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The illusion of thousands of winning the “Gordo” vanished in a second, when it was confirmed by the Junta de Protección Social (JPS) – the state lottery operator – that the winning number and series never went out.

The JPS assures that the jackpot first prize will be shared by hospitals, nursing homes, child care centres and other charities.

However, many lottery players feel cheated.

This is the second time in the history of the lottery that there has not been a winner. What irks people is the manner they lost out, since the number never went out, the feeling expressed to the media is that the JPS should hold a consolation draw.

In some countries, if there is no winner, the jackpot rolls over into the next. Costa Rica’s lottery officials say that will not be the case. “The lottery (Gordo Navideño) is done”, said Franciso Ibarra, general manager of the JPS, this morning.

Some lottery vendors expressed concern for the public may see this is a fraud and stop buying the lottery.

An advocacy group said that since the JPS knew the numbers were not out – officials confirmed that vendors had been purchasing the lower numbers (under 50) and that the higher numbers were still in – they should have drawn again.

Milton Vargas, sales manager for the Junta explained that the rules of the lottery sets out how to calculate the net profits that will go to the aforementioned institutions, and that the prize money is not being kept by the lottery even though it is not paid out to the consumer.

Vargas guarantees that the draw was transparent and it was a due to a marketing issue for the numbers from 51 and up not selling.

Lottery players in Costa Rica use a variety of ways to pick numbers, birthdays, anniversaries, numbers coming to them in dreams, as a few. Another factor is buying low (00 to 50) or high (51 to 99). This year the trend was on low.