Thousands of disappointed B.C. lottery players were confronted by full-page newspaper ads yesterday suggesting they may have been robbed of past winnings.
While discovering they didn't win Wednesday's $38 million Lotto 6/49 jackpot, they also learned they could have held winning tickets for lotteries between Feb. 8 and March 30 and been told they were not winners.
A consumer advisory said a software update to the Internet Number Checker inadvertently prevented draw results from being presented correctly by secondary B.C. Lottery Corp. web addresses. The glitch is believed to have affected about 2,800 customers who requested draw results between Feb. 8 and March 30, using the Internet Number Checker from web addresses other than www.bclc.com.
These include about 20 B.C. Lottery Corp. web domains such as B.C. Lotto, Lotto B.C. and B.C. Lotteries, which would normally reroute users to the official bclc.com site.
The corporation says the problem does not affect 99,000 players who checked their results directly at bclc.com, or on PlayNow at bclc.com. Nor does it affect those who used Check-a-Ticket terminals in retail outlets, or self-serve terminals at bars and pubs.
[Editor: Lottery Post's Lottery Results Search was/is not affected by the B.C. Lottery's computer glitch, and has always proivded valid winning number advice.]
Communications officer Robin Cook said prizes go unclaimed throughout the year, but there was no unusual spike in such prizes during the glitch period.
Cook encouraged those who believe they were affected by the problem to contact the corporation.
The corporation is also running separate ads, headlined Did You Win?, showing customers how to make sure they are not cheated by retailers. The campaign coincides with a scandal in Ontario involving fraudulent wins by retailers of lottery tickets.
BCLC communications officer Robin Cook said there is no reason to suspect vendor fraud in B.C. She was unable to comment on earlier reports that B.C. vendors are winning an estimated six times more prizes than they statistically should while the B.C. Ombudsman is investigating BCLC practices in the wake of the Ontario scandal.
"We expect this third-party investigation will provide further insurance that in B.C. our games are fair and the correct prizes are paid to the correct winners," Cook said.
The ombudsman's report is expected in mid-to-late May.
Meanwhile four B.C. ticketholders in Burnaby, Kamloops, Vancouver and Victoria each won secondary prizes of $340,495 in Wednesday's draw for having five correct numbers and the bonus number.
The winning numbers in Wednesday's draw were 5, 16, 21, 25, 40 & 48. The bonus number was 31.
Two tickets bought in Ontario share the jackpot of $38 million.