Dominican Republic May Drop Lottery Regulator After Recent Scandal

Posted on: May 18, 2022, 05:47h. 

Last updated on: May 18, 2022, 10:51h.

A recent debacle – in addition to ongoing drama – over a lottery draw has the Dominican Republic questioning the authenticity of the National Lottery. More than just a name of a lottery, the Dominican National Lottery is also the lottery regulator, and could soon be out of business.

DR National Lottery
The offices of the National Lottery of the Dominican Republic. A legislative measure could lead to the entity’s removal. (Image: Dominican Today)

A draft resolution requesting President Luis Abinader to dissolve the National Lottery is already under review in the Finance Committee of the Chamber of Deputies. It will analyze the initiative that proposes to legally dissolve the entity that regulates the Dominican Republic’s lottery activity.

Should that happen, the Ministry of Finance will assume the duties. However, the deputy for the city of La Vega and the author of the measure, Ángel Estévez, suggests that the disappearance should be gradual.

Rigging the Results

The lottery is an important source of fundraising for the government. However, Estévez bases his proposal on his dissatisfaction with alleged embezzlement with the draws in some administrations.

A couple of weeks ago, the National Lottery landed in a tough spot. As a lottery draw was allegedly underway live on May 1 on the Sorteos RD digital TV channel, one of the numbers appeared on the screen. The problem is that the individual selecting the ball from the hopper hadn’t completed the selection process before the channel revealed the number.

The National Lottery requested the Public Ministry of the province of Santiago to investigate the incident. It asserted that the Sorteos RD sequence was a fabrication and wants to get to the bottom of the ordeal.

That isn’t the public’s perception of the events. The consensus is that the live draw and the video are real. Most believe that the result can only be that someone is rigging the game.

As a result of the incident, Sorteos RD had to take a little downtime. It had to temporarily refrain from broadcasting the draws of the National Lottery. It also, per executive order, had to delete any type of information related to the draws of the National Lottery on its platforms.

In addition, Freddy Leonardo Fernández Ramírez, the representative of “King Lottery,” is now under scrutiny. King Lottery serves as a liaison to Sorteos RD for the distribution of the draws on YouTube, Facebook, and other digital channels.

National Lottery Blames Sorteos RD

The Dominican National Lottery has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. It said that the viral video in which the winning number is published before being taken out of the hopper was a montage. Through its Twitter account, the National Lottery assures that it is a distorted image placed on the Sorteos RD platform.

The entity, which executes its own games of chance, said that it can verify the transparency of the draws in transmissions of institutional platforms. It provided public access to its own footage and the adulterated version to try to restore the public’s confidence in its operations.

It doesn’t help that the lottery is still reeling from a huge scandal. Last March, the Public Ministry filed a formal accusation against 11 people involved in the fraud of the lottery and sales kiosks. They allegedly defrauded the lottery of more than 500 million pesos (US$9.05 million).

One of the accused is Luis Maisichell Dicent, the former administrator of the National Lottery. He allegedly helped rig a draw that, coincidentally, took place on May 1 of last year. Exactly a year later, the lottery is dealing with another claim of rigged outcomes.