IGT software error dashes players' hopes and excitement
By Kate Northrop
Quite a few Kentucky Lottery players thought they had won big time when they saw matching symbols printed on their Tic Tac Cash Fast Play tickets, but that joy quickly dissipated when they found out that those symbols were not indicators of winning the lottery at all, rather they were a result of a software error.
According to the Kentucky Lottery, a vendor software issue affected some lottery vending machines in October, which caused tickets for the Tic Tac Cash Fast Play game to contain "erroneous images" which were not actually part of the game. Some of the images mistakenly printed on the ticket were double exclamation marks or a half a star with one exclamation mark.
Nearly 500 tickets contained the misprinted symbols that were not part of the Tic Tac Cash game.
Since Fast Play tickets are printed right at a vending machine, they act like an instant scratch-off game in that the player will know right away if they won by looking at their ticket. Since the invalid symbols were included under the "WINNING SYMBOLS" section of the ticket, many players mistakenly believed that they had won the lottery when in actuality they had not.
The issue impacted tickets sold on Sun., Oct. 18 and Mon., Oct. 19. IGT (formerly Gtech), the game vendor that manages all terminal-based games for the Kentucky Lottery, installed a software upgrade that Sunday morning that caused tickets to print invalid matching symbols on tickets.
Upon scanning the ticket, however, many players were frustrated to find out that the ticket was either not a winner or awarded a different prize than expected.
One of those unlucky players is Sarah Whitlow, whose printed ticket would lead anyone to believe that she had won the jackpot.
"When I looked at it, 'I won! I won!' — and I was so happy," she told WDRB.com. "I looked at it more closely. I won two — both games. They are individually gamed, and I just started crying because, earlier this year, I fell off a ladder and it broke all of my ribs."
The jackpot at the time? $64,000 — an amount that would have provided Whitlow plenty of support while her injuries healed. As quickly as the joy had come, it was soon gone.
"They said it's a mistake and they don't have to honor any of my tickets."
IGT released a statement following the incident, saying that "IGT and the Kentucky Lottery have resolved the temporary issue that impacted some of the Tic Tac Cash games purchased at Kentucky Lottery vending machines on October 18, 2020 and the morning of October 19, 2020.
Additionally, Kentucky state law says that "no prize shall be paid arising from claimed tickets... that are produced or issued in error."
In an interview, Whitlow said she believes that this is not merely a simple blunder.
"I think an error like that is a pattern, not a mistake," she said.
IGT is also dealing with a lawsuit for a similar problem in Texas. 1,200 players are suing the vendor over allegedly providing deceptive instructions for the Fun Five Tic Tac Toe game that falsely led them to believe that they held winning tickets.
Rather than award Whitlow the full $64,000 jackpot that she thought she had won, IGT is compensating for the mishap by providing her with a smaller prize.
"They are offering me $1,000," she revealed. "Like I say, it was for a $2 ticket."
While it's a huge step away from the jackpot, Whitlow thinks it's still better than nothing.
"I got two Visa gift cards," she said. "I'm really grateful. I'm going to get my children something for Christmas this year, and I was really worried I wasn't going to."
As of now, the Kentucky Lottery has been in contact with around 50 players who have experienced the same issue. According to the Lottery, over half have come to an "agreement" with IGT.
IGT did not respond to a request for comment prior to this publication. At this time, it is unclear how much others are receiving in compensation or if they are receiving any at all.
"I'm ashamed to say too, because I agree with them, with what they're doing to me," Whitlow admitted. "What I want everyone to know is, if you do play the Kentucky Lottery, do not assume you win when you win."
While IGT has proposed a program for players affected by the error, the Lottery encourages players with tickets in question to send an email to email@example.com with details or call the Kentucky Lottery customer service hotline at 877-789-4532.
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Thanks to Bluegrass for the tip.