Lottery Christmas Winners Won’t Get Prizes
Thousands of lottery winners from Christmas cash give away in South Carolina will not receive their prizes due to a computer glitch in the computer system. The cash prize game of tic-tac-toe revealed ‘coding errors’ which allowed a higher number of winners than anticipated.
Between 5:51 p.m. and 7:53 p.m. last December, South Carolinians playing the state lottery were treated to tens of thousands of winning Holiday Cash Add-A-Play tickets, each worth up to $500 regardless of the holder’s good or bad behavior.
It was an improbable lucky streak that was, in fact, too good to be true. It was announced that no more than $30 million in prizes will be delivered to players.
A computer glitch was behind the fortuitous — or unfortunate — anomaly, depending on what side you’re on, that caused gas stations and convenience stores to issue about 71,000 winning plays.
The objective of the tic-tac-toe-like game was to line up three Christmas trees in any direction for a cash prize. Prizes ranged from $2 to $500. But lottery officials said a five-month analysis of the incident “revealed coding errors” leading machines to repeatedly print tickets depicting nine tree symbols resulting in the biggest prize.
“This is a very unusual and specific situation because it has to do with the nature of the game,” an Intralot representative told NPR. He added that he could not go into further detail.
The official noted the company’s quick response time to the mistake. “We all became aware of the problem within hours,” he said.
“We were able to identify that there was unusual behavior very quickly,
He continues saying ‘we followed the correct procedure to shut it down.”
That leaves scores of unhappy people who feel entitled to the full cash prize.
The South Carolina Education Lottery reported record ticket sales in the most recent fiscal year (2016 – 2017). Sales totaled $1.64 billion and issued more than $1 billion in prizes. Nearly $5 billion has been allocated to education programs throughout the state since the start of the lottery in 2002.