Lottery Lawsuit Waiver Required for Contestants
Jun. 17, 1986
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) _ West Virginia Lottery officials say they don't want to rely on luck in case something goes wrong, so they require contestants to sign waivers ruling out lawsuits before they appear on the weekly televised jackpot show.
Lottery spokeswoman Nancy Hill blames ''a litigious society'' for the waiver that participants must sign before appearing on the lottery's jackpot program.
''You want to be careful not just for yourself but for other people involved,'' she said Monday. ''It's as much for their education as it is for ourselves.''
The lottery also soberly advises jackpot finalists not to show up drunk, and it provides some pointers on proper apparel.
''Be careful not to wear clothing that might become transparent under the bright lights of the studio,'' warns the cover letter that accompanies the waiver.
Lottery officials say the information packet is sent to all finalists before their appearances on the program. The ''Risk Waiver Acknowledgement'' is designed to make sure contestants know the game's rules as well the associated risks, Hill said.
''The West Virginia Lottery has informed me of the hazards and possible consequences to my health from participation in the Jackpot prize event,'' the waiver reads. ''I understand that my participation in the Event may be harmful to my health; and that I may appoint a representative to act in my place.''
Paramedics stand by for every spin of the big prize wheel, Hill said, although they never have had to rush on stage to revive a collapsed cash- winner.
''There was one individual, a woman who had an asthma problem. I was afraid she might faint in my arms. She had been afraid and was having some trouble breathing but she made it through OK.''
Hill's cover letter says lottery officials have the right to appoint a proxy for any would-be spinner ''who is judged to be intoxicated at the time of the event.''
''We've never had a problem'' with a drunken contestant, Hill said. She also said she had never heard of such incidents occurring in other state lotteries.
Hill said, however, that other states impose dress codes on finalists who appear on their televised lottery programs.
''I thought that was rather silly,'' she said. ''I want people to wear what they normally wear. I enjoy people who bring lucky hats or lucky charms. We even had one man who carried his lucky cane.''
Hill said the West Virginia Lottery's fashion advice is standard in the television business.
''In our experience as television broadcasters, these are things of which we are very aware,'' she said. ''I refrain from wearing white because the TV cameras have trouble focusing in on white. So that's why that was mentioned.''
With so many lawsuits being filed these days, lottery officials figure it's better to be safe than sorry, Hill said.
''Many times lawsuits arise from misconceptions or a lack of understanding,'' she said.