Connecticut's newest instant game is so popular, lottery terminals can't keep up
By Kate Northrop
The Connecticut Lottery's newest game is attracting so many players that lottery terminals are slowing or shutting down.
Fast Play, the Lottery's newest instant game, was launched about a month ago. Since then, the game has attracted players across the state and generated about $5 million in sales. In fact, the game has received so much attention, that lottery terminals at retailers and the system supporting them are malfunctioning.
The instant game offers a progressive jackpot that can be won partially or outright at any given time, depending on the amount a player wagers. As players purchase Fast Play tickets, the jackpot is automatically updated in real-time on Connecticut Lottery ticket vending machines, on monitors at in-store retailers, and on the official Connecticut Lottery website under the "Jumbo Bucks Progressive" tab.
While the system was tested before launch, the influx of purchases and constant updates to the real-time jackpot has slowed terminals down to the point that it shuts the machine down or delays a purchase.
Tara Chozet, the Director of Public Relations and Social Media for the Connecticut Lottery, explained that the issue is confined to a select few retailers across the state and that some crashes can be quickly dealt with on the spot.
"This is a fairly limited number of terminals that this is occurring with," she told Lottery Post. "Most of the time retailers have been able to self-serve and self-correct by rebooting their terminals, so this would enable them to continue selling as normal."
Some retailers have reported that the issues with their lottery terminals extend beyond a reset. The Krauszer's Food Store on Whitney Avenue in Hamden had to call in a technician twice to fix their lottery machines after it crashed. On both occasions, it took the technician three to four days to arrive. During the downtime, clerks were unable to scan winning tickets and redeem prizes.
It also didn't help that some lottery terminal outages occurred in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias, which left more than 720,000 Connecticut homes and businesses without power.
Despite the terminal malfunctions affecting Fast Play and draw games, however, the Krauszer's did not see a significant drop in ticket sales, nor do they seem to impact the Lottery's sales across the board.
"If you look at sales overall, we're still performing very strongly," Chozet reassured. "In fact, we're up currently year-over-year during the same period last year."
Scientific Games, the operator of the lottery terminals, has been sending technicians all over the state to complete repairs as well as assisting retailers reboot their machines over the phone. According to the Connecticut Lottery, both Scientific Games and the Lottery have been in constant communication since the problem arose.
"We are working with our vendor Scientific Games to ensure all of our retailers understand what the approximate wait time is for a technician to get out there and help them," Chozet said. "Scientific Games is also currently diagnosing the totality of the matter and we anticipate a fix happening very, very soon. They have also been requiring overtime from their field staff to help address the matter."
While Scientific Games and the Lottery continue to troubleshoot and fix the issue, there is a possibility that customers could experience a delay. Should this occur at a lottery terminal at the time of purchase, players can wait for the system to reboot or visit another retailer to play the new Fast Play instant game. For help finding the next closest lottery retailer, players can use the free Lottery Places (lotteryplaces.com) app, downloadable on the App Store and on Google Play.
To play Fast Play, players can wager $1, $2, or $5 for an instant chance to win either 20%, 40%, or 100% of the progressive jackpot, respectively, and must match all three of your listed numbers to the winning numbers shown. The jackpot amount is printed directly onto the ticket at the time of purchase.
The first person to win part of the jackpot did so three days after the game launched, on July 23. After wagering $1, the player took home 20% of the total jackpot, which amounted to $16,317. Just two days later, another player won the entire progressive jackpot with a $5 wager, totaling $120,887.
"The Fast Play Progressive Jackpot games had a very successful first week, with better than expected sales," President and CEO of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation Greg Smith said in a news release. "It was great to see two jackpot wins occur in the first week — one at the $1 price point, and the second a $5 price point win — allowing players to see how the jackpot grows and resets based on the amount of the win. We are very happy for those lucky winners and look forward to seeing many more."
The ticket that won it all was purchased at Amodeo's Highland Package Store on Highland Avenue in Waterbury. The wine and spirits store earned $1,209 for selling the winning ticket.
Despite the technical errors and glitches, a full jackpot payout within five days of Fast Play's release date bodes well for players looking to play a quick instant lottery game.
"Fast Play has been really popular amongst our players and we've had a lot of jackpot hits, so there's always an opportunity, and with a rolling jackpot, the opportunity is constantly there for players," Chozet remarked.