Botched Michigan Lottery Website Update Leaves Thousands Locked Out Of Accounts

A planned update to the Michigan Lottery website came with an unplanned glitch that prevented 9,000 users from accessing their accounts.
Michigan Online Lottery
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“Guess no gambling today…”

Those are not the words any legal gaming provider wants to read on their Facebook wall, yet that is precisely where the Michigan Lottery found itself Wednesday, after posting social media announcements to explain what went wrong.

“As part of an update on Tuesday, a number of players were asked to reset their password,” read a post on the Michigan Lottery’s Twitter account. “Unfortunately, the reset process did not go as smoothly as we’d hoped for players. We understand the inconvenience these issues caused, and we sincerely apologize.”

That number, it turned out, was almost 50,000. As Jake Harris, Michigan Lottery spokesman, told the Detroit News, the website update caused password reset emails to be sent to about 47,000 online customers. Of that total, 8,100 managed to change their passwords without delay, while 9,000 encountered delays and technical issues that left them unable to access their accounts. The remaining 29,900 recipients had not yet responded to the initial emails.

Customers who encountered problems were asked to follow the “Forgot Password” link on the Michigan Lottery website and then wait for an automatic email to complete the process, Harris said in the Detroit Free Press. That follow-up message, which would have led users to a page where they could enter new passwords, did not arrive in players’ inboxes.

“Our team is working very diligently on investigating a root cause and getting a solution in place,” Harris told the News.

Instructions for locked-out users

Thursday, the Lottery posted a Facebook update asking online players who encounter password reset problems to do the following:

  • Continue checking their inboxes, because “some email providers are delaying the reset email.”
  • Make sure that the reset responses haven’t been sent to their emails’ spam or junk folders.
  • Those who have already requested new passwords but have not received reset emails should not click “Forgot Password” again. Instead, they should write to onlinehelp@michiganlottery.com and request that the reset email be sent again, then wait up to 72 hours for the email to arrive.

Frustrated online customers

The unanticipated problem was not the result of a hack, Harris told the Free Press, but it caused a surge in phone calls to the Lottery’s help line that led to increased wait times for irritated callers.

For the thousands of online players who found themselves locked out of their accounts, the password glitch meant that they missed chances to participate in Daily Spin to Win games and could not access Instant Win, Keno, or Lottery Draw games, along with any other of the 103 internet-only offerings on the Lottery’s website.

“This is horrible,” Carol A. Clemons wrote Wednesday on the Lottery’s Facebook page. “Phone is busy, password reset does not work! Now what??? (And yes, I checked my junk folder.) I never got my reset email, and I did it twice.”

“I have lost the opportunity to play games and win massive amounts of money due to no fault of my own,” commented a user named Wayne Sugar Plum Weigel. “Additionally, I have money in my account and the State of Michigan Lottery Bureau can not seem to make it available to me. Lottery, do you plan on making it up?”

By Friday, however, some inconvenienced customers started to regain access, as their password reset emails began to trickle in.

“Finally was able to get in this morning!” Clemons wrote in an update to her post. “Back in business of losing!”

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