Iowa Lottery posted wrong Powerball numbers — but temporary 'winners' get to keep the money

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Powerball losers in Iowa were actually winners for about seven hours this week after the state's lottery mistakenly posted the wrong winning numbers for the game.

Lottery officials blamed an unspecified “human reporting error” for the wrong numbers being posted for Monday night's Powerball drawing. The incorrect numbers were posted on the Iowa Lottery's website about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday and it took until 7:15 a.m. before anyone noticed the mistake, took down the numbers and halted payoffs.

The lottery said the initial, incorrect numbers would have resulted in prizes ranging from $4 to $200 — officials didn't specify how many people won. Anyone who got up early and cashed in a winning ticket will be able to keep the money.

Monday night's Powerball jackpot was for an estimated $355 million.

The lottery had to work until 3:30 p.m. Tuesday to correct its system and resume cashing winning Powerball tickets. With the correct numbers, 3,998 people who bought Powerball tickets in Iowa won prizes, also from $4 to $200.

The real winning numbers from Monday night's Powerball drawing were 2-21-38-61-66 and Powerball 12.