COPENHAGEN Three hundred Danes who thought they'd won enough money on the lottery to last them several lifetimes were brought down to earth with a bump minutes later when they learnt their actual prizes wouldn't even pay for a weekend break.
State lottery company Danske Spil blamed "human error" for a glitch that held out the promise for part of Tuesday of jackpots ranging from an astronomical 1 billion Danish crowns to a mind-blowing 280 billion ($49.7 billion).
The shamefaced lottery firm shattered the 302 winners' dreams by email an hour and a half later.
"All won prizes but not billions of crowns," Thomas Rorsig, spokesman for Danske Spil, said. "The correct winnings .. were typically 200, 300 or 400 crowns (around $35 to $70)".
Rorsig said most had taken the bad news on the chin, though a few were "very angry" and demanded their original prize. Danske Spil was considering whether to boost the payouts by way of compensation, he added.
He said the mishap was caused by "human error" when employees at Danske Spil were preparing letters to winners of Eurojackpot, a game with a large payouts though nowhere near the billions announced.
Nothing like it had ever happened at Danske Spil, he said, "and I hope it never does again."
($1 = 5.6351 Danish crowns)
(Reporting by John Acher; Editing by John Stonestreet)