The Minnesota Lottery said Thursday that a technical problem with its two-stage verification process was to blame for unprecedented delays this week at a record $2.04 billion.,
Anyone who bought a ticket in Southern California had all the winning numbers, becoming Powerball’s first jackpot winner in more than three months.
But the multi-state drawing of Monday night– as of Tuesday morning – while lottery officials resolved the problem.
Minnesota Lottery officials said Thursday there was a problem with its two-level verification system, which is operated by outside vendors. The lottery said the system is designed to ensure that every lottery ticket purchased has a fair and equal chance of winning.
The Minnesota Lottery stated that a seller is responsible for printing the tickets and recording each transaction to confirm the authenticity of each ticket; The second seller is responsible for checking the work of the first. Every night, before a drawing can take place, the two systems must “balance” — meaning each data entry must be transmitted between the two and match perfectly, the Minnesota Lottery said.
The Minnesota Lottery said Monday night, the two systems could not communicate in real time, so there was a delay in bringing them to balance. The executives worked for hours on the issue, then realized that the sales data for the entire day needed to be reprocessed, which took another 5 1/2 hours.
“While we were disappointed by the delay in the national drawing, the integrity and accuracy of our games always take priority,” the Minnesota Lottery said in a statement. “At no time was sales data or games compromised.”
The Minnesota Lottery apologized, but said: “Any error in the drawing would have been worse than the actual delay.”
The $2.04 billion jackpot was the largest lottery prize ever won, surpassing the previous record $1.586 billion prize won by three Powerball ticketholders in 2016. Only four past jackpots have been above $1 billion, but none have come close to the current prize, which started at $20 million on August 6 and has grown to three months without winnings. No one had won the jackpot since August 3.
The $2.04 billion prize is awarded to the winner who chooses the annuity, which is paid annually over 29 years. Almost all winners choose cash, which was valued at $997.6 million.
Jackpot ticket was sold on, an unincorporated community in the foothills northeast of Los Angeles. For selling the winning ticket, business owner Joe Chayd will receive a Powerball bonus of up to $1 million.
The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million. The game is played in 45 states as well as Washington, DC, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.