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Virginia Lottery wasn't quite ready for Mega Millions game changes

Oct 31, 2017, 9:20 am

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Virginia LotteryVirginia Lottery: Virginia Lottery wasn't quite ready for Mega Millions game changesRating:

Lottery says 182 tickets have no chance of winning — but may be as high as 628

UPDATE: Now includes exact number of invalid plays and possible invalid plays, corrects claim period for refunds

By Todd Northrop

If you buy a Mega Millions ticket, you normally have a 0.00000033 percent chance of winning the big jackpot. But at least 182 tickets were sold in Virginia on Friday that have a 0 percent chance of winning — and there may be up to 628 plays with no chance, depending on the numbers drawn Tuesday.

The Virginia Lottery had technical difficulties last week and accidentally sold 182 Mega Millions tickets that have zero chance of winning the big jackpot this Tuesday. 

If you bought a Mega Millions ticket in Virginia between 10:45 and 11:51 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27, you may be affected, lottery officials announced Monday morning. 

The lottery had unspecified technical issues as it upgraded its gaming system last week, officials said. Some tickets for the drawing on Tuesday, Oct. 31 were produced according to the previous rules of the Mega Millions game, which had the final drawing of its old game format on Friday evening. 

(See Multi-state Mega Millions lottery game changing this week, Lottery Post, Oct. 24, 2017.)

The glitch involved 323 tickets, representing a total of 628 plays (A "ticket" is the physical piece of paper that can record one or more "plays" — with each play costing $1 under the old rules, but $2 under the new rules.)  The 628 plays were incorrectly sold at the old $1 price point, using the old game format of 5 numbers 1-75 plus 1 Mega Ball number between 1 and 15.

Of those 628 plays, 182 plays included a number greater than 70, making it impossible to match the first five numbers that will be drawn Tuesday night.  That means the 182 plays have no chance of winning either the jackpot or the $1 million second prize, which requires matching the first five numbers drawn but not the Mega Ball.

Also, Lottery Post is reporting that depending on the Mega Ball drawn Tuesday night, it is possible that all 628 plays purchased will have no chance of winning the jackpot.

That's because the Mega Ball previously only went up to 15 under the old rules, but in the drawing Tuesday night there are 25 possibilities.  So if a number 16 or higher is drawn Tuesday night, that means every single Mega Millions ticket sold Friday night between 10:45 and 11:51 p.m. has no chance of winning the jackpot or any other lower prize that requires matching the Mega Ball.

The Virginia Lottery is honoring all Mega Millions tickets sold during that time frame. In addition to offering refunds on both the price of the ticket and the price of a replacement ticket, any prizes won by the original ticket will be honored.

Contrary to widely circulated news reports, players have up to 180 days to obtain a refund of tickets purchased during the period of time in which the problematic tickets were sold. (Previous reports have incorrectly stated that refunds must be obtained by 10:45 p.m. Tuesday night.)

Although 628 plays is a small fraction of the 470,000 tickets normally sold for a jackpot of this size, the lottery is trying to make things right for the affected people who purchased the faulty tickets.

"We've been working to get the word out to those Mega Millions players because it's important for every ticket to have the same chance of winning a prize," said John Hagerty, Virginia Lottery spokesperson. "Even though relatively few people are impacted, we want them to know that all of those tickets can be refunded along with the price of a new ticket, and any prizes won will be honored."

If you bought a ticket during this period, you can get a refund and replacement ticket so you'll be eligible for the jackpot. To do so, call 804-692-7778 before April 29, 2018 — 180 days from the drawing date.

If you do win a smaller prize with a ticket you bought during this period, the prize will be honored, officials said.

An update to the Mega Millions game went into effect Saturday, Oct. 28. The cost of a ticket doubled from $1 to $2, and the starting jackpot increased from $15 million to $40 million.

To win the game's jackpot, players now must match five white balls from 1 to 70 and one Mega Ball number from 1 to 25. In the previous game, players chose five numbers from a field of 1 to 75 and one Mega Ball from a field of 1 to 15.

