This year’s Y Dream Home Lottery was a nightmare for some who thought they purchased a ticket for a chance to win a brand new house in Westsyde, only to later be refunded and left without an entry.
“I’m just very disappointed,” Christine Harrington told KTW, noting her family has purchased tickets for the past few years and looks forward to dream home day, when prize winners are announced.
“I know there’s a lot of people who are upset.”
Harrington logged onto the Y Dream Home Lottery website on May 4, the day tickets went on sale. She said she entered the required information, but then the website crashed.
Despite being at work, the Kamloops business owner checked the website on and off for two hours, hoping to snag tickets.
The website came back up and she was able to order a dream home five-pack of tickets and 50/50 entries.
However, despite a congratulatory notification of her tickets and a $500 charge to her credit card, Harrington’s tickets never arrived.
She said she received an email telling her the tickets were attached in a PDF, but they were not there. She emailed, requesting the tickets, and received an email back.
Harrington said she was told something went wrong during the transaction and that she would be refunded.
“I immediately went onto the website to see if there were tickets still available and they were all sold out,” she said.
Something similar happened to Michael Martin, who said he is also disappointed, having purchased Dream Home tickets for about a decade. A relative won last year’s Dream Home in Orchards Walk, so he knows the importance of getting a ticket.
“The house she got last year, it’s amazing,” Martin said. “It’s a great thing and I’ve always supported the Y … it’s something we’ve always believed in. To have this, it’s like, wait a minute, something’s not right here.”
What irks Martin is people were able to purchase tickets after him, as tickets continued to be sold. He questioned fairness and complained to B.C.’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch. Harrington also sent an email to that enforcement agency. KTW has reached out to the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch and is awaiting a reply.
Harrington suggested the lottery be done over again. The pair simply wants a shot at the dream.
“Ultimately, I’d like to see those of us who had this issue get tickets,” Martin said.
Y Dream Home Lottery spokesperson Bryce Herman said the online process was contracted out to one of three ticket processing companies approved by B.C.’s gaming regulators and was outside of the Y’s control.
He said ticket purchasing is a two-step process involving the ticket processing company, Darelle Media Inc., and Moneris, which processes payments.
He said people who thought they had a ticket purchase actually received a purchase order number, which is then processed for ticket distribution.
A joint statement with Darelle Media Inc. on the Y Dream Home Lottery Facebook page notes “unprecedented volumes and speed of transactions created an error in completing the purchase order and ticket assignment transaction…”
“Our understanding is that it broke down in that secondary link, to get the tickets issued,” Herman explained. “So people got a charge, but when it came back into the system, that’s where the defaults happened and so those tickets actually never got sent to the person who had a PO number. They had a purchase order, but they didn’t have a ticket number.”
Herman said Darelle Media Inc. found the erroneous transactions and subsequently contacted about 170 people impacted.
He said those involved in the annual charity fundraiser have lost sleep because of the issue. In addition to countless hours put in by tradespeople in constructing the Dream Home, it has taken years to build the charity event, which supports the YMCA.
“We’ve worked really hard to make a charitable lottery a great success and, as we say, we just had the death hug of love,” Herman said.
“Because what happens is, it’s been so successful that people embraced it so rapidly that the system literally got overwhelmed and could not keep pace.”
Darelle Media Inc. has been in contact with the Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch to make it aware of what occurred, the online statement said, noting the “appropriate incident report has been submitted …”
Herman’s said he is not worried about future licensing because there was no issue with respect to draw integrity. His biggest concern is those upset, left without a ticket.
“We’re extremely sorry and it was outside of our control, but we are working with that organization to expedite getting it resolved as quickly as humanly possible,” he said.
All 18,000 Y Dream Home tickets and all 32,000 50/50 tickets sold out in a record 53 hours after going on sale at 9 a.m. on May 4.