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New Delaware Lotto Game to be Launched Amid Concerns Over Drawings

Delaware LotteryDelaware Lottery: New Delaware Lotto Game to be Launched Amid Concerns Over Drawings

While the Delaware Lottery is launching its new Multi-Win Lotto game on Thursday, lawmakers will be continuing work on a measure stipulating that the lottery must convert back to mechanical drawing machines and live television broadcasts.

But lottery officials say their high-tech system provides top security and ensures the offerings remain games of chance.

Inside lottery headquarters in Dover, an auditor from an outside firm and state lottery office personnel gather in a secure room to draw the numbers each day. Depending on the schedule of lottery games, several drawings a day take place.

In that room, which houses the computers used to randomly generate the numbers, video cameras record everything and affidavits are signed after each drawing to verify the numbers that are picked.

The drawing process starts when the outside auditor selects which of the office's two computers will be used to randomly select the numbers and which of three mathematical algorithms the machine will utilize.

The auditor makes the selection by picking one of six pieces of paper that have a machine name and algorithm written on it.

The computer begins randomly generating sets of numbers - three numbers for Play 3, four numbers for Play 4, etc. The auditor presses a button to stop the computer, and the number sets it shows are that drawing's winning combination.

"A lot of people believe someone sitting behind a PC is typing up the numbers," said lottery Director Wayne Lemons.

"That cannot happen. This cannot be rigged."

Judy Everett, the lottery's security and support services administrator, said the lottery office and an outside auditor check every computer program to make sure it truly is random before launching new games, such as the Multi-Win Lotto that will debut next week.

Once a game debuts, the computer chip that generates numbers for it is not removed until the game is discontinued.

"There are a lot of checks and balances," said Ms. Everett, who said the lottery office has never had a case of its games being compromised.

Back to the past

Two General Assembly members announced their intention this week to introduce legislation that would force the lottery office to go back to picking numbers by using ball machines, where numbered pingpong balls are circulated through a plastic chamber.

The bill also would require the lottery office to resume televising its drawings.

House Majority Leader Rep. Wayne A. Smith, R-Wilmington, said he has heard from constituents who think the drawings should go back on television to show players nothing is amiss with the number-selection process.

"The lack of confidence could be a financial issue for the state," said Rep. Smith, who will be the bill's lead sponsor.

"Less dollars played means less money in the general fund for police, education, health and all of the other activities state government funds. Bottom line, player confidence is the bedrock on which a successful lottery rests. Some regular players apparently are expressing less confidence in a computer program picking winning numbers and need to see balls drawn live."

Mr. Lemons declined to comment directly on the bill, but said taking away the office's ability to utilize technology would "be like telling a bank they couldn't use ATM machines anymore."

The lottery, Mr. Lemons said, started using the computerized randomizer to automatically draw numbers for one game in 1996. It added Lotto, Play 3 and Play 4 in 1998.

Televised drawings stopped in mid-2002, Mr. Lemmons said, because surveys found few players watched the broadcast. The move also saved about $400,000 a year that the state paid to WHYY-TV to air the drawings.

The lottery's surveys found only 7 percent of players were watching the broadcasts. Most players check newspapers for the numbers or get the winning combinations from retailers. The selections are shown on the Internet shortly after the numbers are picked.

The computerized drawings eliminate the chance for human error, Mr. Lemons said. For example, if the pingpong balls were not exactly the right weight then the randomness of the machine would be reduced.

"When we had the drawings on television, there were a lot of people involved and a lot of things that could go wrong," Mr. Lemons said.

"And the viewership had declined substantially."

Despite the security of the computerized system, not all players are satisfied.

"Many people have expressed concern with the lack of live draws," said Sen. Nancy W. Cook, D-Kenton, who will be the bill's lead sponsor in the Senate.

Rep. Smith said his support for the bill does not mean he thinks the lottery's system is flawed. He wants to keep the players' trust in the lottery.

"The lottery office is doing a good job and there's nothing wrong with the current system from an audit or integrity point- of view," he said.

"However, many players have doubts about a system where they can't see the numbers selected. I think we need to meet that threshold to ensure the continued financial success of the lottery."

New game

The lottery's Lotto game, which is played twice a week, has not had a jackpot winner - matching all six numbers - since February 2004. The jackpot has grown to more than $7 million.

Mr. Lemons attributed the lack of a winner to bad luck and a dwindling number of players buying those tickets. The last Lotto drawing will be held Wednesday. On Thursday, the lottery will begin selling tickets for a new Multi-Win Lotto game.

Several states have had to scuttle their Lotto games, Mr. Lemons said, because the jackpots are not big enough to make up for the long odds.

Brian Peters, deputy director of marketing services for the lottery office, said the new game will have odds of 1 in 5.7, compared to 1 in 362 for the Lotto.

