Playwin Gambles With OpenVMS & Cash Cards

by Amit Tripathi    Aug 03, 2004

In order to enable more participation for it’s online lottery, Playwin has taken an added step with the provision of a cash card mode of registration for participants, with Intrex’s ITZ Cash Card.

Speaking to CXOtoday, Manish Nanda, vice president - operations, Playwin, said, “We had gone for this initiative close to a year ago to expand our participation base. This will allow participation from those who would like to play the game as and when they like without visiting a Playwin retail outlet for the purpose.”

ITZ Cash card is a typical scratch card with a concealed number that needs to be activated either by phone or by keying in the given number in the card, through Playwin’s online facility.

Playwin’s online gaming system is supported by a comprehensive IT landscape. Elaborating on the existing system, Nanda mentioned, “We have two Compaq Alpha servers in a clustered environment called the Online Sales Server (OSS) that accept bets from various Point Of Sales (POS) in the field, and now the cards also, registers them, and send an acknowledgement to the POS to print a ticket. It also process the various bet files after the results have been entered to locate the winners.”

Similarly two Intel based servers are used in a clustered environment to run Management Information Services (MIS). The MIS servers give user-friendly screens to view online activities such as sales, accounting, enter draw results, generate reports etc.

At the Communication Processing (CP) level five Compaq Alpha servers are used that accept connections from the POS in the field via the networking equipment and after authentication pass the transaction request to the OSS. An elaborate disaster recovery facility supplements the IT landscape that replicates the OSS and the MIS through a Sybase replication server at the remote site.

Speaking about the operating systems used, Nanda said, “The operating system on our OSS is OpenVMS. We chose this since Alpha servers presently support either OpenVMS or True64 Unix. Almost all Lottery systems in the world use OpenVMS as it is found to be the ideal OS to handle high transaction based businesses. Also the security controls offered by OpenVMS are tremendous. The fact is further substantiated as there have been no known virus for OpenVMS neither has there been any incidents of hacking into OpenVMS based systems till date.”

At Playwin, the MIS servers run on Windows 2000 Advanced Server. Justifying his choice for Windows, Nanda explained, “We have chosen this OS as the MIS database is Sybase and the front end to control the lottery system is a Power Builder application.”

The security of the lottery records too is elaborately handled. Mentions Nanda, “All lottery records are stored only in the OSS. These records are stored in a proprietary binary format as used in many lottery systems across the world. The overall security is strengthened by the fact that the entire system is on a private network and is not connected to any public network.”

Apart from the physical security infrastructure, the company has a detailed system security provisions in place that includes features like single login, encryption of traffic on the network, tracking of every transaction from a terminal.

Tags: Lottery