Lotto body enters phase 3 of upgrade

The Lotteries Commission is entering phase three of a $20 million project under which it has replaced all its gaming hardware and software systems, including terminals at all Lotto outlets. Replacement terminals were rolled out late last year, and all hardware and software at the commission in March. IS manager Martin Cassidy says the third phase, updating the retail end, will be rolled out progressively from June to October. This will allow better cash management and give retailers the ability to do promotions.

The Lotteries Commission is entering phase three of a $20 million project under which it has replaced all its gaming hardware and software systems, including terminals at all Lotto outlets.

Replacement terminals were rolled out late last year, and all hardware and software at the commission in March. IS manager Martin Cassidy says the third phase, updating the retail end, will be rolled out progressively from June to October. This will allow better cash management and give retailers the ability to do promotions.

US company GTech, which provided the original Concurrent platform and terminals 10 years ago, has rewritten the software, which will now run on five Digital Alphas in a VMS environment.

The proprietary software runs only on Concurrent and VMS.

"In terms of our systems, we think out five years," Cassidy says. "I'm sure there'll still be support for VMS in five years' time."

Some local intelligence has been added to the 900 terminals replaced at the 600 Lotto sites. A Sybase database, replacing a proprietary database, provides the back end, and all online activity is on flat files.

"You could say it's a Sybase system," Cassidy says. The cost-benefit case was built around maintenance and operating costs, which reduce substantially, and the ability to grow the business — the previous environment was not flexible enough.

"Smartcards are of interest to us," Cassidy says. "This will give us the ability to move quickly if VTN technology requires that."

The dedicated network was also redesigned with new switches, from As-net, installed in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland.

Cassidy says the system has been rolled out to date on time and under budget.

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