BOSTON (AP) – More than two million state lottery scratch tickets will have to be replaced because they have a “shelf life” problem. If they sit around too long, the latex in the scratching area deteriorates and may become unscratchable.

The problems with the $200,000 Bonus game tickets have prompted Treasurer Timothy Cahill to order an overhaul of the Massachusetts State Lottery’s procedures for handling ticket glitches, The Boston Herald reported Monday. “We expect flaws. It’s part of the industry,” said Lottery executive director Joseph C. Sullivan. “But we don’t accept them.”

Officials said that about 2.2 million of the $5 tickets will be shipped to the manufacturer and replaced with exact replicas within the next two weeks.

The reprinting will not affect the game’s odds, nor increase or decrease the number of winning tickets, officials told the newspaper.

An official at Scientific Games, which makes the tickets, said no tax money would be spent to correct the problem.

“It doesn’t happen regularly, but it does happen occasionally,” said Jim Kennedy, the company’s vice president of North American sales and marketing. “We found it’s better just to go in and replace that inventory.”

Another 2.4 million tickets will remain in circulation and can’t be recalled because the ticket “books” have already been opened and partially sold.

Officials said that if anyone buys a defective ticket, they can take it to the Lottery and have the bar code scanned. Winners will be honored and losers will be given another ticket of equal value.

Lottery officials admitted knowing about the problem since July, but they didn’t tell the public until recently, the newspaper said. Dissatisfied customers have returned 415 of the tickets to the Lottery’s headquarters during the past few months.

Sullivan said that the Lottery’s 7,300 agents would be notified and a notice posted on the lottery Web site.

The Herald reported earlier that 10,000 tickets in the $640 Million Jubilee game were found to be potentially defective to a manufacturing error. Lottery officials decided to leave 9,000 of those tickets in circulation.

AP-ES-10-13-03 0815EDT

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