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John Crow is the TV host who calls the winning numbers for the Mega Millions lottery game. On Wednesday night, in front of millions of viewers and with $86 million hanging on his ability to read numbers, he failed epically.
Crow was doing fine until he got to the gold “money ball” — the last number drawn. For some inexplicable reason, Crow announced the money ball as a “6” when it was actually “9.”
You might say, “Well, anyone can make that mistake.” After all, the “9” is an upside-down “6,” and the only way you can tell them apart is the line drawn under the number. Give the guy a break, right?
But Crow is paid to get it 100% right, 100% of the time. And he failed.
Mega Millions, except in California, pays $2 prizes for tickets where the holder matches only the gold ball number and $4 when the ticket has the gold ball and one other correct number (among the white balls). Matching two, three and four white balls and the gold balls also yield prizes of $10, $200 and $10,000, respectively.
But some people in New York who had the No. 6 Mega Ball were paid out, according to the lottery officials there.
“Due to human error relating to the May 10, 2022 Mega Millions draw, the New York Lottery paid a total of $5,538 to players who presented tickets with the incorrect winning number to retailers before approximately 10 a.m. on May 11,” the organization said in a statement. “This payment was recouped automatically via a Lottery account for uncashed tickets. There is no impact on aid to education or taxpayer funds.”
Mega Millions tickets are sold in 45 states. It’s unclear how many false tickets were paid out, but the real kicker is imagining if someone had matched all five of the “white ball” numbers and then had chosen a “6” as their Gold Ball number. There may be someone out there who, for a few minutes, believed they had won the $86 million jackpot.
Crow resumed his duties as host during Friday night’s drawing.