Where’s the winner? Lottery’s Powerball error adds intrigue

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CHICOPEE, Mass. —  The head of the Massachusetts State Lottery says a transcription error led the organization to wrongly identify the store that sold the lone winning Powerball ticket.

In a statement issued Thursday morning, lottery Executive Director Michael Sweeney says officials were manually recording the names of the retailers that sold the winning ticket for the $758.7 million jackpot, as well as two tickets that won $1 million prizes. He says they transcribed it incorrectly.

Sweeney issued an apology for the confusion created by the error, but said lottery staff remained thrilled that a jackpot winning ticket and two $1 million winning tickets were sold in Massachusetts.

Mike Donatelli, a spokesman for the Pride Station & Store in Chicopee, Massachusetts, says they were told shortly before 8 a.m. that the store had actually sold that ticket. The jackpot is the largest grand prize won by a single lottery ticket in U.S. history.

Donatelli says the founder of the chain, Bob Bolduc, plans to hold news conferences at 10 a.m. and at noon. The store is part of a chain that operates in western Massachusett and northern Connecticut.  The Chicopee store will receive $50,000 for selling the winning ticket.

The error by the Massachusetts State Lottery over which store sold the lone winning Powerball ticket is being blamed on nerves.

Michael Sweeney, the lottery’s executive director, tells WBZ-AM they had a “couple of excited people at 1 o’clock in the morning” but said if there’s any blame to be placed, the buck stops with him.

The lottery initially said a convenience store in Watertown had sold the winning ticket. A few hours later, it announced it had made a mistake, and that the winning ticket was sold across the state at the Pride Station & Store in Chicopee, in Western Massachusetts.

Sweeney says the lottery had not yet heard from the winner.  He said the Chicopee store will receive $50,000 for selling the winning ticket, he said.  He said the store in Watertown did sell a ticket that won a $1 million prize.