S.C. lottery blames 'program glitch' for false wins

S.C. lottery blames 'program glitch' for false wins (Courtesy: Kenneth Mac McCaster)

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH)-- For hours Wednesday, lottery ticket holders swarmed inside the South Carolina Education Lottery building.

After a two-hour drive from Belton, Berry Pickens said he learned he had winning tickets on Christmas Day. “When someone wins you pay them their money right?” Pickens said. "I have over 50 tickets that I hit for, I had 10 out of that that maybe equals up to be around $10,000."

With a new baby on the way, he called it a miracle. But that miracle soon turned into disappointment. Pickens said reps inside told him they couldn't honor his tickets due to a system glitch. "How is it a glitch?” Pickens asked. “I got losing tickets right along with my winning tickets, and I got losing tickets in between my winning tickets."

Lottery officials released a statement saying they experienced a ‘programming error’ for those who brought Holiday Cash "Add-A-Play" tickets between 5:51 p.m. and 7:53 p.m. Christmas night. The glitch caused the same play symbols to repeat in all nine available play areas.

So let's think of it as tic tac toe, there are nine symbols printed on the Cash "Add-A-Play" ticket, ranging from a snowman to a snowflake. Players who match three ‘tree’ symbols in a vertical, horizontal or diagonal line, wins the dollar amount indicated at the top. No more than five identical play symbols should appear for a single play.

Bridget Castrillon purchased her ticket in Myrtle Beach and said she is one of the many winners. “Because it is their fault and they were printing out all of the tickets,” Castrillon said. “They should at least pay for the people who had the winnings."

Castrillon said if they don’t pay it out, she’ll never play the lottery again. While no money was given to them Wednesday, both said they'll be back on Friday.

Players that purchased the Holiday Cash "Add-A-Play" ticket during the affected time should keep their tickets.

The education lottery plans to have more information by the end of the week. "You have to tell all of these people who are actually coming up here right now that, it’s a hold, it’s a wait, we don’t know what’s going on, it’s under investigation right now,” Pickens said. “I think they need to honor it, I really do think they need to honor it."

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