KANSAS - Outage Takes Lottery Offline

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Title: Outage Takes Lottery Offline Kansas Lottery merchants in the 316 area code were cut off Wednesday from lottery headquarters in Topeka.

By Novelda Sommers THE WICHITA EAGLE

Kansas Lottery machines in half the state were off for nine hours Wednesday after telephone crews apparently severed a line that connects vendors with lottery headquarters, officials said.

Luckily, jackpots in Powerball and Kansas Cash were relatively low, so sales probably weren't hurt too badly, said Mark Ziemak, Kansas Lottery director.

Ziemak said he wouldn't know until today how the outage affected lottery sales.

"It's going to be in the thousands, but not a lot in comparison with a whole week," he said.

The lottery averages $3.8 million per week in sales, he said.

Of Kansas' 1,800 lottery terminals, about 890 -- all of the terminals in the 316 area code -- were knocked out while Southwestern Bell was doing some work, he said.

Ziemak said he wasn't sure where the work was taking place or exactly how the accident happened.

Telephone company officials could not be reached Wednesday night.

Sales usually are higher on Powerball drawing nights, Ziemak said. But Powerball's jackpot Wednesday was only $12 million, and Kansas Cash was only $155,000. Both are drawn on Wednesday nights.

The Heritage Restaurant on South Broadway in Wichita was quiet Wednesday until the lotto terminals started working again about 7 p.m., said Nancy Heussner, who runs the restaurant.

"It's been hurting my business," she said Wednesday before her lottery terminal came back online.

Heussner estimated she lost $1,000 each hour the terminal didn't work. Patrons go to the Heritage to play keno.

The store does $4,791 in lottery sales each day, more than any other lottery outlet in the state.

The store's phone rang nonstop during the outage, she said. Regulars were calling to see if the terminal was back on.

After it began operating again, the restaurant filled within a matter of minutes, she said.

Reach Novelda Sommers at nsommers@wichitaeagle.com or 268-6340. http://www.wichitaeagle.com/news/regional/docs/lotto0427_txt.htm


-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), April 27, 2000

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