- A computer glitched in a lottery game in South Carolina on Christmas Day for two hours.
- Many people noticed and bought multiple $500 winning tickets.
- The lottery decided to set aside $19.6 million to possibly give to holders of the mistaken winning tickets.
On Christmas day for about two hours, a computer glitch made every $1 Holiday Cash Add-A-Play ticket a $500 winner in South Carolina.
People caught on and bought multiple tickets. One woman, Nicole Coggins, told local NBC affiliate WYFF News 4 that she and her mother-in-law spent $100 playing the game at multiple locations and won $18,000.
But when they went to collect their winnings, Coggins said, the machine said their tickets were invalid.
A convenience store worker told The New York Times that his location didn’t have enough money on hand to give winners their money.
The South Carolina Education Lottery said in a statement on Wednesday that its computer system vendor, Intralot, experienced a “programming error” that repeated the same Christmas tree symbol on all nine squares of the tic-tac-toe board, though there are only supposed to be five maximum.
On Friday, the lottery said in another statement that it would set aside $19.6 million, the possible total amount of all the mistaken winning tickets issued.
But it’s still not clear that people like Coggins will get their money. The lottery told players to hold onto their tickets, that its investigation was ongoing, and that the board would meet again in January.
Coggins said she told her kids she would take them to Disney World with her winnings.
Since the South Carolina Education Lottery started in 2002, it has awarded 1.7 million scholarships to students in the state. In fiscal year 2016-17, the lottery paid $400 million to education in the state, and $1.09 billion to ticket winners.