Lottery commission lacks transparency; blames "glitch" for delay; players frustrated
Update: Lottery Post has prize data published
By Kate Northrop
Some players are still unable to claim winnings from the New York Lottery since they froze prize payouts last Wednesday.
The Lottery has put a hold on prize claims for the Powerball, New York Lotto, Cash4Life, and Take 5 games, blaming the delay on a "glitch."
On Thursday, June 10, the Lottery put out a statement on social media to alert players of the issue.
"There has been a delay in finalizing draw results and prize payments for the following games: Powerball (all tickets) and for the 6/9 draw, New York Lotto, Cash4Life and Take 5," the announcement reads. "Please hold on to your tickets until resolved."
Lottery Post reached out twice for comment but did not receive a response.
However, York State Gaming Commission Director of Communications Brad Maione told Newsday that "all wagers have been recorded properly and all winning patron tickets will be able to be redeemed as soon as the system is fully restored."
Players were understandably more than frustrated that there was little information on the problem to begin with. Many reported that they had reached out to the Lottery for an update or timeline, only to receive a generic response that blames the delay on a software glitch.
Maione explained that the cause of the extensive delay was the "substantial time" it took for Lottery technicians to identify the computer glitch, and that the repair required a slow, methodical restoration of data.
The state had to pause payouts in the first place because the glitch prevented numbers from being verifiable, creating an issue of legitimacy on the state's end, News10NBC reported.
Multiple players on social media were upset with the way the Lottery displayed an error message when scanning tickets, which looked similar to a notification a player receives when their ticket is not deemed a winner. As a result, many players mistakenly threw tickets out that may have held winnings. Some even threatened legal action.
"You are not even listing any prize amounts on Take 5," Facebook user William Dziekanowski told the Lottery. "I have a 2nd prize winner and no info, no way to cash. Not to mention this GLITCH information was not displayed. I threw out a wad of tickets I scanned at a machine and didn't realize it said, 'Results are not in.' It had the same window as 'Sorry not a winner' with the green box and tiny writing. I only realized the day after when the store told me, and I was sure I had a few 3rd prize winners, but just trusted you were on top of your job. This 45-day limit better not come by and you refuse to pay out prizes, I have screen shots and will get a lawyer."
Other players were finding out about the glitch the hard way, with some traveling to casinos and discovering that they were unable to payout prizes.
"I actually went to the casino to find out they weren't doing payouts, a two-hour trip to leave empty handed," Barcley Santos said on social media. "No email of cancellation or anything. But it's weird that drawings are still occurring."
Few players are reporting that the Lottery is gradually rolling out prize payouts for older drawings after some were able to cash tickets Sunday evening.
"I just cashed my Take5 ticket from June 9th..." Donna Lee announced. "But I still couldn't cash my Take5 free plays tickets from June 11th."
According to State Assembly Gaming Committee Chairman Gary Pretlow, payouts are expected to resume within a couple days.
"It's a lot of money, and through an abundance of caution, they didn't want to pay out too little or too much," Pretlow told Newsday.
As the computer system is expected to gradually return to full functionality each day, winning tickets worth less than $600 will be paid out first. Then, winning tickets worth more than $600 will be able to be processed, Lottery officials said.
"We are diligently working to reestablish the New York Lottery prize payments system for tickets," Maione said on Monday afternoon.
UPDATE: Lottery Post has prize data published
As of 2:00 pm Eastern Time Tuesday, Lottery Post has published all of the missing New York Take 5 and Lotto prize amounts for June 9th through the 14th. Players can find the prize information by going to the New York Lottery Results page and using the game links right next to the winning numbers.