updated 6/25/2005 12:59:55 AM ET 2005-06-25T04:59:55

Lottery officials admitted Friday they knew ticket sales would not cover an advertised $8 million Lotto Texas jackpot this month, meaning a winner would not have collected the full amount.

The Texas Lottery Commission used the inflated number for the June 8 drawing to generate interest and get more people to play even though staff reports estimated sales could only cover $6.5 million, manager Robert Tirloni told commissioners.

Tirloni said jackpots had fallen short of the advertised amounts twice before — once last October and again in February. Each involved an advertised $8 million jackpot that couldn’t be supported by ticket sales. No winners emerged, however.

The revelations prompted strong criticism from the lottery’s three commissioners. The issue is scheduled to undergo legislative scrutiny next week.

“There is nothing more important to this entire business than the integrity of the game,” Commissioner Rolando Olvera said.

Tirloni and Lee Deviney, the commission’s director of financial administration, proposed the inflated jackpot and it was approved by Executive Director Reagan Greer.

Deviney is no longer with the commission; a spokesman would not discuss his departure Friday.

Greer said he signed off on the inflated jackpots that Deviney and Tirloni recommended without really looking at their reports. He said his staff has made several changes to prevent the problem from occurring again, including basing future jackpots on the most conservative sales estimates.

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