The New Zealand government has turned down multiple requests from the Lottery Commission for extra funds to upgrade its website and app following a series of outages on the platforms.
As reported by News Talk ZB, the Commission has requested funds for upgrades for three years, but the then Minister had only partially funded upgrade works.
Lotto’s website and app came under scrutiny this week as thousands of players were unable to see if they had winning tickets or not.
Without the capability to upgrade the digital platforms, Lotto told its players to wait for a couple of days until the results were made available.
In June 2018, the Commission made a request to the Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin for money to perform upgrades, yet it only was given $8m, leaving Chairman Matthew Boyd to write to the Minister again in May 2019.
In 2020, the Lotteries Commission was requesting an “uncapped amount” which was declined and instead it was given $20.1m, reportedly not enough to perform the necessary upgrades to the digital platforms.
News Talk ZB reported that Martin wrote to the Commission in 2020 explaining that an uncapped amount was not feasible: “I note your request to retain an uncapped amount, however, believe that in order to retain oversight of the purpose of the profit retention and in order to maximise distributions to the Lottery Grants Board a capped amount is more appropriate.
“I understand that $20.1m provides some contingency from your current forecast funding deficit. I note that Lotto NZ may need to request further profit retention leading up to 2023/24 if the costs of the capital programme are higher than currently estimated.”
Technological issues have persisted since then, with another ‘major outage’ reported by Lotto this week leaving 60,000 users unable to view their tickets; the lottery could only tell those users to try again at a later date.
“We know you can’t wait to see if you’re a winner! Due to high demand, MyLotto will be opening later today, please come back later to check your ticket. Sorry for the inconvenience,” Lotto’s website stated.