Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Many people are left with what appears to be a winning lottery ticket, but no money. Several people contacted News 19 on Facebook, saying they were unable to cash in their tickets.
"I was like, 'oh my God. Merry Christmas to me!'" said Tennille Lockard.
Lockard thought it was a Christmas miracle.
"I won $2 at first, and then I saw I won again... and again... and again," she said.
She spent more than $25 on Holiday Cash tickets, and paid the extra dollar to play. To win, players have to get three Christmas trees in any vertical, horizontal or diagonal line.
"I thought it was a promotion," she said, "giving back because it was Christmas."
The majority of Lockard's tickets had nine Christmas trees, which meant she would have won more than $500, so she kept playing.
But her Christmas miracle took a turn when she went to cash out her tickets.
"When I went to redeem my ticket, it said 'transaction now allowed,'" Lockard said.
But she said that wasn't the case for everyone.
"One owner said he cashed out $500, but when he went to cash out mine, it said it was not allowed."
But now, Lockard is trying to figure out if the South Carolina Education Lottery is going to honor the tickets, or give players their money back.
The South Carolina Education Lottery released this statement late Tuesday evening:
"The South Carolina Education Lottery's computer system vendor, Intralot, experienced a programming error on Christmas Day that impacted Holiday Cash Add-A-Play tickets, a $1 terminal-generated instant game. From 5:51 p.m. to 7:53 p.m., the same play symbol was repeated in all nine available play areas on tickets which would result in a top prize of $500. No more than five identical play symbols should appear for a single play. As soon as the issue was identified, the Add-A-Play game was suspended immediately to conduct a thorough investigation. Instant (scratch) tickets and all other lottery games were not affected by this error.Holiday Cash Add-A-Play game sales and validations will remain suspended until further notice. All players who purchased a Holiday Cash Add-A-Play ticket on Christmas Day during the time period affected are advised to hold on to their ticket(s) until the review is completed. A further announcement will be made at the end of this week."