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Glitch that stole Christmas: Lottery makes everyone a winner

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — A Christmas Day lottery glitch in South Carolina has left officials trying to determine how to deal with thousands of unexpected winners.

The Holiday Cash Add-A-Play game generates trees on a tic-tac-toe grid paying up to $500 when someone gets three in a line.

Lottery officials say that, for two hours Monday, trees were being printed in all nine grids, giving all players who paid $1 the maximum prize. In all, $19.6 million was won.

But when players went to cash their tickets, the computer wouldn’t pay. Dozens came Wednesday to the lottery’s office in Columbia.

The South Carolina Education Lottery commission voted Friday to set aside the money to possibly pay all winners, but also to investigate Intralot, the company that ran the game, and get legal advice.