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Four years after drawing fiasco, Tenn. Lottery settles with tech firms

Tennessee LotteryTennessee Lottery: Four years after drawing fiasco, Tenn. Lottery settles with tech firms

The Tennessee Education Lottery Corp. has received nearly $1 million from a pair of technology companies it blamed for software glitches that resulted in the sale of about $2 million worth of unwinnable tickets in 2007.

(See Tennessee Lottery computerized drawings flawed since inception, Lottery Post, Aug. 21, 2007.)

The computer program that Smartplay International and Gaming Laboratories International came up with for games such as Cash 3 and Cash 4 was flawed and resulted in thousands of unwinnable tickets being sold to state residents. The program did not allow duplicate digits to appear, and gamblers who picked duplicate digits could not win.

The lottery gave refunds to those who bought unwinnable tickets and sued the software companies for damages in federal court in October 2008. The case was settled last week with the companies paying the state lottery a combined $900,000.

"We're delighted the matter is resolved," said Aubrey Harwell Jr., one of the attorneys who represented the lottery in the lawsuit.

Officials and attorneys for Smartplay and Gaming Laboratories did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The companies had fought to keep the settlement confidential even though the lottery is a quasi-governmental entity subject to open records laws.

Wanda Wilson, executive vice president and general counsel for the Tennessee Education Lottery Association, said the settlement money will be added to proceeds used to pay for scholarships and after-school programs across the state this year.

Last year, the lottery spent a record $293.5 million on its education programs and is expected to set another record this year. The lottery had a reserve of $364 million as of June 30.

No effect on scholarship cuts

Last month, lawmakers hoping to stabilize the lottery fund approved a plan that would cut in half the scholarships that go to students on the cusp of qualifying for the lottery's HOPE scholarships and Aspire grants.

Wilson said the $900,000 settlement won't influence those discussions.

"This one-time settlement amount, while welcome and headed for good use, will only modestly impact these overall figures," she said.

A chronology of Tennessee Lottery computerized drawings

Below is a sampling of news stories appearing at Lottery Post during the pivotal period of time when the Tennessee Lottery switched to computerized drawings.  In many respects, the lottery has not fully recovered since that fateful decision.

Also:  All Tennessee Lottery News Stories

Thanks to Helen for the tip.

Tennessean, Lottery Post Staff

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23 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by TheOtherOne.
Page 1 of 2
Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
Chief Bottle Washer
New Jersey
United States
Member #1
May 31, 2000
21585 Posts
Offline
Posted: December 17, 2011, 9:40 am - IP Logged

I remember posting about hidden errors that can occur without anybody noticing WAY Before these drawing errors were ever confirmed.  For example, here's a post I made on Aug. 8, 2007 that talks about hidden errors in computerized drawings that can go on for a long time before anyone notices.

There is absolutely no legitimate reason for a lottery to go to computerized drawings, other than their perception that it will be "easier" for them to manage.  Computerized drawings are a huge mistake, especially when it comes to the need to bring in huge sums of money every year based on player confidence and trust.

 

Check the State Lottery Report Card
What grade did your lottery earn?

 

Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
Help eliminate computerized drawings!

    duckman's avatar - ducklogodrake64x64
    Jacksonville Florida
    United States
    Member #23018
    October 6, 2005
    745 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: December 17, 2011, 10:05 am - IP Logged

    Two words: Inadequate Testing

    Any time new or updated software is released, thorough testing in a real time environment is mandatory. If they would have run adequate test runs they would have discovered the problem. As is often the case with modern software projects, poor quality control and inadequate testing results in unforseen errors that should have be caught and fixed before release.

      RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
      mid-Ohio
      United States
      Member #9
      March 24, 2001
      17945 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: December 17, 2011, 12:33 pm - IP Logged

      From some of the posts I read at that time, I doubt if everyone who bought doubles and triples was aware that the state was offering to give them their money back.

      * you don't need more tickets, just the right ticket * 
      * your best chance at winning a lottery jackpot is to buy a ticket * 
           Wink 

        pcurtis's avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
        fayetteville tn
        United States
        Member #68983
        January 3, 2009
        1798 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: December 17, 2011, 12:42 pm - IP Logged

        Can't wait for ridge to post on this.

