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How lottery balls are weighed


If you ever wonder how lottery balls are weighed  and tested to ensure that nothing but random chance determines a winner, here is a look at the precautions the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation take to ensure integrity in its games.

Once every three months, or in the case of Lotto 6-49/Super 7 if a number comes up 3 times back-to-back in the draws, then the balls are taken to the Quantum Inspection and Testing Limited, a Burlington, Ontario-based laboratory. 

First, an Ontario Lottery Draws Corordinator and a member of the auditing firm confirm the seals on the cases of balls have not been tampered with.  This procedure must take place anytime the sealed cases are opened or closed.  The seals are put on the cases immediately following the draw.  Each seal has an ID number e.g 000123456, upon it being opened  the seals are checked.  After the sealed cases are opened, the officials remove the inspection records that indicate the information since the lasting testing.  The records indicate each balls weight and diameter and testing dates.  Lottery balls used in Ontario are manufactured by Ryo-Catteau located in Wattrelos France.  Ryo-Catteau is the world's foremost manufacturer of machines and balls.  Although Smartplay INC. and Baetel are good quality in the U-S, the utmost producer and brand name is Ryo-Catteau.  They insure that every balls is identical in every way--so much so that the number on each ball is not printed but embedded and part of the ball itself.

At Quantum, the balls are checked with a micrometer to determine that they are in fact 50 mm in diameter, as they should be. Next they are measured for resiliency - in other words, how well they bounce. This can be done using a measuring device known as a resiliometer, which drops a weight on the ball and measures how far away it is propelled, or by videotaping the balls as they are dropped and measuring the height of their bounce. The video-tape is rolled back and the exact bounce height can be measured. 

The balls are then submerged in water, and their volume determined by how much liquid is displaced. The displacement test shows the density in each ball. 

Before a new set of lottery balls is put into service, they are given an x-ray test.  This ensures that there are no impurities or cavities within the ball itself.  

Each ball is weighed using a digital scale. Both the auditor and OLG Draws official keep notes and compare notes on the weight of each ball.  Each lottery ball must be within one gram of a mean weight, if not the set is thrown out and a new case is ordered. 

A set of balls usually on average last 3 years, however because of odorization of rubber and how much use they get, some have lasted longer--some have not.  Lottery balls (set of 1-49) cost $13,000 CDN from Ryo-Catteau,  a 0-9 set about $3000.  Do the math, it's about $300 a ball.

After all the tests, the inspection records are signed off, bearing in mind that all the specifications have been met, the balls and records sealed back into their cases.  They are tagged with new security seals and taken back to Toronto and locked into a safe for the next nights draws. 

So whether you opt for a quick pick or chooses your owqn numbers, nothing but "LUCK" alone can make your ticket a winner.       



Entry #2


justxploringComment by justxploring - October 11, 2006, 7:51 pm
Thank you for posting this. Very interesting. I once researched a similar subject about Florida security (we have a 6/53 game) and it's amazing what they do to make sure everything is fair and honest. I'm just not sure I like the pre-draws.

On the other hand, I think it would be a lot simpler to boil up some spaghetti and make sure there are 53 noodles, throw them against the wall and see what sticks. Actually, linguini is wider, so there would be more room for the number. I guess this proves I'm not very high tech. :-)

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