Few people play the lottery and really expect to win big bucks.
But a technical glitch in a Mega Millions game in Virginia seems to have prevented nearly 200 tickets from having a chance to win Tuesday night’s big jackpot of $40 million.
People who bought Mega Millions tickets in Virginia on Friday between 10:45 p.m. and 11:51 p.m. don’t have a shot — at all — of winning the big jackpot because there was a malfunction in the upgrading of the state’s gaming system, officials said.
In a statement, Virginia lottery officials said, “As the Virginia Lottery was upgrading its gaming system and the Mega Millions game, an error occurred.”
Officials said they did not know exactly what caused the error and it is under investigation.
The statement went on, “A small number of Mega Millions tickets under the old game were produced/sold incorrectly in Virginia for one hour.”
In the hour-long period when the tickets were sold, officials said, they have calculated that 182 plays or combinations can’t win the big $40 million jackpot. The tickets could still win smaller dollar prizes but couldn’t win the Mega Millions jackpot because of the technical problem, according to lottery officials.
After the update, the ticket price is now $2, up from $1. And the jackpot now starts at $40 million, up from $15 million.
In order to win the jackpot, players now have to match five white balls that are numbered from 1 to 70 and one Mega Ball number that goes from 1 to 25. Previously, the five balls were numbered up to 75 and the Mega Ball only went to 15.
With this latest technical glitch, lottery officials said, for example, that someone who has a 73 on a ticket that was sold in that hour-long period Friday can’t win the big jackpot in the new game because it now only goes up to 70.
John Hagerty, a Virginia lottery spokesman, said the technical problem was a one-time issue.
Officials in Virginia said they expect to sell roughly 470,000 tickets for the Mega Millions game from Friday until tonight’s drawing, which is at 11 p.m. Hagerty said that given the large number of tickets expected to be sold over the three-day period, less than .001 percent of the plays are affected by the technical glitch.
“But since we don’t know who are the people who bought these, we’re trying as hard as we can to get the word out so everyone has the same chance to win every prize,” he said.
Virginia lottery officials said they would honor Mega Millions tickets that were sold during that one-hour period on Friday. The ticket price and the price of a new ticket will be refunded to those players who were affected, officials said in a statement.
Those players have until 10:45 p.m. Tuesday to repurchase tickets for the Tuesday night Mega Millions lottery drawing, according to the state’s lottery website.
For more information call, 804-692-7778, or go to www.valottery.com.