Lottery Post Staff

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28 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by msharkey2001.
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Canada
Member #154375
April 14, 2014
123 Posts
Offline

Very misleading article. The 180 tickets in question do have a chance of winning the jackpot. In fact, they have the same chnace of winning as every other ticket sold for the Tuesday draw.

Or the article completely missed the error made. Maybe the 180 tickets in questions have numbers from 71 to 75 - numbers that are no longer in the drawing. That would be a mistake.

Either way, something is wrong with the article and the drawing.

    haymaker's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
    Egg Harbor twp.south Jersey shore
    United States
    Member #112964
    June 29, 2011
    4135 Posts
    Offline

    If you have a small win...you should get the small win and the refund.

    B/C the small win could have been a big win.

    Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds    -- Charles Mackay  LL.D.

      Todd's avatar - Cylon 200.jpg
      50
      Chief Bottle Washer
      New Jersey
      United States
      Member #1
      May 31, 2000
      25870 Posts
      Offline

      Very misleading article. The 180 tickets in question do have a chance of winning the jackpot. In fact, they have the same chnace of winning as every other ticket sold for the Tuesday draw.

      Or the article completely missed the error made. Maybe the 180 tickets in questions have numbers from 71 to 75 - numbers that are no longer in the drawing. That would be a mistake.

      Either way, something is wrong with the article and the drawing.

      That article is not wrong — 180 tickets for sure have no chance of winning the jackpot (as well as a $1 million prize) — but I have added some language that might help clarify it for you.

       

      Check the State Lottery Report Card
      What grade did your lottery earn?

       

      Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
      Help eliminate computerized drawings!

        Avatar

        Canada
        Member #154375
        April 14, 2014
        123 Posts
        Offline

        That article is not wrong — 180 tickets for sure have no chance of winning the jackpot (as well as a $1 million prize) — but I have added some language that might help clarify it for you.

        The original article was incorrect. The language you added was not clarification but a correction to the original assertion that the Mega balls was the error. In fact, the error was with the white balls.

        Thanks for fixing it so quickly.

          Todd's avatar - Cylon 200.jpg
          50
          Chief Bottle Washer
          New Jersey
          United States
          Member #1
          May 31, 2000
          25870 Posts
          Offline

          The original article was incorrect. The language you added was not clarification but a correction to the original assertion that the Mega balls was the error. In fact, the error was with the white balls.

          Thanks for fixing it so quickly.

          lol, we'll just have to disagree on the definition of "incorrect" then.  The original wording did not say the Mega Ball issue was the primary problem — it specifically stated (and still states) that it is in addition to the lottery's stated concerns.  In any case, I'm glad to hear it's clearer now.  Cheers.

           

          Check the State Lottery Report Card
          What grade did your lottery earn?

           

          Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
          Help eliminate computerized drawings!

            Artist77's avatar - batman14

            United States
            Member #121741
            January 16, 2012
            7675 Posts
            Offline

            The Virginia lottery website also mentions not be able to buy tickets all day a few days ago. This explains my 3 trip waste of time. Of course no notice to anyone until days after the event.

            Je vous salue, Marie, pleine de grace.  We will rebuild!

              Todd's avatar - Cylon 200.jpg
              50
              Chief Bottle Washer
              New Jersey
              United States
              Member #1
              May 31, 2000
              25870 Posts
              Offline

              I have updated the news story based on further information provided to Lottery Post by the Virginia Lottery.  We now have the exact number of affected (and possibly affected) tickets, as well as an important correction on the time permitted for refunds.

               

              Check the State Lottery Report Card
              What grade did your lottery earn?

               

              Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
              Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
                USN United States Navy
                Fresno, California
                United States
                Member #157851
                August 2, 2014
                3959 Posts
                Offline

                I have updated the news story based on further information provided to Lottery Post by the Virginia Lottery.  We now have the exact number of affected (and possibly affected) tickets, as well as an important correction on the time permitted for refunds.

                 Thank You, Todd and Lottery Post Staff for caring enough to alert Virginia players before the draw tonight. Excellent work indeed. Dance

                 "We are all in this together!" 

                  Avatar
                  Wyomissing, PA
                  United States
                  Member #161045
                  November 15, 2014
                  481 Posts
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                  All in all, it appears Virginia Lottery is handling the issue extremely well. Willing to honor any prizes won, plus refunding. Not sure what more they could do.