"That's a significant difference," Mr. Peters said of the new odds.

"If you have no numbers that match, you get your money back."

If no one matches all six numbers in the Lotto drawing on Wednesday, then the jackpot will be divided among players who matched five of the six numbers and four of the six numbers.

Players with five numbers will split 75 percent of the jackpot. Players will four numbers will divide 25 percent of the jackpot.

"All of the money will be given away," Mr. Lemons said.

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16 comments. Last comment 12 years ago by DoctorEw220.
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Jake's avatar - animal bird.jpg

United States
Member #2217
September 1, 2003
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Posted: January 22, 2005, 9:35 am - IP Logged

 Ok, I can't stand this anymore.  For the record, I LIVE in Delaware.  The state has been losing money to the tune of millions because Ruth Ann, our fine Gov. got a bill passed that bans all indoor public smoking.  That includes racinos/slots - where dozens of buses used to bring players from all over the east coast to dump their money in DE.  Not any more.  Not dozens a day, maybe 2 or 3.  The DE lottery overall has been languishing for years.  Wayne Lemons has been there forever and the whole system from the games down to how players are treated is just plain sorry.  The list of ways the DE Lottery does not care about it's players and in fact treats us like idiots is long and distinguished.    Long ago they took away the great incentives for retailers so that for the player, actually buying a lottery ticket is at least not a hassle.  The result is that in the largest county in the state, businesses that sell tickets have dropped like flies, down to only a handful.  Want to know how much was wagered or how much was won on any DE lottery game on any given day?  Good luck finding out.   Now, with slots money way down and the lottery doing what it always does (not much of anything),  we are approaching the biggest jackpot and the change to a new game and, surprise, surprise, big media dvent that two low level politicians have "decided" to take on computered drawings as a huge issue.  Can anyone here say PUBLICITY STUNT???  You really have to live here to know how things work and this is so typical.  Yesterday, the DE lottery took up the majority of the front page of the State News. And the new multiwin lotto game - nothing more than glorified keno forcing you to spend $2, no matter what you really want  to do.    I would love to see computerized drawings stopped in DE, but if it's okay with you, I'll not hold my breath.

    MillionsWanted's avatar - 24Qa6LT

    Norway
    Member #9517
    December 10, 2004
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    Posted: January 22, 2005, 11:04 am - IP Logged

    "A lot of people believe someone sitting behind a PC is typing up the numbers," said lottery Director Wayne Lemons."



    That's reason enough to switch to televised draws and mechanical drawing machines.

      Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
      Chief Bottle Washer
      New Jersey
      United States
      Member #1
      May 31, 2000
      23262 Posts
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      Posted: January 22, 2005, 11:35 am - IP Logged

      MillionsWanted:  Absolutely correct.

      Jake:  Sorry to hear about your rough time in Delaware, that must be very frustrating.  I am shocked at everything I hear from your Lottery Director (Lemons); he is certainly not player-friendly.  A player-friendly Director would not make statements in the press that basically amount to "who cares what the players want, this is what I'm going to do."

      For the life of me, I cannot understand the bitter opposition to regular mechanical lottery drawing machines and live broadcasts.  There must be something else to this issue, something not eadily apparent, because it is not logical.  Since there is no logic to it, what other conclusion is a player to come to, other than they must be doing something underhanded?  I'm not saying they are, but it is easy to see why players are suspicious. 

      Lemons: have the flexibility and common sense to listen to your players.

       

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

       

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

        Avatar

        United States
        Member #434
        June 30, 2002
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        Posted: January 22, 2005, 11:35 am - IP Logged

        Quote: Originally posted by Jake on January 22, 2005







        That includes racinos/slots - where dozens of buses used to bring players from all over the east coast to dump their money in DE.  Not any more. 

        Now, with slots money way down and the lottery doing what it always does (not much of anything), 





        Maybe they will finally add a sportsbook, since they are one of 4 states exempt from the Federal ban. They better hurry up too, cause NJ is looking to have the ban revoked for them.
          Avatar

          United States
          Member #1826
          July 11, 2003
          2645 Posts
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          Posted: January 22, 2005, 12:34 pm - IP Logged
          Quote: Originally posted by smd173 on January 22, 2005

          Quote: Originally posted by Jake on January 22, 2005




          That includes racinos/slots - where dozens of buses used to bring players from all over the east coast to dump their money in DE. Not any more.

          Now, with slots money way down and the lottery doing what it always does (not much of anything),




          Maybe they will finally add a sportsbook, since they are one of 4 states exempt from the Federal ban. They better hurry up too, cause NJ is looking to have the ban revoked for them.






          I know DE & NV are exempt. Who else are?

