A technical glitch has left thousands of Keno lotto players unable to purchase or reclaim their tickets since Thursday morning after it was discovered draws were occurring earlier than they should.

The "unexpected technical issue" has been investigated by Lotto NZ and led to the suspension of sales and validation of all Keno tickets following the 10am draw on January 3.

Keno is drawn four times a day at 10am, 1pm, 3pm and 6pm. Tickets start at $1 and offer individual prizes up to $250,000.

It is not clear how many Keno draws prior to Lotto NZ's discovery of the faulty timing were affected or how much earlier they had been drawn.

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Lotto NZ's head of communications, Kirsten Robinson, said the integrity of the Keno lottery had not been compromised and there was no police investigation.

"Yesterday morning we identified an unexpected timing issue following our 10am Keno draw that caused a small number of Keno draws to take place earlier than expected," Robinson said.

"As a precaution, we suspended sales and validations of Keno tickets while our team investigated the cause of this technical issue. We can assure players that this issue has not affected the results of any Keno draws and all tickets remain valid and eligible to win prizes."

The following receipt is being printed to Lotto retail outlets, explaining whey they can't sell Keno tickets.
The following receipt is being printed to Lotto retail outlets, explaining whey they can't sell Keno tickets.
The MyLotto website still has the sale and validation of Keno tickets suspended after a technical glitch on January 3, 2019.
The MyLotto website still has the sale and validation of Keno tickets suspended after a technical glitch on January 3, 2019.

As of 10.40am on January 3, anyone who attempted to buy a Keno ticket instore was refused.

The following receipt from Lotto NZ was printed out when retail outlets tried to sell a ticket:

"We are currently experiencing some issues with Keno. This is under investigation, you will not be able to sell or validate any Keno tickets until this is resolved. Please ensure all Lotto operators are aware of this issue. Once resolved we will send another terminal message."

This inability to buy or validate Keno tickets also extends to the MyLotto website.

At 1.40pm on Friday Lotto NZ updated that "Keno tickets are now available to be purchased in-store at any Lotto NZ retailer".

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However the suspension of Keno online on the MyLotto website remained.

During the 2017/18 financial year, over two million Keno players won more than $19 million in prizes.

One player also became Keno's first millionaire during the last financial year, after winning $1 million on a single ticket.

One Auckland lotto retailer, Victoria Street Lotto News Agency, said they had many customers who were frustrated by the suspension of Keno tickets and payouts.

Auckland's Victoria Park New World supermarket had been explaining to customers Lotto NZ was not allowing them to sell or validate tickets - however they did not know details of the suspension.