New operating system joins brand-new equipment
By Kate Northrop
Iowa Lottery players might have begun to notice some changes the state lottery made to its retailer lottery terminals last weekend.
Not only that, but the Lottery says that its recent changeover to a new operating system has opened the door to using updated technology, instruments, and consumer-facing hardware.
"This is a huge project the Lottery only takes on about once a decade because it involves replacing all of the equipment that the Lottery has in the field," Iowa Lottery Vice President of External Relations Mary Neubauer told RadioIowa. "So, all the lottery terminals, all the self-checkers, the lighted jackpot signs, and then the central communications backbone that links them all in real time."
Gone are the red lottery terminals that used to grace retailers, replaced by black and white terminals with greater processing speeds. According to the Lottery, the new and faster in-store equipment helped prepare for the big operating system upgrade.
"Earlier this year, the red lottery terminals that folks were used to seeing in stores started to be replaced with new black and white terminals, and the printers that went along with them, and the self-checkers — that was all replaced," Neubauer continued.
These changes took place at about 2,400 retailers, but players who recently bought draw game tickets might have noticed more than just the shiny new terminals.
"The lottery terminals are a little bit faster than the old ones," Neubauer explained. "The tickets that are printed have a higher resolution — so everything is easier to read on the tickets."
Probably one of the more noticeable changes coming to stores was influenced by the record-breaking $1.05 billion Mega Millions jackpot from earlier this year.
"Our signs pretty much just topped out at $999 million — as if that wasn't enough money, right?" Neubauer quipped. "But we just couldn't keep up with the higher amounts, and now the new jackpot signs can go up into the billions if that is needed."
And who knows — maybe those signs will soon prove useful. As of now, the estimated Powerball jackpot is currently at $685 million, the 8th-largest jackpot in U.S. history and the 6th-largest in the game.
If you're keeping a close eye on whether it's going to increase closer to that $1 billion mark, you can check out USA Mega (www.usamega.com), where Powerball lottery results are published within minutes of the drawing. The USA Mega Web site provides lottery players in-depth information about the United States's two biggest multi-state lottery games, Mega Millions and Powerball.