It is the state lotterys equivalent of a poker dealer forgetting a few cards from the deck.
A missing nine ball led to lottery officials honoring two winning numbers for yesterday afternoons Tri-State Pick 3 game. The first numbers drawn were 7-2-2. When the mistake was caught, officials drew again: 1-9-9.
Unfortunately, we cant prepare for every circumstance or happenstance, said Maura McCann, a spokesman for the lottery who has been doing the evening drawing for 15 years. It is very infrequent, but it does occur.
Lottery officials here and in Vermont and Maine notified vendors yesterday afternoon they were paying out for both numbers. Its the second do-over the lottery has had in seven months, and will likely cost New Hampshire $1,500 to $2,000, McCann said.
The nine ball in question sat in the loading chute of the first of seven drawing machines, escaping notice by two lottery officials and an independent auditor through three pre-drawings, the actual drawing and a final post-drawing.
It was found only after officials went to put the balls back in their lock box. Executive Director Rick Wisler immediately ordered a second drawing, McCann said.
Already, one local man has claimed a winning ticket with the second set, McCann said. He had gone to a Concord store to check his numbers when the lottery sent out the notice about 3 p.m.
A winning ticket with the second numbers must be taken to lottery headquarters at 14 Integra Drive in Concord, where the Tri-State drawings are done. Winning tickets from the first set can be claimed as usual.
For only drawing seven balls for the Pick 3 and Pick 4 in the afternoon drawing, the process is laborious and typically takes 1½ hours to complete.
In January, a bad draw was declared during the Tri-State Pick 3 day game, after one of the balls was not released into the mixer during the final test run.
I do receive media clippings via the Internet about this happening in different places, McCann said. Both (cases here) were kinda unusual circumstances.
Bob Lescatre, a co-owner of Nickles Market in Manchester, said no one has complained to him about the mistake, although: Every 10 minutes now they keep giving us a notice about it.
It happened once before, Lescatre said. Its just something different, it just breaks it up a little bit.