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Lottery foul-ups rare but expensive

Jul 19, 2004, 8:20 am

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Lottery mistakes don't happen often, but when they do they're costly resulting in multiple awards or increases in the prize money.

Here are some lottery foul-ups from across the country in recent years:

" Earlier this month, a missing nine ball in a drawing machine led the New Hampshire lottery to honor two winning numbers. It was the second double payout resulting from missing balls in the state's lottery drawing machines this year.

" In April, the Wisconsin lottery posted an incorrect winning number on its Web site and honored two numbers, for a total payout of $25,000.

" In July 2003, the Rhode Island Lottery doubled the prize money for a lottery drawing when an employee discovered the number 11 ball was missing from the machine used to draw the numbers. The ball apparently fell out of the drum onto the floor during a practice round.

" A foul was declared in a Virginia Lottery drawing in October 2002 when security officials reported ''technical difficulties'' with the drawing process. A second drawing was held, but lottery officials decided to honor both sets of winning numbers.

" In February 2001, Washington lottery officials honored two sets of winning numbers when the lottery incorrectly reported the number after the drawing. By honoring both numbers, the lottery also added a finalist to a separate drawing for a Mercedes convertible.

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