discover he'd won $500.

"I was excited to get the money and go buy a present (for the baby)," he said.

But when he went inside to cash in his winnings, he said the clerk refused him, pointing out a small sign on the wall behind the table that prohibited customers from leaving the building with their tickets.

"The way they are right now, with so many people inside a small building, you don't have a choice, you know. You can't open it inside the building," Prodromidis said.

The Town of Inuvik approves and distributes lottery licences, which allow organizations or individuals to run bingos or sell tickets, according to its lottery bylaw. The bylaw states that those granted a licence must follow the set lottery regulations, said town finance officer Kim Wainman, and those regulations do include a rule that says customers must open tickets where they are sold and not leave the premises.

Prodromidis said this rule was not prominently advertised, especially for out-of-towners like him. He phoned the police and the fire marshal to investigate building capacity and sent a letter to the town office but said he has not yet heard anything back.

"In the meantime, my 500 bucks, I don't know where it went," he said. "It's gone."

He's more concerned about the principle of the situation than the money, he said, but he is considering hiring a lawyer.

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