        Tear them them up ridge.

          gra8*2win's avatar - spherewall
          williamson county
          United States
          Member #119085
          November 14, 2011
          1852 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: December 17, 2011, 1:14 pm - IP Logged

          Can't wait for ridge to post on this.

          Tear them them up ridge.

          Tennessee seems to be one of the worst states for random draws.   i wonder how many other states have had this

          problem.

            TnTicketlosers's avatar - Lottery-065.jpg

            United States
            Member #71120
            February 19, 2009
            992 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: December 17, 2011, 1:47 pm - IP Logged

            I dont believe none of their payouts or wins.After 5 years of studing I should get aleast 1 hit a year.

              TnTicketlosers's avatar - Lottery-065.jpg

              United States
              Member #71120
              February 19, 2009
              992 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: December 17, 2011, 1:52 pm - IP Logged

              Does this mean I get a refund on all my losing tickets?

                Avatar
                EAST COAST, USA
                United States
                Member #49428
                January 31, 2007
                547 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: December 17, 2011, 1:55 pm - IP Logged

                I don't typically comment on an article unless it is of extreme value.  I have one commnet.

                SMH Thinking of...

                  pcurtis's avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
                  fayetteville tn
                  United States
                  Member #68983
                  January 3, 2009
                  1798 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: December 17, 2011, 2:53 pm - IP Logged

                  Does this mean I get a refund on all my losing tickets?

                  What about the ones that throwed their tickets away?

                  They are the ones that got robbed.

                    Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                    Chief Bottle Washer
                    New Jersey
                    United States
                    Member #1
                    May 31, 2000
                    21585 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: December 17, 2011, 3:03 pm - IP Logged

                    The lottery already did their little "giveback" to lottery players who got robbed during that period:  http://www.lotterypost.com/news/165397

                    If you check the middle of that article, you will see the amounts the lottery "gave back" to players.

                    Remember, this event took place 4 years ago.

                    (Edit: I guess I can't count very well -- I changed the article headline to say "FOUR" years ago, not five.  Duh.)

                     

                    Check the State Lottery Report Card
                    What grade did your lottery earn?

                     

                    Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                    Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                      temptustoo's avatar - cat anm.gif
                      usa
                      United States
                      Member #89199
                      April 2, 2010
                      2538 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: December 17, 2011, 4:40 pm - IP Logged

                      well i was there during that time and unless you kept your tickets you got nothing.. I think Tenn.. got way too much money for the money that they gave back..


                        United States
                        Member #111446
                        May 25, 2011
                        6323 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: December 17, 2011, 6:18 pm - IP Logged

                        I remember posting about hidden errors that can occur without anybody noticing WAY Before these drawing errors were ever confirmed.  For example, here's a post I made on Aug. 8, 2007 that talks about hidden errors in computerized drawings that can go on for a long time before anyone notices.

                        There is absolutely no legitimate reason for a lottery to go to computerized drawings, other than their perception that it will be "easier" for them to manage.  Computerized drawings are a huge mistake, especially when it comes to the need to bring in huge sums of money every year based on player confidence and trust.

                        I Agree!I Agree!I Agree!!!!

                          jojosurf's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
                          phila pa
                          United States
                          Member #25770
                          November 11, 2005
                          2942 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: December 17, 2011, 8:06 pm - IP Logged

                          I Agree! PA IS RIGHT UP THERE WITH THEM ON THE RESULT'S WE HAD ON DAY DRAWS CHEATING THE PLAYER'S CONSTANT REPEAT'S DAY AND NIGHT

                            TheOtherOne's avatar - Lottery-027.jpg
                            Nashville, TN
                            United States
                            Member #86740
                            February 9, 2010
                            478 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: December 17, 2011, 11:00 pm - IP Logged

                            Two words: Inadequate Testing

                            Any time new or updated software is released, thorough testing in a real time environment is mandatory. If they would have run adequate test runs they would have discovered the problem. As is often the case with modern software projects, poor quality control and inadequate testing results in unforseen errors that should have be caught and fixed before release.

                            I think you hit the nail right on the head.

                            I wasn't playing any cash 3 or 4 then -- or now, really so I don't know all the details but it's sounds like they straight didn't give a flock!