Florida Lottery delayed by Power Outage

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Seems we had a power outage in Tallahassee FL and the Lottery drawing was delayed. Haven't seen the reason for the outage yet. Maybe the squirrels? ;-) Find the y2k connection and have a nice day... ;-)

Link: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/daily/detail/0,1136,24500000000109680,00.html

Fair use: Educational and research purposes. [catagory: Awareness/General]

[Begin Story]

Lotto's delay irks players, hurts sales

By GLENN JEFFERS Staff Writer / Web-posted: 11:02 p.m. Oct. 3, 1999

When Farid Nasser arrived at 7 a.m. Sunday to open the Shop-N-Save, they were waiting for him. Customers stood in front of the store's Sunrise Boulevard entrance, asking about Saturday night's winning lottery numbers, which never aired at 11 p.m. and which did not appear in the morning newspapers.

"I called my friend in Dania and my friend in Fort Lauderdale," Nasser, 31, said. "Nobody knew what the problem was."

The clerk had no idea that in Tallahassee the numbers for Saturday's $15 million Lotto jackpot had been drawn only 13 minutes before he opened the store. A power outage at the state Lottery Department's headquarters caused an eight-hour delay.

Officials waited until power was restored before holding the Lotto drawing at 6:47 a.m. Sunday. They drew for the Fantasy 5 game at 6:54 a.m. They waited another three hours before announcing the winning numbers.

"Our No. 1 priority is to ensure that the integrity of every single ticket sale is maintained," lottery spokesman Leo DiBenigno said Sunday.

Shortly after the power outage occurred at 9 p.m. Saturday in Tallahassee, food markets, liquor stores and gas stations in South Florida noticed delays and malfunctions with their lottery systems. With an hour left to buy tickets for Saturday's drawing, backup systems in Orlando recorded ticket sales until the terminals closed an hour before the 11 p.m. scheduled drawing. Nonetheless, most outlets were unable to sell tickets during the last hour of the selling period.

After power was restored in Tallahassee sometime early Sunday morning, officials delayed reactivating the system to make sure everything was working properly.

Two tickets -- both purchased in Miami -- matched all six numbers in the Lotto drawing and will share the $15 million jackpot.

The winning numbers were: 5-18-20-28-35-38.

The last significant Lotto outage was in 1992, when software problems caused sporadic terminal shutdowns throughout the state for an hour. Before that, 37 hours in ticket sales were lost because of infrequent computer problems between Lotto's inception in April 1988 and October 1989.

"I started putting in a bunch of tickets and (the system) said wait," said Azanys Reeder, assistant common area manager at the Publix supermarket at 100 W. Oakland Park Blvd. "It stayed like that for 10 minutes, until we got a printout that the system was down.

"Then another Publix (at Coral Ridge Mall) called and asked if our lottery was down."

Reeder told her customers that the lines were down and that she couldn't accept any more numbers.

"They understood," she said. "But they were upset."

Some local supermarkets lost upwards of $300 each because of Saturday night's power outage and the subsequent delays on Sunday.

Also, stores could not process and pay out their instant-win (scratch-off) lottery games until 1 p.m.

"(The ticket sales) were greatly affected," said Mark Salazar, common area manager for the Coral Ridge Publix. "If we're not selling anything, it's going to affect ticket sales."

Smaller businesses said they felt the system breakdown less than supermarkets that serve more customers. Ray Sullivan, a clerk at Blackstone Liquors in Fort Lauderdale, said he had no idea there was a problem until he opened the store Sunday, turned on the Lotto machine, and tried to see if his numbers had hit.

Instead, he received a printout saying the system was still deactivated. That information didn't help much when waves of people rushed into the store, asking for the winning numbers.

"The people (who) were coming in were in a panic," Sullivan said. "They'd run in, ask if your machine was down, and once you told them, they'd take off and go to another store."

Stores of all sizes felt the wave as people either formed lines or called in asking about the winning numbers.

Attendants had nothing to relay from the Lottery Department. Many businesses that called the department either got a busy signal or an answering machine.

"I told them it's Y2K and it's starting with Lotto," said John Joseph, who works at the Coral Ridge Publix. "With the customers up at the front and phones ringing all day, it was stressful. At least that brought a smile to their faces."

Other faces continued to frown as systems stayed down longer than the Lottery Department anticipated.

Mohammad Ali, a cashier at the Shell gas station on Yamato Road at Federal Highway in Boca Raton, said his instant Lotto machine did not work until sometime after 4 p.m.

The Lotto machine was out of service all day Sunday at a Mobil station on the corner of Clint Moore Road and Congress Avenue, said cashier Tony Molecle. He said he called Lotto officials and was told the machine would be repaired sometime before Monday.

"A lot of people are coming in ... they're mad," Molecle said. "I can't sell nothing."

Staff Writer Stella Chavez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Glenn Jeffers can be reached at 954-385-7906.

[End story]

-- J (jart5@bellsouth.net), October 04, 1999


How many will be smiling in January? The Big Joke that FLOPPED!

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), October 04, 1999.

The California state government is also breaking down due to computer problems with their telephone carrier, Pac Bell. Nah, it can't be Y2K.

-- Mr. Adequate (mr@adequate.com), October 04, 1999.

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