Glitch in computer lotto system denies winners their money

iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — Some South Carolina residents thought they got a Christmas miracle after winning the top prize on a $1 instant lotto game. There were no fairy tale endings, however.

The South Carolina Education Lottery’s computer system vendor, Intralot, experienced a “programming error” that impacted the Holiday Cash Add-A-Play, according to a statement from the company.

Between 5:51 p.m. and 7:53 p.m. on Christmas, the game’s winning symbol, a Christmas tree, was repeated in all nine available play areas on tickets, generating many more winners than intended. The game’s top prize was $500.

Once the issue was identified, the company said it suspended the game.

“I spent a total of $30 and I won a total of $8,500,” David Doyle, an Uber driver, told ABC affiliate WCIV in Charleston, South Carolina.

Doyle has been playing this lottery since its inception and said he has won in the past, but never this much.

He hasn’t been able to collect his winnings after a cashier told him the transaction wasn’t allowed.

Andy Pagoota was told something similar when he tried to cash in his $1,500 in winnings.

It came up as an “invalid transaction,” he said.

The Shelby, North Carolina, native lives just six miles from the South Carolina border and buys $1 lotto tickets once or twice a week “just for kicks,” Pagoota told ABC News.

With the money, he and his wife were planning to catch up on bills and make dental appointments.

“I just wish they would do the responsible thing,” Pagoota said of the company’s review of the error.

Intralot advises players to hold on to their tickets amid the pending investigation.

A further announcement regarding the incident will be made at the end of the week, the South Carolina Education Lottery said in a statement.

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