Lotto NZ looks to virtual 'waiting room' model to manage traffic spikes

Lotto NZ looks to virtual 'waiting room' model to manage traffic spikes

Lotto NZ upgraded its customer-facing systems in a $25 million project starting in 2019.

Credit: Supplied

Virtual waiting rooms for online services appear to be all the rage despite a very public backlash against one deployed to handle applications for managed isolation.

Lotto NZ, which experienced processing delays and a rash of customer complaints after a particularly large prize draw last month is now in the market investigating just that option among others to manage extreme traffic spikes.

Lotto NZ experiences varying levels of online traffic through its MyLotto website and mobile applications. Last month, with a $42 million draw looming, the operator's payments processing system succumbed, leaving many temporarily out of pocket.

"During times of exceptionally high user volumes, we require a solution to allow to the facilitation of these high user numbers," Lotto NZ said in a procurement notice a week later. 

"Therefore, we are seeking a partner who will be able to provide a software solution which will be used to throttle and restrict online traffic through the MyLotto channel during peak loading periods in order to protect the loading on the systems and to ensure a robust customer experience."

Options being canvassed included the ability to provide a "waiting page" during abnormal traffic increases where users sit until the website is again able to handle their requests. This would include the management of re-routing of traffic to the virtual waiting room, then re-directing to MyLotto once peak traffic subsided.

Other systems to help ensure the availability of MyLotto peak demand after a draw, especially following large jackpots, are also being studied including those that target specific integrations or customer actions such as logging in and checking results.

Around the time of its system problems, LottoNZ was already heading to market for a new gaming system platform.

The organisation's gaming technology contract was set to expire in 2024, so it was preparing to approach the market "in the near future", an advance notice of tender said.

The notice described the services required as "broad", covering all of its gaming environment. Any supplier would therefore have to be able to deliver a swathe of systems from retail point of sale terminals and peripherals to a core gaming system, content, analytics payment support, cloud-based hosting and security.

A briefing last November to the incoming minister of internal affairs, which has oversight over gambling, said a key focus for Lotteries NZ was a project to upgrade the MyLotto website and app, which was due to be completed by early 2021. 

"The significant project has been underway since 2019 and involves a $25 million technology investment to support the move to online play," it said. "The current website is ageing, and the upgrade is required to meet higher demand online."

The work to upgrade MyLotto would ensure the back-end processes were more robust and able to deal with higher traffic on the site, it said.

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