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Boledo is back!! But off to a shaky start

HeadlineBoledo is back!! But off to a shaky start

Photo: Long lines outside Chinese store on Sunday morning

by Kristen Ku

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Dec. 4, 2023

After a six-month hiatus, the iconic Boledo Lottery, along with the Ordinary and Jackpot Lotteries, has returned.

Backed by the newly formed Belize Government Lotteries Limited (BGLL), the beloved national pastime resumed sales on December 1, with its first drawing taking place this past Sunday, December 3.

Following the numerous breaches discovered under the game’s previous owners, the Caribbean Gaming Company Limited (CGCL) and Brad’s Gaming Group, the Lotteries Committee revoked their license.

Subsequently, the Government of Belize decided to take ownership, now recognized as BGLL, and appoint their own Master Agents for the national lotteries—Nando’s Wholesale Ltd. for the Eastern Zone (Belize District), and MGM Entertainment Ltd. for the Northern Zone (Corozal & Orange Walk districts), Western Zone (Cayo District) and Southern Zone (Stann Creek & Toledo districts).

The return of the Boledo Lottery was met with excitement and anticipation by its dedicated patrons, especially ahead of the Christmas season.

However, many Belizeans were disappointed to discover on the drawing date that an overload on the Boledo system had caused a collapse of the machines countrywide.

Disappointingly, the system failed in the middle of lottery sales. Buyers who tried purchasing their tickets on Sunday were unable to do so, thus they missed out on the long-awaited drawing and winning numbers 9543 in first prize, 8509 in second prize, and 1976 in third.

The frustration mounted as long lines of buyers outside of stores throughout the country waited for their turn to purchase tickets mere hours before the 10:00 a.m. drawing time.

In Belize City, buyers shared their frustration with us, one stating, “I have been standing outside of Zan Zan Store from before 9:00 a.m. and they told us their machine is not working. I will wait here to buy until 10:00 a.m. before the Boledo draws, hoping I am able to get my numbers in the system.”

Another buyer furiously expressed, “This new Boledo system is ridiculous! I heard if the shop prints out my numbers wrong they can’t change it and reprint. Well, I am not paying for no wrong numbers, so they better make sure my numbers are correct.”

At around 9:35 a.m., the owner of Zan Zan Store on Central American Boulevard announced to the standees outside the store that the system was not allowing entry of Jackpot numbers, but he hoped the system would allow him to sell lottery numbers.

Another buyer waiting in line remarked, “This machine is down on the first day of the new Boledo draw! You mean to tell me they didn’t test their system knowing most of us Belizeans buy our Sunday lottery on a Sunday? So, what happens to all of us standing here? It is unfair, because other people had the opportunity to buy lottery numbers on Friday and Saturday. The government needs to fix this problem with the machines because everyone is looking forward to winning a little Christmas money.”

This morning, we attempted to get some answers as we reached out to the chairwoman of the Lotteries Committee, Narda Garcia, but she did not respond to our queries.

Nevertheless, today the Boledo system is reportedly up and running with another draw taking place tonight. The Belize Government Lotteries Limited (BGLL) has reportedly addressed the issue and taken the necessary precautions to avoid a reoccurrence of Sunday’s calamity.

In fact, a Government press release tonight may spell good news for the future earnings from lotteries sales, as it acknowledged that it was the unexpected demand that exceeded their server’s capacity.

According to the release, “While the developers prepared for a high demand, they were not prepared for the record sales that took place, and as a result, the demand for the server load was higher than anticipated, causing the system to malfunction.”

And, despite the system slow-down problems experienced due to overloading, it said that nevertheless “the turnout was overwhelming, with Sunday lottery sales surpassing the estimated average of $240,000 by almost $100,000 or over 40% when compared to previously reported sales data.”

It looks like in getting back our Boledo, government thought it was big, but they didn’t realize just how big a bonanza it really was, until yesterday, Sunday.

The release continues: “The Belize Government Lotteries Limited (BGLL) apologizes to those who were unable to purchase their tickets, but is pleased to inform all players that the system has been moved to a much larger server, and every effort has been made to ensure that this does not reoccur.”

And finally, “The BGLL thanks all players for their understanding and overwhelming support of the Belize Government Lottery. Boledo is back, and bigger and better than ever before!”

It is our Boledo now. Let’s watch and pray that there are no more hiccups in this Belizean pastime that benefits the public treasury.

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