BRAINTREE (CBS) – The executive director of the Massachusetts Lottery apologized during a press conference Thursday after officials mixed up which store had sold a record-setting $758.7 million Powerball ticket.
Initially Thursday morning, the state lottery announced that Handy Variety in Watertown had sold the winning ticket, which set the record for largest jackpot won by a single ticket in North American lottery history.
But a short time later, it was announced that human error led lottery officials to mistakenly identify the store that sold the big winner.
It was Pride gas station in Chicopee that sold the massive winning ticket, while Handy Variety and a store in Dorchester each sold $1 million winners.
Michael Sweeney, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Lottery, said the mix-up came as a result of a “simple mistake” by an employee.
“It was the result of a human error that was corrected as quickly as it could be corrected,” said Sweeney, adding that he “took this with the utmost seriousness.”
Sweeney said the Massachusetts Lottery’s internal system correctly identified which stores sold the corresponding prize.
When an employee went to transfer the information, they transposed the information on the Watertown and Chicopee stores, leading to the confusion. A second employee who verified the information did not catch the error.
The store owner who sold the jackpot winner received $50,000 while the stores that sold $1 million tickets received $10,000.
During a Thursday press conference, Sweeney apologized for the mistake, and said the Massachusetts Lottery will review procedures and “try to do better going forward.”
Sweeney also said that instead of dwelling on the error, he chooses to focus on the positive.
“We just produced three new millionaires in the Commonwealth, and that’s what my focus is on,” he said, calling the massive jackpot and additional $1 million winners “really historic.”