Missing Ball Costs Lottery More Than $53,000

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Ohio Lottery will pay an additional $53,454 to ticket holders because the number 28 was left out of the Buckeye 5 drawing Monday night.

In addition to 9-31-32-33-34, the number 28 is also being honored for Monday's Buckeye 5 drawing.

Officials added the sixth number because a lottery ball with the number 28 did not go into the 37-ball Buckeye 5 mix for the drawing. The ball was found under a piece of equipment after the drawing, said lottery spokeswoman Mardele Cohen.

The lottery would have paid out $168,054 on the original five numbers drawn. The addition of number 28 increased the payout to $221,508.

One ticket matched all five balls for $100,000. The addition of number 28 did not add any winners for the top prize.

The lottery still came out ahead in Monday's Buckeye 5 drawing on ticket sales of $263,765.

"Knock on wood. We were very concerned last evening," Cohen said

The Buckeye 5 balls are counted and loaded into a machine before each drawing, then counted again after the drawing.

When the machine was loaded Monday night, the air that mixes the balls forced some out of the back of the machine, which was not latched properly, Cohen said. The balls were picked up, counted and placed back into the machine, but the number 28 ball was somehow left out, she said.

The lottery will not change its procedure on Buckeye 5 or other games, Cohen said.

"The director will be dealing with the staff," she said.

The lottery could have declared Monday night's drawing invalid and selected a new set of five numbers.

The lottery honored tickets with the number 28 ball to be fair to players, said lottery Director Dennis Kennedy.

Cohen said there was one other time when a ball was left out of a machine -- during a Pick 3 drawing in the 1980s. The lottery honored tickets with the missing ball for that drawing as well.

(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)