SC lottery won't pay out for Holiday Cash tickets printed 'in error', plans to refund purchase price

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Five months after a glitch which didn't allow lottery players to collect their winnings in the Holiday Cash game, South Carolina Lottery officials say they won't pay out for tickets that they say were printed in error.

Instead, the lottery will refund the purchase price of the tickets depicting nine tree symbols. The tickets eligible for reimbursement are ones purchased between 5:51 p.m. until the close of the game at 7:53 p.m. on Christmas Day 2017, according to spokeswoman Holli Armstrong.

Armstrong cited South Carolina code section 59-150-230(C)(3)(a) which says that prizes arising from a ticked produced or issued in error must not be paid.

Lottery officials looked over a full report from an independent investigator and discussed its findings with their attorney during a meeting Wednesday in Columbia. The results of the investigation revealed coding errors by the lottery's former computer gaming vendor, according to Armstrong. Lottery officials say the error caused approximately 71,000 wagers to be produced in error.

The lottery says any other decision would not have complied with the law. 

In order to receive the refund of the purchase price, a player should mail the original ticket to:

S.C. Education Lottery

P.O. Box 11039

Columbia, SC 29211-1039

Lottery officials are asking players to also include your name and return address. Armstrong says it will refund the purchase price plus postage up to the amount of first class USPS postage. All requests for refunds must be received by the lottery no later than January 7, 2019. 

An error caused a lot more winners than usual in the Holiday Cash game during the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve 2017. When people went to collect their winnings, cashiers received a message saying transaction not allowed.

Many lined up outside the state lottery office in anger after it happened. $19.6 million was set aside for potential winnings until the investigation was over.

The Add-a-play game was suspended after the malfunction.

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