Lottery chief faces grilling over technology glitches

The new operators of the National Lottery are to appear before the Oireachtas finance committee next Wednesday to face a grilling from retailers and politicians about serious technical glitches in the system since the takeover.

The new lottery regulator, Liam Sloyan, is also to attend, along with Tara Buckley, the chief executive of RGDATA, which represents 4,000 independent family-owned shops.

“We have indicated to the committee that we will attend,” a spokesperson for Premier Lotteries Ireland said yesterday, adding its CEO, Dermot Griffin, would be the lottery representative.

The invitation to PLI to appear before the committee follows a number of systems crashes and a continuing controversy over the lottery’s new ticket terminals.

PLI, which took over the franchise late last year, has been criticised for the way it has introduced new technology to replace the ageing system. Retailers claim it has worked intermittently at best and has been impacting on sales since November.

On February 4, the lottery was forced to postpone a weekly prize draw for the first time in its 28-year history.

Ticket terminals across the retail network crashed for several hours due to an outage at its telecoms provider Telefónica.

Last Friday, technical problems downed ticket machines for two hours ahead of the EuroMillions draw, while terminals crashed on Monday afternoon for the third time since the beginning of February.

A spokesperson for the National Lottery said the network crashed at 2.20pm on Monday but all services had resumed by 3pm and any issues had been resolved.

However, a spokeswoman for RGDATA said the breakdown went on for longer.

“It took at least two hours before it was up and running again,” she said.

“Many of our members tell us there are ongoing problems and they have to reboot while lines of customers are waiting.”


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