Software glitch halts lottery sales in New Jersey
TRENTON (AP) — A software upgrade to lottery ticket printers last weekend blocked an unknown number of New Jersey retailers from selling draw games from Pick 3 to Powerball, officials said.
The glitch was expected to be fixed by Monday afternoon, but it took until Thursday for nearly all of the retailers to be operational, The Record reported. Instant games were not affected by the outage.
The outage comes as Northstar New Jersey, the private company hired to run the sales and marketing of the lottery, has fallen more than $170 million short of its net income targets the first two years of its 15-year contract.
Lottery spokeswoman Judith Drucker said new software to the network's ticket printer driver was scheduled to be installed Friday night while most retailers are closed. But a technical issue knocked out printing capabilities to roughly half the state's retailers.
The software was completely tested before it was downloaded to the network, she said, and there was no indication of a problem.
But many lottery terminals displayed a printing error when many retailers started them up Saturday morning.
Joseph Perone, a treasury spokesman, said there will be a review on how the outages happened and how they can be prevented.
The lottery is New Jersey's fourth-largest revenue source. In fiscal year 2014, draw games accounted for $1.07 billion of the lottery's record $2.9 billion in ticket sales. The 2015 fiscal year's sales are expected to be more than $3 billion, according to the lottery.
The state can charge Northstar $60 for each retailer that experienced degraded service from the outage, according to their contract. But Drucker would not say if that or any other contract provision would be exercised.
"At present, our concern is to resolve the technical issue," she said.
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