Web site press release reveals plan — is it a trial balloon or just bad news?
By Todd Northrop
Tennessee Lottery issued a statement on their web site that threatens to bring unpopular computerized drawings to the state.
The upstart lottery, which in relative terms is still attempting to gain solid footing in the industry, made the announcement despite numerous player polls showing mistrust and discontent with the faux drawings.
The lottery claims computerized drawings are "exciting", although player polls suggest that any excitement from lottery drawings comes as the result of seeing real lottery balls being mixed in a spinning drum and drawn one at a time — both of which are missing from computerized drawings.
The Tennessee Lottery statement also mentions that other states are using computerized drawings, but fails to mention that it has been several years since any state has gone computerized.
(The last state to go computerized was Wisconsin in 2004. It took place just before the computerized drawings controversy stated gaining widespread recognition. Full story here: http://www.lotterypost.com/news/100094.htm)
Computerized drawings, unlike real drawings that use numbered balls selected from a tumbling drum, do not take place in the real world. They are a computer program, which cannot be seen, heard, or televised.
For this reason, lottery players have shunned the technique as untrustworthy and prone to unseen errors.
Such was the case with California's Daily Derby game, which uses a computerized drawing system. For many months in 2005 certain combinations of numbers that were bought by players turned out to have no chance of winning.
The problem was with a computerized drawing program, which contained a bug that went undiscovered for months. Only after a player noticed odd patterns in the draw results did the California Lottery investigate and subsequently discover the bug.
For lottery players who bought losing tickets during that time, the small bonus programs offered by the lottery to make up for the buggy drawings was not much compared to the jackpots they may have won if their tickets had a chance.
There are no telling how many glitches — big or small — that exist in the memory banks and storage systems of computerized drawing systems, because lottery players have no way to visually inspect the drawing as it takes place.
When states offer the chance to witness a computerized drawing, the person "witnessing" the drawing only sees a button being pressed. The actual drawing logic is impossible to see, since it only exists as bit and bytes inside a computer.
Almost 4,000 lottery players have signed the Petition for True Lottery Drawings at Lottery Post, which calls for the elimination of computerized drawings across the United States.
The petition educates lottery players about the dangers and risks of computerized drawings.
The web site also offers a State Lottery Report Card (http://www.lotterypost.com/lottery-report-card.asp), that shows the computerized or traditional drawing status of every state and game played in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom.
States receive a grade of "F" when they do not offer traditional lottery drawings for any game in their state.