Wed, Apr 04, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Taiwan Lottery apologizes after computer crash

MALFUNCTION The firm said it would punish those responsible for deficient management practices which led to a nationwide systems failure yesterday

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan Lottery Co (台灣彩券公司), the nation's exclusive Public Welfare Lottery operator, yesterday apologized for a flaw in its management system that led to its most severe computer breakdown to date on Monday.

Its system crashed for four hours on Monday afternoon, affecting the operations of 1,400 lotto vendors nationwide, or about one-third of its distributors.

The malfunction occurred after the vending system was upgraded without sufficient testing procedures to ensure its stability, Taiwan Lottery chairman Oliver Shang (尚瑞強) said at a press conference yesterday.

The Ministry of Finance, which manages the lottery issuance, sternly expressed its dissatisfaction on Monday night over Taiwan Lottery's repeated system failures since the company started issuing lotto tickets in January.

The ministry also demanded that the firm replace its information team chief or even its president, Chang Ruu-tian (張汝恬), to correct the blunders.

"We admit our management practices are the problem and that they need an overhaul. We have requested that high-level executives of Intralot SA fly to Taiwan to provide some detailed trouble-shooting for two days," said Shang, who took over the chairmanship from Deng Yan-dun (鄧彥敦) on March 9.

Taiwan Lottery, a subsidiary of Chinatrust Financial Holding Co (中信金控), has signed a seven-year contract with Athens-based Intralot, the world's second-biggest gaming technology and services company, to offer the lottery ticketing system.

After responsibilities are sorted out, Taiwan Lottery will hold a board meeting within two weeks to mete out punishment to those held accountable, some of whom may be transferred to new positions, Shang said.

The firm will also set aside NT$200 million (US$6 million) for marketing this year.

"We know it's useless to invest more in marketing if the system is not stabilized first. I guarantee, as chairman, that such problems will not occur again and that standard operating procedures will be established to ensure smooth operations," Shang said.

Taiwan Lottery is entrusted by Chinatrust Commercial Bank (中國信託商銀) to sell lottery tickets. Chinatrust Commercial outbid three rivals in a public tender in 2005 to become the nation's sole lottery operator until 2013 by offering to pay the finance ministry NT$2.09 billion per year -- 10 times the floor price.

Taiwan Lottery statistics show that lotto ticket sales for the first quarter totaled NT$19.5 billion, with Big Lotto (大樂透), the most popular lottery tickets, accounting for NT$6.77 billion.

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