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Radio station in hot water over NLA ‘fake’ story

Radio station in hot water over NLA ‘fake’ story

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A lawyer for the National Lotteries Authority (NLA) has written to a local radio station which published on its Facebook page yesterday that the NLA was refusing to pay a $500,000 jackpot, because it was an “inside job”.

Anthony Dennie, product development officer of the NLA, told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday that there was “absolutely no truth” to the post and that his organization intends to take legal action.

Hot 97.1 made the post after an unsually large number of people had gathered outside the Paul’s Avenue office of the NLA yesterday.

“Breaking News – Confusion at Lottery!! Crowd gather outside National Lottery Authority after claims someone won $500,000 and the NLA are refusing to pay out, saying its an inside job!!! There has been no official response to the claims,” the Hot 97.1 post read.

According to the NLA, the crowd had gathered to purchase tickets for their games since many of their agents had been affected by Internet connectivity problems and were unable to sell tickets.

“Due to Internet connectivity problems being experienced from service

provider Flow, the sale of tickets on all our online games, namely 3D, Play 4, Lotto and Super 6 has been severely affected at agent locations island wide,” a release from the NLA said.

Dennie said the NLA headquarters was not affected by the problem, as they have a high speed Internet connection.

“Flow has acknowledged this problem and has assured that they are working to resolve the issue, but cannot say when service will be fully restored. We sincerely apologize to our valued customers for this situation which is beyond our control and look forward to their continued patronage,” the release said.

Luke Boyea, managing director of Hot 97.1 told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday that he removed the post from Hot 97.1’s Facebook page Thursday afternoon, after the radio station received a letter from an attorney acting on behalf of the NLA.

Boyea, however, says there was no malicious intent by his radio station.

“It was more a commentary on the crowd’s reaction, rather than on what the Lottery does or does not do,” Boyea said.

“We noticed a crowd had gathered; they were making various claims and at some point, we heard that the door was locked,” Boyea said, adding that his radio station did not receive a release to say that agents of the NLA were having Internet connectivity problems.

“Maybe if they had shared something saying that, because that’s a perfectly fine explanation,” the radio station boss said.

He said he decided to take down the post because it was not meant to hurt anyone.

“There are some things that I would stand behind to the end,” he said, adding that this situation was not one of them, as it was “just a casual commentary on the crowd, not on the Lottery or its actions.”