The New York Lottery has blamed “human error” for a mistake in the publication of Tuesday night’s Mega Millions results.
Officials said the Mega Ball number, which can increase prize winnings exponentially for those who get it right, was input as a 6 rather than a 9. An easy mistake to make, especially if you’re looking at the numbers upside-down.
Fortunately, no one won the “wrong” jackpot on Tuesday, only to have it whisked away from them, along with their dreams. It’s currently unclear if anyone has won the jackpot using the “correct” combination of numbers.
The jackpot is currently an estimated $86 million. Should it roll over to Friday night’s draw, it’s expected to be around $99 million (cash option $57 million).
Lottery officials said they were “actively working to resolve the issue as soon as possible,” and urged people to hold on to their tickets. And definitely don’t tear them up.
The corrected winning combination is: 15-19-20-61-70, with the Mega Ball 9.
$3M Printing Error
Mistakes by lottery operators are rare, but not as rare as you might think. Only last month, Indiana’s Hoosier Lottery was embarrassed to discover a printing error meant all its $20 Golden Jackpot Fast Play scratch-off tickets were $5,000 winners.
The lottery halted sales hours after the mistake was discovered, by which time it had sold 632 for a liability of more than $3 million. To the Hoosier Lottery’s credit, it has agreed to honor the payouts and is currently exploring ways to recoup its losses. Officials blame lottery services provider IGT for the mix-up.
IGT has been responsible for similar gaffes in Kentucky and Nebraska. In 2018, it inadvertently flooded Nebraska with misprinted tickets that created more false wins, ranging from a few dollars to $40,000.
The company blamed the mistake on a failure of “image synchronization,” which meant some symbols appeared in the wrong grids, creating winners where there were none.
Nebraska Lottery officials were feeling less charitable than their counterparts in Indiana and refused to pay out.
Scratch the Prizes
Perhaps the cruelest scratch-off fiasco occurred on Christmas Day, 2017 in South Carolina. That’s when the state lottery’s Greek service provider, Intralot, accidentally printed 71,000 winning tickets, creating around $35 million in illusory prizes.
In fact, every single ticket that went out for sale in the Holiday Cash Add-A-Play game was a winner. South Carolinians might have thought Christmas had come early, were it not actually Christmas Day already.
After much soul searching, the South Carolina Lottery decided not to pay out on the tickets. Instead, it merely refunded the $1 price of each ticket to customers.
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