Online lottery off to slow start in Georgia

by: Atlanta Journal-Constitution Updated:

First none of us won Saturday night’s ginormous $325 million Powerball jackpot. Then the lazybones gambler’s dream, online ticket sales, failed to kick off on Sunday as we’d been promised by the Georgia Lottery.

Sigh. Could it have gotten any worse to be a lottery player here this weekend?

Uh, yes. Just when the Powerball jackpot had rolled over to a record $425 million Sunday, ticket sales machines appeared to go down in much of metro Atlanta Sunday afternoon. We say “appeared” because no one answered the phone at Georgia Lottery headquarters all morning and afternoon and the web site — www.galottery.com — contained no mention of any machines going down, or what was happening with online sales nada.

Things had seemed to be humming along late last week when the lottery said online sales would begin on Sunday with Powerball, Mega Millions and Fantasy 5 . The expansion would coincide with the launch of the lottery’s new debit card, to be used for online and, eventually, retail transactions.

Dubbed the “iHope” card, it would allow players to preload funds, buy tickets and have their winnings automatically downloaded into the card’s account.

But there was no information about iHope or online sales on galottery.com Sunday. Worse, lottery terminals weren’t dispensing tickets during spot checks in various parts of Atlanta. Around noon, an employee of the Sam’s Mart on Howell Mill Road told an AJC photographer that machines were down all over the state.

The Georgia Lottery couldn’t be reached for comment after numerous attempts on Sunday.


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