Friday, Dec. 31, 1999 | 9:04 a.m.
The snafu occurred Thursday because the main computer sends the machines a command to function 72 hours in advance, said Wayne Lemons, director of the Delaware State Lottery.
"They got the command and read it as January 1, 1900. So they went down," he said. "We were assured they were Y2K compliant. It turned out they were not."
Lemons said all the affected machines were from the same vendor. Repair crews from Chicago-based WMS Gaming began replacing the chips almost immediately, but several machines were still inoperable on Friday afternoon.
"The board of WMS Gaming should resign," said an irate Bill Fasy, chief operating officer and general manager of Delaware Park, where 300 machines were still down. "How long have we been hearing about Y2K? They should be ashamed and say we didn't do the job. It's incompetence."
Fasy said the malfunctioning equipment had already proven costly to the track.
"The state taxpayers, the track and the horsemen are all losing money over this," he said.
Lemons said he expected all the machines to be working by Friday evening.
By midday, an estimated 115 machines at Dover Downs were still not working.
WMS Gaming officials could not be reached Friday for comment. A tape recording said the company was closed through Monday.
There are 4,200 slot machines in Delaware, Lemons said.