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The Win That Wasn't

Last Updated: Wednesday 27th September 2006, 13:04 pm

A South Korean lottery player who experienced the delight of buying a winning ticket had his dreams shattered when officials told him that he couldn't claim the $1,000,000 prize he thought he'd won because of a printing error.

Sales of the scratchcard - a Speetto-2000 instant win ticket - have been stopped by the Prime Minister's Commission on Lottery after it was revealed that printers had produced ten tickets awarding the top prize instead of the expected four.

Although the tickets could already be in circulation, lottery officials have said that they are under no legal obligation to pay out on any of the six misprinted tickets - something that is bound to cause plenty of disappointment among anyone thinking they've struck it lucky.

As with most scratchcards, small print on the reverse of each card provides a number of rules concerning validation of winning tickets. In the case of the Speetto-200 ticket, it is stated that no payout will be made unless coded numbers with the issuer, bank and printer all match. Since the additional six winning tickets were created by a printing error, the codes don't match, and the player legally has no right to receive a payout.

The printing errors are not confined to the six "accidental" top-prize winning tickets. Over the past six months, 20 million tickets have been printed, and some 7,000 have been affected by printing errors. Although 90 per cent of these invalid tickets have been recovered, the rest are still in circulation, and so far just one of the four real jackpot-winning tickets has been verified and processed as usual.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister's Commission on Lottery said: "We suspect that errors might have occurred when the printers were transmitting tickets-producing data to the printing system."

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