Next month: March 2008
I thought that might have calmed down the Daily Play section, but the Daily Play Prize Winners section is giving a 500 server error - arrgh! This Daily Play aggro has reminded me that there's an outstanding bug in the All Winning Numbers section (you can't display more than the most recent 180 days of draws, even if you select "All Years").
To be honest, the whole Daily Play section needs a good going over and fixing the many bugs in there (particularly prize amounts, which seem berserk), but it's such a poor game, I haven't really had the incentive to get my hands dirty and grub around the code.
However, it then decided to ignore the tree path for images and reference them from /archive (which is the main Lotto path) rather than /DailyPlay/archive. Tracked it down to a variable for Daily Play draws that hadn't been initialised properly (no idea why a 32-bit build got away with it and a 64-bit build didn't!).
I'm back again, albeit I had a lie in after the overnight marathon blogging. The official Irish and Spanish sites usually tell you what countries won the jackpot, but neither have bothered this morning as of 10.10am GMT. The French and Belgian sites updated their full results overnight and revealed 5 French and 1 Belgian winner. Phoning Camelot revealed that the other country winners were: Austria (1), Switzerland (2) and Portugal (1).
The French language Swiss site added the full results at 1.35am GMT, leaving just the French and Belgian official sites to go (both designed by the same Web firm it looks like!). That's it from me until at least 9.00am GMT later this morning - see you then...
Mark it down in your, er, cards - 1.26am GMT was when the UK official site finally displayed the full results (they don't display the number of UK winners in all the tiers and even say there's "0 UK jackpot winners" which isn't strictly correct). Turns out that my 2+1 win netted me the pitiful sum of £7.10, which just about covered the cost of the ticket itself and the four tickets I've got for tonight's main Lotto single rollover draw.
Incredibly, we've hit 1.15am GMT - nearly five hours after the draw took place - and 5 of the 10 official Euro Millions Web sites have yet to publish the full results and, yes, Camelot's UK site is indeed one of the disgraced quintet. The official German language Swiss site updated at 1.23am GMT, but they're yet another official site not listing how many winners there were in their own country.
The official Spanish site published the full results at 1.05am and no 5+1 winners from that country too has me most frustrated! What's equally annoying is that their Spanish text below the results usually lists the countries that won, but because it was a 5+1 jackpot tier and it had no Spanish winner, they just conveniently ignored it :-( Likely non-UK 5+1 winners now point to the French, but we're still waiting for full results from them...
At around 12.45am, the official Luxembourg site finally woke up and published both the winning numbers and full results. At this moment in time, we quite amazingly still don't know which countries the remaining 9 non-UK winners have come from (UK and Portugal are all we know so far)! The official Austrian site also updated with winning numbers and full results at 12.55am, but still didn't help the guess-the-winning-countries situation.
Yes, we're beyond midnight now and at 12.18am, the Irish official site was the first to divulge the full results, although we still don't know how much the UK 5+1 winners got (slightly more than the non-UK winners). The official Portuguese site followed up with the full results at around 12.30am GMT, which included the ticket sales (the third highest to date) and the fact that there was one Portguese 5+1 winner. This predictably confirms that we still don't have a "record" for the draw yet, despite what the BBC claimed twice in their article!
Total prize pool: £123.3m
Number of jackpot winners: 20
Individual jackpot prize: £6.75m
It could be ticket sales I guess - we'll see once the Spanish and Portuguese sites publish them. As it stands though, I don't see how you can use the word "record" in relation to tonight's draw.
The BBC News Web site had an article at 11.43pm GMT that confirmed the jackpot prize pool was £95m and that there was no 5+2 winning ticket. This meant a "rolldown", where 16 5+1 winning tickets (6 of which were bought in the UK) won about £6m each. Note that the UK winners will get slightly more than the non-UK winners, because of non-5+2 top-up rules related to the fact that UK players pay more than non-UK players for a ticket.
Well, the BBC airing of the Euro Millions draw was a complete flat pancake. Not only was it 3 hours after the draw took place in Paris, all they said was that it was a £96m jackpot prize pool and read out the winning numbers. No info about the number of winners at all, despite the BBC News web site having at least the jackpot tier info before the show aired. What a total waste of airspace that show really was... In the meantime, you can join a special chat session that's going on right now to cover the winning numbers and prize information well ahead of the BBC airing. We now resume coverage of tonight's events...
At somewhere around 11.30pm GMT, the BBC News Web site ticker (which is dismal if you use 16 point fonts like I do) stated that there were 16 jackpot-winning tickets, 6 of which were bought in the UK.
It's been a very dull hour between 10.00pm and 11.00pm GMT - only the appearance of the winning numbers on the French site (around 10.30pm GMT I think, but I wasn't paying much attention). Camelot's phone line for the public to ask questions is now closed and their official site still doesn't have the full results as of 11.00pm GMT. This also means that this site can't display the exact number of UK winners in each category until Saturday morning (phone lines back at 9.00am GMT tomorrow) since Camelot bizarrely don't carry that info on their Web site.
