Participants of the Russian lotteries of the Stoloto company (a brand of JSC TK Center – Ed.) Faced difficulties in obtaining a legitimate win. This is due to the difficulties of passing the identification procedure in the regions and the almost complete lack of the opportunity to receive the money won without a commission. Experts interviewed by Izvestia called the current situation unacceptable and reminiscent of fraud.
According to the lottery rules, it is impossible to receive a prize of more than 15 thousand rubles without additional confirmation of identity. In this case, the identification procedure can only be completed at the Stoloto retail outlet. Considering that such points are far from everywhere, so getting a prize becomes a problem for residents of many regions of the Russian Federation. At the disposal of “Izvestia” were appeals from several players from the regions that faced this obstacle.
For example, there are no points in Kurgan where you can verify your identity in order to receive a prize over 15 thousand rubles. But lottery tickets are being sold in this regional center. Another player from the Perm Territory had the opportunity to withdraw his money only in Kazan, because he could only verify his identity there.
One of the victims, an entrepreneur from Sevastopol Vsevolod Payevshchikov, won 22.5 thousand rubles in the lottery in July. The nearest place where one could get legal money was Simferopol, located 80 kilometers away. But even there, Payevshchikov failed to get money, because retail outlets did not work due to restrictions on coronavirus.
“The nearest points were in Krasnodar, Novorossiysk. Long away. They accept money for tickets, they sell tickets. But it’s impossible to get a prize, ”he said.
Gambling expert Dmitry Slobodkin believes that the Stoloto operator is doing a bad job.
“The state lottery should be able to pay funds to any participant, no matter where he is. If you sell tickets in Kurgan, then you should be able to identify the ticket in Kurgan. Let’s say I’m an operator of a state lottery, I got a monopoly on the entire market. Well, really, receiving 45% of the turnover for my needs, for the costs of organizing the lottery, I sell tickets in Kurgan, and my client, in whom I am interested, cannot receive a prize in the place where he bought the tickets? This, of course, is a disgrace. This cannot be, “said Slobodkin.
As a result, Vsevolod Payevshchikov received his winnings only in the fall, while passing through St. Petersburg, while he had to pay a commission.
“Stoloto” positions itself as a state lottery, said Shareshchikov. However, a commercial service, the so-called Stoloto wallet, is built into the Stoloto application and website by default.
“Initially, it is not clear that this is some kind of commercial organization that conducts all these winnings through itself. And by default, winnings up to 15 thousand are automatically deposited into the Stoloto wallet. And it is already impossible to get this prize without a commission. You can either buy more tickets, or, by paying a commission, withdraw them to a bank card, which is 2.9% plus 50 rubles for each transaction. That is, you will have to pay this commercial monopolist operator to get the winnings, ”said the entrepreneur.
According to Payevshchikov, it is impossible to try to transfer money back from the wallet to Stoloto and receive it without a commission. “Stoloto” offers to receive the winnings from its partner, who is formally connected with the organizer only by contractual relationship.
Controversial issues regarding the payment of winnings at the point of sale have to be resolved at the company’s central office in Moscow, the cost of a flight to which from some regions exceeds 15 thousand rubles. Izvestia turned to the organizer of the Stoloto lotteries with a request to explain the algorithm of actions for residents of the regions, as well as to inform in which regions there are no points to identify participants who won more than 15 thousand rubles. Izvestia also asked if the money for participation in the lottery is returned to the players if the winnings are not paid for any reason.
The company could not promptly provide an answer. Sofia Abdrazakova, head of the PR-service of Stoloto, assured that the company had begun an investigation into the facts that the players complained about.
“Unfortunately, as part of the coronavirus pandemic, the time frames for collecting and verifying information have been slightly increased, since employees have been transferred to a remote mode of work, and some key employees are sick,” she added.
Economist Andrei Bunich, in an interview with Izvestia, called the scheme with the retention of the commission on the winnings in the state lottery abuse.
“It turns out that an extortion is illegally established, a commission that people are forced to pay. Of course, on the part of a company that is a monopolist in the lottery, this is an abuse, because in fact the lottery is not a private one, but a state one. The lottery is being held by the Ministry of Finance together with the Ministry of Sports to replenish the budget. <...> And those who conduct it, it turns out, violate, discredit the state in this sense, “explained Andrei Bunich.
According to the economist, the lottery participants are initially misinformed. “When they buy lottery tickets, they don’t know anything. Accordingly, the company that sells lottery tickets is very profitable. It looks like a fraud, ”says Bunich.
In addition to problems directly with receiving winnings, a number of players complained about the difficulty of communicating with the lottery support service and getting qualified assistance.