                  However, it seems a bad omen in regards to Just the Jackpot option. It's as if the glitch is a warning. Maybe I'm worrying about nothing, but my hunch is there will some disappointed players in the near future. I sincerely hope lotteries rethink Just the Jackpot or are willing to honor Match-5 too for goodwill. Wishful thinking, but hate to see players essentially get cheated due to not understanding JTJ (including the odds; Match-5 is 48X more likely) and/or being sold JTJ in error.

                    Avatar
                    Kentucky
                    United States
                    Member #32651
                    February 14, 2006
                    8998 Posts
                    Offline

                    Very misleading article. The 180 tickets in question do have a chance of winning the jackpot. In fact, they have the same chnace of winning as every other ticket sold for the Tuesday draw.

                    Or the article completely missed the error made. Maybe the 180 tickets in questions have numbers from 71 to 75 - numbers that are no longer in the drawing. That would be a mistake.

                    Either way, something is wrong with the article and the drawing.

                    "Either way, something is wrong with the article and the drawing."

                    I only had to look at the title of the story and figured out $1 tickets with the numbers 71 to 75 were sold. What else could "Virginia Lottery wasn't quite ready for Mega Millions game changes" mean?

                    There is nothing in the article mentioning something was wrong with the MM drawing that wasn't done in Virginia. Maybe there are a few players who think MM is a Virginia Lottery only game and one or two might not known of the changes made and that's why the Lottery is offering refunds. For the millions that knew the price of a ticket went to $2 and the matrix changed, they would question getting $1 tickets, some with a number 71 to 75,

                      Raven62's avatar - binary
                      25
                      New Jersey
                      United States
                      Member #17842
                      June 28, 2005
                      131941 Posts
                      Offline

                      Very misleading article. The 180 tickets in question do have a chance of winning the jackpot. In fact, they have the same chnace of winning as every other ticket sold for the Tuesday draw.

                      Or the article completely missed the error made. Maybe the 180 tickets in questions have numbers from 71 to 75 - numbers that are no longer in the drawing. That would be a mistake.

                      Either way, something is wrong with the article and the drawing.

                      Simply Put: Tickets were Sold using the Old Matrix and the Old Price instead of the New Matrix and New Price!

                      A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions!

                      Catch-22: A dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.

                      Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges: When the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerous.

                        Avatar
                        Chasing $ Millions.
                        White Shores- California
                        United States
                        Member #136473
                        December 12, 2012
                        6336 Posts
                        Offline

                        The moral of this story is " Never wait for the last minute to purchase lottery tickets."

                        *** He who hesitates is lost "- "A stitch in time saves nine."

                         * Voice of Reason *   

                         

                        People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

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                          Wyomissing, PA
                          United States
                          Member #161045
                          November 15, 2014
                          481 Posts
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                          Spot on! PA Lottery Millionaire Raffle 22 back in Jan-2016 sold 348 tickets in error after the Jan-2nd, 8 pm deadline with a draw date of Apr-14-2025.

                          https://www.palottery.state.pa.us/Draw-Games/Millionaire-Raffle/Raffle-22-Winners.aspx

                          From what I recall, some lotteries stop selling Mega Million and Powerball tickets after the cut-off time for the remainder of the night. Mainly to reduce player confusion as to what drawing they're participating in, but also to reduce chance of selling tickets after cut-off in error.

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                            New York
                            United States
                            Member #103596
                            January 4, 2011
                            6488 Posts
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                            Roll out in NY is not glitch free either. I played midday number and Pick 4 playslips along with a Mega Millions playslip and did not get the Megamillions ticket; wasn't charged for it either (Upon realizing later in the day I didn't have the ticket I questioned whether or not I really played it or only thought I did). Later in the day, I went to a different retailer to play only a Megamillion playslip and it worked no problem. Just played my evening number and Pick 4 playslips along with a Megamillion playslip and same thing happened: got the numbers but no Megamillions ticket; also not charged, not on printed receipt. This was from a third retailer. (I am now certain that the midday no ticket was a real event). Weird.