Lottery players frustrated by app’s glitches

Frustrated users of a glitch-ridden Missouri Lottery app are contemplating whether they should quit playing the lottery.

Almost a full month after Missouri Lottery players identified major issues with the newly updated online app, no progress has been made in resolving them.

Following the app's update in late September, the Lottery's mobile app displayed out-of-order numbers for Powerball, Mega Millions and the Cash4Life game on Oct. 3, according to reporting from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Lottery spokesperson Wendy Baker, who acknowledged the glitch, told the Post-Dispatch the issue was remedied the following morning, saying it wouldn't affect players' ability to use the app's scanning feature to determine if a ticket was a winner.

But Vince LoRusso, a frequent St. Louis player, told his wife Friday morning he's thinking it's about time for him to quit playing due to discouragement over the app's lack of consistent operation.

LoRusso threw a stack of around 30 tickets into the trash when they wouldn't scan into the app -- a glitch Baker had said wouldn't be an issue.

He later discovered it wasn't an issue with the tickets as he'd suspected when he threw them away. The issue was with the app itself, which had previously allowed users to scan in their tickets swiftly. He could have entered each one manually through his account on his computer.

"I wasted all those tickets. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But it's the lottery. You always lose," he said

LoRusso reached out to Lottery three times to express his concerns. The first time, he sent an email. The second time, he called. The third, he sent another email extensively detailing his issues with the app.

Each time, he received a response saying they're working on it.

LoRusso's wife was elated to hear the news he was considering quitting, but LoRusso insisted he's still holding onto a small sliver of hope the issues might get fixed soon.

"I'm not a brow beater, I'm a cheerleader. I want to encourage them to fix these issues, because I love playing," he said.

LoRusso noticed the issues when the update first came out late September. In the weeks since he's had the app, its performance hasn't improved.

"I was so familiar with what the app used to do," he said. "But it performs pretty badly now."

Other users have continued to voice frustrations with the app on social media and in Google App store reviews.

"Surely there is someone there who can get this mess corrected. Missouri Lottery, please investigate and take action," Debra Montgomery wrote on Facebook. Montgomery noted that, like LoRusso, she has also forwarded her concerns to the Missouri Lottery three separate times.

A recent review on the app's google reviews corroborated LoRusso's issues with scanning tickets.

"This completely new design is a completely new failure," it said. "It seems like this app was written by a couple teenagers in their mother's basement. So much functionality has been removed or no longer works."

Lottery spokesperson Baker on Friday said, "We continue to work with our app vendor to improve player experience on the new mobile app. It is ongoing and a priority for us." She declined to elaborate further.

The updated app is a product offered by Scientific Games International, a major supplier to lotteries throughout the world.

Beth Bresnahan, spokesperson for Scientific Games International, said new technology launches rarely come without initial roadbumps.

In Missouri, the Las Vegas-based company has a contract with the Lottery worth an estimated $11 million per year, according to reporting from the Post-Dispatch. They are represented in state government by lobbyist Andy Blunt, son of U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt.

Missouri isn't alone in its struggles with online glitches as of late. In July, the Pennsylvania lottery's website crashed during a $1.2 billion drawing of the Mega Millions game. In the United Kingdom, Camelot, a private company that operates the national lottery, was fined for three errors on its mobile app, which affected tens of thousands of players.