          (insert signature here)

            BobP's avatar - bobp avatar.png
            Dump Water Florida
            United States
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            June 5, 2002
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            Posted: January 23, 2005, 12:15 am - IP Logged

            Whois says Lemon's email is wlemons@STATE.DE.US  I don't see any email contact information on the site.  Take a moment and ask for real drawings. 

            It's like the old story about the farmer who started adding saw dust to the chicken feed to save money.  10% didn't seem to make any difference, so he kept increasing the saw dust until the chickens were on 100% saw dust and you know what happened? 
            The chickens died. 

            You can see the same effect all around when business tries to save money by triming back what made them special in the first place.  Hard to believe they can be so stupid.

            BobP

              four4me's avatar - gate1
              MD
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              June 18, 2003
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              Posted: January 23, 2005, 12:31 am - IP Logged

              BobP when you open Delawares website look under where they list the numbers they have a contact us bar on the lower left hand corner under the numbers for today. Near the bottom of the first page.

                DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg
                Yinzer Country, PA
                United States
                Member #4067
                March 18, 2004
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                Posted: January 23, 2005, 12:32 am - IP Logged

                an RNG takes up to 5 seconds to generate a number. so you have up to 5 seconds to stop on a number before another one is generated.

                I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.

                  BobP's avatar - bobp avatar.png
                  Dump Water Florida
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                  Posted: January 23, 2005, 1:21 am - IP Logged

                  I see it now . . . the contact for Lemons bounced . . .  "This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

                  Delivery to the following recipients failed. wlemons@STATE.DE.US"

                  Guess the guy really doesn't want to hear from customers. 

                  Can always write to the flunkies on http://www.delottery.com/contactus.html

                  You can be sure they will forward your message to the director, ha ha.

                  BobP

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                    Columbia City, Indiana
                    United States
                    Member #2978
                    December 9, 2003
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                    Posted: January 23, 2005, 1:27 pm - IP Logged

                    From the article:

                    Mr. Lemons declined to comment directly on the bill, but said taking away the office's ability to utilize technology would "be like telling a bank they couldn't use ATM machines anymore."







                    Apples and oranges. The last time I used my bank's ATM, I didn't have to pick six numbers from a field before receiving my money. I was required to enter my PIN, though, and coincidentally, it was an exact match. I guess I'm just lucky that way.

                    New technologies fail every day. Some are just not practical (as in this case), others prove to be too dangerous and others still are just not welcome in today's marketplace. IBM and Microsoft teamed up years ago to launch OS/2, a new operating system that was supposed to blow the others out of the water. The problem was, nobody wanted it. However, OS/2 is still popular for running critical servers and, ironically, bank ATM's. The same thing happened to Coca-Cola when they introduced "New Coke." After spending forty million dollars to develop and launch their new product, they discovered that no one wanted to buy it. The difference in the two examples cited and the Delaware lottery is that New Coke and OS/2 weren't shoved down our throats like these infernal computers are; we had choices, and we made them.

                    Mr. Lemons, and other lottery directors of his ilk, need to realize that, just because a technology is relatively new, it's not necessarily good for the industry. The dramatic drop in sales should have made this obvious to him.

                    Come, Pinky; we must prepare for tomorrow night...

                    Jim

                      DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg
                      Yinzer Country, PA
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                      Posted: January 23, 2005, 1:44 pm - IP Logged

                      here's a thought.



                      the main problem is cost. televising the drawings takes up quite a bit of money since it pretty much advertises for the lottery. instead of televising the drawings, post the video footage of the live drawing, like the the tri-state games do (www.nhlottery.org), on the Internet for players to view, so they're getting an actual drawing, and the lottery is saving a ton of money by not televising the drawings.



                      VT, NH, and ME are the best examples of this.

                      I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.

                        Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                        Chief Bottle Washer
                        New Jersey
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                        Posted: January 23, 2005, 2:46 pm - IP Logged

                        DrEW:



                        Thanks for telling us about the NH lottery. I just watched today's drawing, and it's both great and funny! The funny part is that it is totally rough around the edges - no production values at all. A teenager with a home camcorder could do as well (who knows, maybe it was).



                        And then the woman in the background yelling as loud as she could so she could be heard over the deafening roar of the machines!



                        Funny, but the point being that it can be done ON THE CHEAP, and satisfy all the players that it's FAIR.



                        Here's a direct link to this month's Pick 3/4 drawings:



                        http://www.nhlottery.org/winningnumbers/videosearch.asp?GID=3

                         

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

                         

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

                          DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg
                          Yinzer Country, PA
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                          Posted: January 23, 2005, 5:01 pm - IP Logged

                          no problem.

                          I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.

                            DoctorEw220's avatar - alien helmet.jpg
                            Yinzer Country, PA
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                            March 18, 2004
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                            Posted: January 23, 2005, 5:01 pm - IP Logged

                            although i can kinda see why they don't televise the drawings.

                            I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.