The good news for those that have only a tentative grasp of statistics and economics is that you can play Lotto online in New Zealand. It’s not bad, but a few fatal flaws need to be addressed before sales can really take off:
1: Don’t go to Lotto.co.nz – someone else owns it. Actually I feel there is an excellent case for cybersquatting here – NZ Lotteries Commission clearly owns the Lotto brand in NZ, and the owners of lotto.co.nz are just as clearly trying to profit from that NZ Lotteries brand. That owner is ICONZ/NZCity, and they should know better. Meanwhile let this stand as yet another reason to use Google rather than the url.
3: It’s not bad to use, although those massive graphics could use a bit of white space. You select your numbers line by line (you can auto-pick, but you need to do it line by line), and add power ball and whatever else line by line as well.
However I tried this 8 days ago for the first time, and found that the site is closed in the two hours before the draw occurs. Considering that I was trying the site in response to a TV ad pushing people to buy a Lotto ticket during that time it seemed irredeemably frustratingly stupid.
4: So this week I jumped on earlier, and everything went swimmingly until the absolute last step – when I got this inexcusable message.
Actually that was the second time I received that message. The first time I took 2 or 3 minutes to set up the ticket, while the second time I rushed and took less than a minute. It still timed out. I am guessing that’s because the ‘website’ is a local application, and I guess all of my activity on that local app wasn’t resulting in pings to the main website. Or they were too busy at the server end. Either way it is dumb. Absolutely dumb. From my point of view I was using the page constantly, with lots of interaction happening and I am left bewildered and not trusting NZ Lotteries.
The solution is threefold – first let me do a one click random pick for say 10 lines at once, including powerballthing. Second send those pings to the server so that connection does not time out. Third, and better still, move away from the local app to a real website.
5: The next interaction I received was after the draw, when a results email was sent through. This represents a wasted opportunity to let me know whether I was a winner or not. Not only is there no “you are a winner” or “you are a loser” text, but there was not even a “Check your results online now” link.
6: There was good reason for that – the entire secure Lotto site was down.
In this day and age there is no excuse for not delivering my lotto results within 18 hours.
Overall despite some cute graphics which are sure to attract more 14 year olds to play the experience is frustrating an at times inexcusable, although the fixes are easy.