The current Powerball jackpot is seen on a computer screen as Atem Getahun waits for a Georgia lottery machine to print a ticket for a waiting customer at a convenience store, Monday, Nov. 26, 2012, in Atlanta. As the Powerball jackpot soars, a Georgia Lottery official says the agency is working to get its equipment operational again after some machines have been down. Georgia Lottery spokeswoman Kimberly Starks confirmed that some machines were not working properly. She said Monday afternoon that lottery officials are aware of the situation, and are working to correct the problems. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
ATLANTA — As the Powerball jackpot soars, the Georgia Lottery on Monday said it was making progress improving the performance of some of its machines that were taking a long time to process tickets, angering some customers eager to place their bets.
"We are aware of it. We're working on it," said lottery spokeswoman Tandi Reddick.
Reddick said the slowest transaction times were between noon and 1 p.m. Monday. Since then, performance has improved significantly, Reddick said.
Most machines were not experiencing any network delays as of 8 p.m. Monday, Reddick said, adding that Georgia Lottery officials would continue monitoring the machines Tuesday.
Lottery officials could not say how widespread the problem was or provide other details.
"We apologize for the inconvenience that players experienced earlier on Sunday while our terminals were downloading upgraded software," the Georgia Lottery said on its Facebook page.
Wednesday's Powerball jackpot is $425 million. Drawings are held on Wednesday and Saturday nights and Powerball is played in 42 states. Officials at the Multi State Lottery Association said no equipment problems were reported in other states.
Despite glitches slowing down ticket purchases, Georgia Lottery officials said Powerball sales were three times higher than they were a week ago. More than $1.6 million worth of Powerball tickets had been sold by Monday night, Reddick said.
Officials couldn't say exactly when the problems with the Georgia machines began or how many were affected. Georgia Lottery dispatched field technicians to service the machines and said they would continue monitoring the situation.
James Lee, owner of Walton Food Markets, said the machine in his downtown Atlanta store was running even more slowly Monday as customers lined up for tickets around 2:45 p.m.
"This morning, one ticket (took) five minutes," he said. "Today's terrible, worse. It doesn't work at all."
Lee said he has called Georgia Lottery when his machine freezes to verify winning numbers. Lee said the hold time on the phone and the time it takes to print and check tickets has led to arguments between annoyed customers.
"We've had a few fights," he said. "Customers, they don't have the patience."
On Sunday, state lottery officials also launched online ticket sales. The process requires signing up for the Georgia Lottery Players Club and requesting a debit card to be used for the purchases. The process appeared to be working Monday.