Topeka — What are the odds?
Apparently, too great.
A computer glitch caused the Kansas Lottery's Pick 3 game to draw identical numbers in the same order three days straight, from Dec. 16 through Sunday.
Apparently some players caught on. By day three of picking 5-0-9, ticket sales were $12,223, and the payout was $23,480, which is 192 percent of sales. The usual payout is 50 percent to 60 percent, Kansas Lottery executive director Ed Van Petten said.
The 5-0-9 picked on Dec. 16 was legitimate, but on the next two days the numbers resulted from a computer hardware failure in the drawing system that has since been fixed, officials said.
Mike Harmon received a message about the Pick 3 computer malfunction shortly after he began his shift Thursday afternoon as a clerk at the Kwik Shop at Ninth and Mississippi streets in Lawrence.
"It was bound to happen at some time. I'm surprised it hasn't happened before," Harmon said.
But he said the Pick 3 ticket had been much less popular than the Powerball and Kansas Cash drawings, and Harmon estimated that he didn't sell a Pick 3 ticket every day.
Because of the malfunction, lottery officials plan a special promotion Saturday, giving anyone who makes a Pick 3 ticket purchase of $1 or more a free $1 Quick Pick, Pick 3 ticket.
In addition, players who have nonwinning Pick 3 tickets from Dec. 17 or 18 and want to return them for a refund may mail or bring the tickets, along with their return address, to: Pick 3 Refund, Kansas Lottery, 128 N. Kansas Ave., Topeka 66603.
The lottery will issue coupons to players for the purchase price of their nonwinning Pick 3 tickets from the Dec. 17 and 18 drawings. The coupons may be used for Quick Pick tickets in future Pick 3 drawings.
The deadline for players to return these Pick 3 tickets is Jan. 27.