Machine mix-up leads to dozens of faulty tickets

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – They entered the store with hopes of striking it rich through a winning lottery ticket. They exited with bogus tickets – all dated from 1999.

A lottery machine mix-up Thursday resulted in roughly 70 invalid tickets being printed at a Cranston convenience store, the Rhode Island Lottery said Friday.

The problem was caused by a field service technician for gaming technology company Gtech Holdings Corp. who accidentally replaced a malfunctioning machine at the Oaklawn Mart with a model terminal used in training sessions, officials said.

The training machines print sample tickets and are used to demonstrate how wagers are placed for on-line games like Wild Money and PowerBall. But those machines are not connected to the lottery’s central monitoring system, where wagers are logged and recorded.

The model terminal in Cranston issued about 70 sample tickets all bearing the date 1999.

“It was inadvertently put in place,” Gtech spokesman Robert Vincent said Friday. “It should not have been. It was fundamentally a human error.”

Vincent said the mistake was being reviewed but he declined to say whether the technician would be disciplined.

Khaliq Uzzaman, the owner of the convenience store, said he was disappointed the problem was not fixed until Thursday evening, when another technician arrived. A proper terminal has been installed, the lottery said.

Uzzaman said he hasn’t faced much anger from affected customers.

“They know this is not my fault,” Uzzaman said.

Gtech, which was acquired in August by Italian lottery company Lottomatica SPA, is a provider of lottery systems and services. It recently relocated its corporate office from West Greenwich to downtown Providence.

Anyone who purchased one of the invalid tickets was instructed to contact the state lottery.

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