Iowa Lottery Reports Incorrect Powerball Numbers, Pays Out ‘Losing’ Tickets

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Officials with the Iowa Lottery say human error resulted in Powerball numbers being incorrectly reported last week in the Hawkeye State.

Employees at the Iowa Lottery wrongly entered winning Powerball numbers this week. Those who would have won with the wrong numbers will be paid as if they were true winners. (Image: Iowa Lottery)

The Iowa Lottery initially reported that the winning white ball numbers for Monday night’s Powerball drawing were 9-29-51-53-61 and Powerball 12. Those numbers were made public soon after the Nov. 27 drawing and remained published until lottery officials the following morning around 7:15 am CST noticed the results were incorrect.

Lottery reps said Powerball results are manually inputted, but the employees who entered the results mistakenly input the Iowa Lottery’s Double Play winning numbers as the winning Powerball draw.

Many participating Powerball lottery jurisdictions allow players to buy a $1 add-on play that comes with a second group of six numbers. The Double Play does not allow a player to win the advertised jackpot but instead caps the top prize at $10 million.

“As part of the Iowa Lottery’s procedures, two different people in two different locations both enter the results from lotto drawings before they are officially recorded on the lottery’s statewide gaming system. But when the winning numbers from Monday’s Powerball drawing were being inputted, some of the numbers were mistakenly entered incorrectly,” a lottery statement read.

Losers Made Winners

The Iowa Lottery says the correct Powerball numbers for the Nov. 27 drawing were 2-21-38-61-66 and Powerball 12. The Power Play number was 2. The Double Play numbers were 9-29-51-53-61 and Double Play Powerball 20.

Lottery reps said those who would have won Powerball prizes through the erroneously posted Double Play results would be made whole. The lottery said the error impacted only a few players, and their prizes ranged from $4 to $200.

The reporting error disabled the Iowa Lottery’s operations for several hours on Tuesday. Winning payouts were temporarily halted. The lottery said the issue was resolved on Tuesday around 3:30 pm local time.

There were 3,998 winning tickets in Iowa during the Tuesday draw, with the top prize of just $200. Across the game’s 45 participating states, DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, 35,399 tickets won a prize ranging from $4 to $100,000.

Lottery Integrity

This week, many players were surprised to learn that the Iowa Lottery still relies on humans to input winning numbers. Speaking with the Lottery Post, a media outlet that covers the lottery industry, Mary Neubauer, the vice president of external relations and social responsibility at the Iowa Lottery, said one person in one location and another person in another location both entered the numbers in what’s designed to be a double-check redundant process.

It’s a double-edged sword — people have concerns about automation and machine gaming and how involved computers are in the lottery process,” she said. “There’s a check and balance there, and any system you put in place has errors involved. Nothing is foolproof.”

The Iowa Lottery Powerball reporting error is the latest controversy to put another black eye on the lottery industry.

Familiar Story

The New York Lottery experienced a similar reporting error in May 2022. The Indiana Lottery the previous month accidentally printed all of its $20 Golden Jackpot Fast Play scratch-offs as $5,000 winning tickets. The scratchers were subsequently recalled and voided.

A year ago this month, Powerball players anxiously awaiting the results of the $2.04 billion drawing — the all-time richest lottery prize in US history — were forced to sit tight for nearly 10 hours. Officials with the Multi-State Lottery Association, which operates the game, cited a delay by one of its participating lotteries in reporting its numbers.

It was later revealed that the Minnesota Lottery experienced a technical issue in reporting its ticket sales and number combinations to MUSL.

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