The official Spanish site displayed the winning numbers at 9.36pm GMT. Meanwhile, the French language Swiss site and the Portuguse site have both been suffering badly in the last 15-20 minutes (very slow to load indeed).
For refresh fiends still reading, the full results (i.e. prize amounts and number of winners in each category) are often found on the official Irish site first and they are usually also the first to announce which countries have won the jackpot. The Irish site put tonight's winning numbers up at 9.24pm GMT in case you're curious and the Portguese site was next up at 9.27pm GMT (the latter was the first official site to list the numbers "publicly" in drawn order - Camelot's UK site has them too, but they refuse to link to them any more and you have to use a secret link!).
A bizarre graphic appeared on the official UK site home page at around 9.15pm GMT or so:
Watch the results of the EuroMillions draw at 11.35pm on BBC One, or check them here from around 9.30pm
There was also a "RESULTS" button linked to the standard Latest results page. All a bit weird really because a) it points out that the BBC TV show is lamely aired hours after the draw, b) they had the winning numbers up at 9.00pm GMT, not 9.30pm GMT (so the graphic was already wrong when it was first put on the site!) and c) the full results often appear last of all on the official UK site (sometimes after 11.00pm!).
The French language Swiss site came back at around 9.10pm GMT and did indeed have the winning numbers displayed upon its return. My 2+1 win is going to net something like 7-8 pounds, which is fairly pitiful considering the jackpot won't be far short of £100m.
The poor old French language Swiss site was in the middle of a total (Swiss cheese) meltdown at 8.59pm GMT - just as the official UK site became the first one to display the winning numbers, although "jw" in the chat room had them around 8.45pm GMT. It looks like I may have a 2+1 win with my ticket too - lovely stuff and my first win in 4 attempts.
The French language Swiss site just gave me a "DB Error: connect failed" at around 8.47pm GMT - I suspect a lot of people are probably following the link below and breaking the site. Stop it, you naughty people :-)
For those who enjoy the thrill of refreshing a page every 5 seconds to find the results, it's quite often the (French language) Swiss site that has the winning numbers first, although sometimes (and I know this is hard to believe) Camelot's UK site does actually them have first. Expect them some time between 8.50pm GMT and 9.00pm GMT.
Perhaps the official Belgian site should take some tips from the French site, who just put up a "go away and come back after midnight" page on their results section as of about 8.05pm GMT, but they put that message up every week anyway!
The Portuguese official site seems to have put back its home page and results page now, sometime around 8.00pm GMT. This leaves the Belgian site still struggling with its intermittently-appearing ASP.NET error page, but hey, that's normal for a Windows Web server isn't it? :-) You'd think they'd replace it with a static HTML page to avoid the errors, but I guess that's just a bit too obvious...
It looks like Camelot's official site is now back at around 7.35pm GMT - I don't know how long it had the "unavailable' message up (see below), but a colleague did buy a ticket around 4.00pm GMT today and it was OK then. I dread to think how many more tickets they could have sold online if they'd have managed to keep the site up and running - what a waste! Amusingly, I managed to buy two tickets online this evening when the site returned...for tomorrow's main Lotto single rollover draw though :-)
And off we go with tonight's Euro Millions 130m Euros draw and even before the UK terminals close, three of the official sites have already "given up the ghost". Camelot's UK site already has the abject "Apologies" message across its entire site:
The National Lottery website is currently unavailable
We are currently experiencing unprecedented levels of traffic to the National Lottery website. Service will be resumed shortly. You can still play on Sky Active, or if you are registered, you can Play by Text. Otherwise, you can try again later. Please accept our apologies for this inconvenience.
What's particularly poor about this message is that it's replaced every single page of the official UK lottery site! If they had their wits about them, they'd load-check and if the load was above a certain level, they'd remove the links to buying tickets throughout the site or, even easier, simply not let users log in at all (logging out anyone who was still logged in too), which would soon bring the load down. As it stands, you can get absolutely no info whatsoever about anything from the official site prior to 7.30pm, which is completely pathetic.
Other official Euro Millions sites already sporadically hit tonight:
The Belgian site has done what it weakly did last time there was a big draw - taken the night off and gone down the pub:Because of the large number of surfers wanting to consult the Euro Millions website, we can only show the results of the special Euro Millions draw of Friday, 8 February 2008 from 10:30 pm on.
The entire web site of the National Lottery will be accessible again as of Saturday afternoon, February 8th, 2008
That's one heck of a lock-in - Friday night all the way through to Saturday afternoon without a full site available to end-users! Despite these "heroic" counter-measures of pulling most of the content, the Belgian site is still periodically crashing out with a classic Microsoft .NET Framework error page too tonight - "Server Error in '/' Application" (yes, it did this with the last big draw too).
The Portuguese site has slapped a big info-less logo on their home page that goes nowhere and seem to have pulled the results page too. Maybe if everything wasn't in SSL (only buying tickets would need that surely?), they'd have some CPU to spare to actually keep the site fully running?
Previous month: January 2008