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Programming errors cause S.C. Lottery payout problems

Nov 14, 2008, 9:42 am

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South Carolina LotterySouth Carolina Lottery: Programming errors cause S.C. Lottery payout problems

Software bugs discovered in new system

The executive director of the South Carolina Lottery apologized to players Wednesday, a week after software glitches caused some lottery tickets to not be paid correctly.

Ernie Passailaigue, who heads the lottery, said a "myriad of problems" surfaced last week but have since been fixed. He said the problems stem from the installation of a new software system.

Some game tickets from the lottery's former game contractor didn't scan properly, he said, and some convenience-store workers didn't know how to scan the tickets or turn on the machines. The system's help line, he said, was "flooded."

"Did we have problems? Yes," he said. "Were the problems corrected? Yes."

Passailaigue said the lottery had to write 2.3 million lines of computer code for the software changes, which now allow the state's lottery outlets to sell games 24 hours a day. The conversion involved 16,000 new pieces of equipment, 360,000 feet of cable and the use of two satellites, Passailaigue said.

"A conversion, dealing with the volume we have here, a billion-dollar business, is no easy feat," he said. "So when you flip the switch from one system to another, there are going to be problems."

Although there was a report of some losing tickets being scanned as winners, Passaiaigue said the lottery has never paid for a non-winning ticket. He said the software didn't recognize some types of winning tickets produced by the state's former gaming contractor, Scientific Games, but the winners were eventually paid by the lottery.

"There was a certain grouping of tickets that would not pay properly," he said. "In other words, it would say, 'ticket is not a winner' and then when the clerk scanned it again it said, 'ticket already paid.' In that group of people who thought they had a winner, that was all resolved by us."

Passailaigue said he didn't know how many problems with tickets were reported, in part because the help line flooded and some may not have been able to get through to report problems.

He said although the lottery trained more than 5,500 retailers across the state in less than a month, "the people there two weeks ago are not there today." Some employees, he said, didn't know how to turn on the machines, while others didn't know how to properly scan the tickets.

He said some programming errors were responsible for some of the problems.

"They weren't epidemic, and they didn't cause us any great consternation," he said. "For our players used to buying a winning ticket and getting paid, it caused a little disruption in their schedule, and we apologize for that. We sell security and integrity. Right now it's operating pretty well."

However, Kenneth Cosgrove of Greenville, vice president of the state Association of Convenience Stores, said the games are still processing noticeably slower than before.

"There's been some glitches but you kind of expect that with a conversion of any kind," he said.

Passailaigue said the new, 10-year agreement with the lottery's new contractor, Intralot, will save the state $1.2 million per year.

Greenville News

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4 comments. Last comment 13 years ago by chasingadream.
Page 1 of 1
New Member

United States
Member #59386
March 15, 2008
3 Posts

Let me tell you!  I live in SC and the past couple of weeks for regular (or addicted) lottery players has been tuff!  I had trouble getting my ticket cashed and so did a number of other people I know!  Arguments with cashiers, etc.  It was crazy!  The new system is so damned slow and with all the problems I had trying to get my little 15.00 cashed last week....for the first time I'm scared to buy a lottery ticket!  Lots of people are because they're afraid of NOT getting their money or having to take a long trip to the lottery headquarters to cash out.  Why spend 20  bucks in gas to go cash a 10 dollar ticket?

    NBey6's avatar - Lottery-049.jpg
    The Carolinas
    United States
    Member #4290
    April 9, 2004
    21283 Posts

    What are you talking about?!

    So slow.................................

    Snail,Turtle,  Snail, TurtleSnail

    Make sure you leave yourselves plenty of time before the cut-off to get your tickets

    otherwise you'll be

     Bang Your Head 

    when your hit falls and you didn't have time to get it in!!!

    ** WWG1WGA **

    121, 126, 221, 306, 312, 427, 430, 519, 615, 616, 730, 807

    918, 923, 0918, 1007, 1011, 1031, 1125, 1206, 1216, 1228

      Image result for four leaf clover


      United States
      Member #10720
      January 23, 2005
      933 Posts

      They should have had ME write their program.. 2.3 million lines??? My prg. does all the Lotteries in the surrounding States and it's "only" 5000 lines!

        chasingadream's avatar - Archangel 01.jpg

        United States
        Member #38686
        May 3, 2006
        315 Posts

        They should have had ME write their program.. 2.3 million lines??? My prg. does all the Lotteries in the surrounding States and it's "only" 5000 lines!

        sounds to me like u need to be putting in an application with the commission

        Oogle  waiting patiently for my jackpot