herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

Privatisation brought cash and series of game glitches

Lottery
Lottery

THE National Lottery was hit by a number of glitches in the months following the privatisation of the game, with the worst coming in February when a €10m draw had to be postponed for a day.

The move was the "right and only decision to be taken", according to Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI), the company that now runs the Lotto.

Technical failures forced the postponement of the draw scheduled for Wednesday, February 4, for 24 hours for the first time in Lotto history.

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PLI bought the licence to run the national lottery from the Government and took over operations last November.

The group consists of Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTPP), An Post and An Post Pension Fund.

A countrywide failure of the system made national headlines when the draw was delayed.

A storm in Spain caused major disruption to the Telefonica network and this failure took down the 3G network, PLI said.

Lotto machines around the country were out for hours as a result.

On Thursday, February 5, when shops re-opened with working machines, more than 400,000 hopeful punters rushed to buy tickets for the €10m jackpot draw.

Five days later the company suffered a further glitch when 800 terminals around the country failed due to a technical fault at another mobile network.

By lunchtime all of the terminals were back up and running. The second failure was totally unrelated to the first.

Machines in some stores failed again on February 27.

The Lotto Regulator, Liam Sloyan, informed officials in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform of the problem shortly after 4pm, though it had arisen at 2pm.

Nine minutes later he advised that the problem had been resolved.

When asked if the problems could recur, PLI pointed out that the network has been functioning for 99.1pc of the time.

A spokeswoman said that the technology replacement programme during their Lotto takeover was the biggest in Irish retail history and they had experienced some "bedding-in issues".

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