GA - Glitches Knock Out Ticket Terminals in 2 States (May 10 Story) : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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WEDNESDAY  May 10, 2000 Title: Small setbacks for Big Game Glitches knock ticket terminals out in two states

Plott Brice - Staff Wednesday, May 10, 2000

Lavonia --- For a few shaky hours Monday and Tuesday, there was a big time headache to match Big Game fever.

The eve of the drawing for a potential $350 million jackpot winner is not the time to inform customers of a technical glitch. But that's what retailers in many parts of northeast Georgia had to do Monday night and for more than six hours Tuesday.

A telephone switch component at BellSouth's center in Covington malfunctioned and knocked lottery ticket terminals off-line at 371 retail outlets, BellSouth spokesman Bill Carver said. Only about 5 percent of the lottery's 7,000 retail outlets were affected, said lottery spokeswoman Parquita Nassau.

But the problem was worse in southeastern Massachusetts, where an accidentally cut fiber-optic cable disabled between 750 and 1,000 lottery agents.

By 1 p.m. Tuesday, Georgia's problem had been fixed, and tickets were selling fast.

"I will tell you, I have a headache," said Carole Haynes, at Dad's Restaurant, near Lavonia.

Haynes said when she arrived at work at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, the restaurant's parking lot already was filling up. The spot is a major destination for South Carolinians playing both Georgia Lotto and the Big Game.

"I think, considering that many of the people waited a long time, most everybody was in a good mood," Haynes said. "I think they understood. I think the (jackpot) helps with the mood. And some have really been great. But for me, it is a lot more stressful to sit here when the machines are not working, than it is to sell ticket after ticket."

Dad's is such a popular spot with Lotto players that the site is continually watched by law enforcement people just to make sure no one gets any bad ideas.

Haynes said, based on Monday sales, the down time cost the restaurant about 40,000 ticket sales.

In Athens, some retailers experienced the problem on Monday.

"I was down for three hours Monday night," said Ashley Saunders, manager of an On the Way gas and convenience store on Baxter Street. Saunders said most people were nonchalant when informed the system was down.

"If a person stopped here just to buy a Big Game ticket, then they are going to buy one somewhere," Saunders said. "They may come back here later, or go someplace else. But they will find a way to buy a ticket."

--- Staff writer Peter Mantius contributed to this report.


-- (, May 16, 2000

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