Nicole Coggins won $500 after buying a $1 Holiday Cash Add-A-Play lottery ticket on a whim on Christmas Day in South Carolina. "I was calling everyone I knew," she tells WYFF. She bought another ticket, and won $500 on that one too. Then she called her mother-in-law. Together, the pair won nearly $18,000 off the Holiday Cash Add-A-Play game. But due to what CNN calls a "programming error," they aren't getting any of that money. The AP explains that the game features a classic tic-tac-toe grid and is won by getting three Christmas trees in a row. But for nearly two hours on Christmas Day, every ticket printed had trees in all nine grid spaces. The South Carolina Education Lottery says there should never be more than five Christmas trees on any ticket.
A manager at one store in South Carolina says "it was crazy" when word started getting out that for once playing the lottery was a can't-lose proposition. The Holiday Cash Add-A-Play game was eventually shut down, winning tickets were put on hold, and an investigation was launched. The SCEL commission is holding an emergency meeting Friday to figure out what to do. Coggins, who says she spent $100 on tickets and already told her kids they were going to Disney World, has an idea: Pay up. "We didn't do anything wrong," she tells WYFF. "I think they should either honor the tickets or give us our money back." So far officials aren't saying how many winning tickets were sold during the glitch.