Recently I went to my independent lotto shop mid-morning, and got a shock.
It was closed.
The door was shut, pavement signs outside were gone, but the lights were on inside.
I had taken a 20 minute walk to get there, so I was faced with a wasted walk back without buying any tickets and missing the chance for playing.
I started looking for the shop phone number on my iPhone, intending to ring them to see what had happened.
Then, without any prompting, the door opened and the owner let me in.
He didn't give any reason for the delay, but I suspect he was taking a toilet break as he was the only staff in the store.
Mmmm. Not very convenient.
Not long ago I had an email from a Silverite who said their computer froze and they couldn't get into their online lottery website to buy tickets.
Another disaster in the making.
Canadian Joel Ifergan got this important deadline wrong and missed out on $27 million. PHOTO: CTV News
If you're playing regularly you want dependable access. Alas, the world is not always that prompt.
There are bugs, glitches, and owners wanting to take a bathroom break.
So your standard plan should be to buy tickets at least 24 hours BEFORE the draw.
That way you'll also avoid the problem that Joel Ifergan had when he lost $27 million. He missed the cut-off time for a Canadian lottery game by 7 seconds.
His numbers were correct so he would have collected the jackpot, but the delay meant they went into the next week's draw instead.
He never got the jackpot money even after years of trying to claim it through the courts.
And all for being 7 seconds late.
He has never said why he bought his tickets so close to the deadline, but the lesson is there: Buy 24 Hours Before The Game.