Lottery promises compensation for some players
By Kate Northrop
The New Jersey Lottery today announced that sales for its Fast Play family of games will be restored this evening after a software issue forced ticket sales offline and provided details regarding compensation for affected tickets.
On Tuesday, the Lottery suspended Fast Play sales immediately after discovering a vendor software error.
Sales for the Fast Play family of games are scheduled to resume tonight, Apr. 29 at 5:00 pm EST. The Fast Play Progressive jackpot will be up for grabs at $453,348, which was the amount in effect on Apr. 27 before the temporary suspension of sales.
According to a press release, the computer gaming system used by the Lottery was recently upgraded by its vendor IGT, but a software coding error occurred during the upgrade. The software error began affecting Fast Play games on Feb. 26, 2021 and prevented the gaming system from selecting a Fast Play Progressive top prize tier "jackpot" winner.
Prize tier winners below the top prize tier "jackpot" were unaffected by the issue.
Since the issue began, the Lottery cited that players purchased 1.3 million tickets and took home about $4.6 million in lower-tier Fast Play prizes. Between the onset of the glitch and discovery of the problem, the Lottery found that 5% of purchases were used to fund the progressive jackpot.
Fast Play games utilize a computerized drawing system to draw winning numbers, as opposed to its daily draw games that use traditional lottery ball drawings.
To compensate for the coding blunder that prevented anyone from winning the jackpot, the Lottery said that it is offering players in possession of non-winning Fast Play tickets the option of submitting them to receive a voucher for a free ticket in amount equal to the dollar value of the eligible tickets submitted. Eligible tickets also include non-winning Fast Play tickets purchased since Feb. 26 that were previously entered into the Lottery's Collect N' Win second chance drawing.
For details on how to obtain vouchers, the Lottery advised players to check back on its official website Friday, Apr. 30.
While the compensatory measures aim to make up for the game's inability to select a jackpot winner for two months, it is unclear how players who have already discarded non-winning tickets will be reimbursed or if reimbursement will even be possible at all.
The last time a progressive jackpot was won was on Feb. 11, 2021 for the $10 game 50X the Cash, which was valued at $155,386.
The Lottery advised that the situation would continue to be updated as more information is made available.