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Tennessee Lottery computerized drawings flawed since inception

Tennessee LotteryTennessee Lottery: Tennessee Lottery computerized drawings flawed since inception
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Lottery throws all blame on a contractor; players bear the brunt

By Todd Northrop

A month ago, Tennessee Lottery officials claimed the state's new computerized drawings would be "exciting". 

What Tennessee lottery players got instead were buggy, unfair drawings, in which almost half the numbers people picked had no chance whatsoever of winning.

The severely flawed drawings have been happening every day since computerized drawings replaced the lottery's real mechanical ball drawings more than three weeks ago.

That's a total of 80 Pick 3 and Pick 4 drawings in which almost half the lottery ticket players bought were unwinnable.

The flaw in the drawings prevented two of the same numbers from appearing together, in what players refer to as "doubles" and "triples", and in Pick 4, "quads".

The lottery is offering refunds to players with tickets with doubles, triples, or quads, but if you threw out your losing ticket, then you've lost twice.  Only players producing qualifying tickets will get a refund.

In a press release issued today, the Tennessee Lottery blamed a "programming issue" for the bad drawings.

The programming issue , which impacted the last three weeks of Cash 3 and Cash 4 drawings, was discovered yesterday, and was attributed to human error made by an outside, third party vendor.

The lottery did not state if they bothered to run any pretests, which in the lottery industry are designed to catch flaws before they impact players.  Instead, the only blame cast by the lottery was on the unnamed outside vendor.

In a statement released today, the lottery's CEO expressed "regrets" for the error, and then attempted to shift attention to education, even though it is unrelated to computerized drawings.

"Once the issue was pinpointed, it was corrected immediately," said Rebecca Hargrove, President and CEO of the Tennessee Lottery. "The Tennessee Lottery sincerely regrets what happened and wants to reassure our players and everyone in Tennessee that the drawings have been rectified and we will continue to move forward with our mission to maximize dollars for education."

For those who selected two or more of the same numbers in a play for Cash 3 or Cash 4 during the past 23 days (July 28 through Aug. 20) and who still have their tickets, the Lottery is offering a double refund for the price of each affected play or two free plays equal to the value of the affected plays.

For those who play Cash 3 or Cash 4 for the next 23 days, from Aug. 22 until Sept. 13, the Lottery will offer additional cash prizes. Players can win up to $599 in Cash 3 and up to $6,000 in Cash 4.

The lottery announced they would try to fix any problems caused by the outside consultant by hiring another consultant. 

"Although we are confident with the application adjustment made yesterday by our third party vendor, we are seeking an outside consultant to review the entire process."

The lottery did not state if they were considering a switch back to real mechanical ball drawings.

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32 comments. Last comment 9 years ago by GASMETERGUY.
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stavros's avatar - avatar 6898.gif
Florida
United States
Member #6147
August 8, 2004
1396 Posts
Offline
Posted: August 21, 2007, 7:11 pm - IP Logged

I hear the sound of the first shoe dropping!

Good Luck!

Stavros

 

    Avatar

    United States
    Member #1826
    July 11, 2003
    2645 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: August 21, 2007, 7:52 pm - IP Logged

    I hear the sound of the first shoe dropping!

    Mark my words, the Tennessee Lottery will not learn anything from this. Remember when the same number came up three times in a row in the Kansas Pick 3, a billion to one occurance, or when Daily Derby in CA had it's own flaw. They didn't learn anything because they are still drawn with the same flawed technology. I can't see any reason the situation here in Tennessee will be any different. 

    I hope I'm wrong about this, but I probably will be right. 

    (insert signature here)

      jeffrey's avatar - moon
      Hamilton, OH
      United States
      Member #4162
      March 27, 2004
      277 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: August 21, 2007, 9:00 pm - IP Logged

      When I was a kid, my calculator could do better random numbers.  Seed cosine based on time to nanosecond of drawing individual balls. I still like the balls. Keep them honest. Must be a money thing for the lottery officials. If I was a programmer, I would put in a backdoor or a bomb. Win me a lottery the old fashioned way, steal it.

        Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
        Clarksville
        United States
        Member #487
        July 15, 2002
        17638 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: August 21, 2007, 9:06 pm - IP Logged

        I am so glad I still have my tickets.  a 2 fer isn't bad.  I am going to enjoy this..(I think). The draws should be mostly doubles coming up.

        If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

        You never know when you will get another hit.

          Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
          Chief Bottle Washer
          New Jersey
          United States
          Member #1
          May 31, 2000
          23259 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: August 21, 2007, 9:28 pm - IP Logged

          Mark my words, the Tennessee Lottery will not learn anything from this. Remember when the same number came up three times in a row in the Kansas Pick 3, a billion to one occurance, or when Daily Derby in CA had it's own flaw. They didn't learn anything because they are still drawn with the same flawed technology. I can't see any reason the situation here in Tennessee will be any different. 

          I hope I'm wrong about this, but I probably will be right. 

          Sadly, I agree.  There is a Forest Gump saying that comes to mind.

           

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

           

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

            Avatar
            Coastal Georgia
            United States
            Member #2653
            October 30, 2003
            1866 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: August 21, 2007, 9:32 pm - IP Logged

            "The lottery announced they would try to fix any problems caused by the outside consultant by hiring another consultant".

             Stooges

               

              Why are we not surprised  by this ?

             

            This is exactly what we all feared when Tenn went to this system and lo and behold it happened.

            The best way to fix this is to stop playing. See if that get's Rebeccas attention.

             

                                           

                          

             

             

              jeffrey's avatar - moon
              Hamilton, OH
              United States
              Member #4162
              March 27, 2004
              277 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: August 21, 2007, 9:35 pm - IP Logged

              Sadly, I agree.  There is a Forest Gump saying that comes to mind.

              OOO, oooo; stupid is as stupid does.PartyPing pong balls are much nicer.

                Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                Chief Bottle Washer
                New Jersey
                United States
                Member #1
                May 31, 2000
                23259 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: August 21, 2007, 9:36 pm - IP Logged

                When I was a kid, my calculator could do better random numbers.  Seed cosine based on time to nanosecond of drawing individual balls. I still like the balls. Keep them honest. Must be a money thing for the lottery officials. If I was a programmer, I would put in a backdoor or a bomb. Win me a lottery the old fashioned way, steal it.

                I agree, but I don't think it was even their RNG.  It was just an incredibly BAD programming error, which should have EASILY been caught.  Obviously, the Tennessee Lottery did NOT do any semblance of due diligence on the new draw system, or it would have been caught, as the article states.

                I'll bet that the RNG did not spit out any doubles or triples because it was setup exactly like the Pick 5 game, in which it is not allowed to draw duplicates.  So all they did is change the possible numbers that could be drawn, and did not alter the rules to allow duplicates.

                This is absolutely horrendous.  The CEO is directly responsible for this, as that's where the buck stops.  Yet she tries to cast the blame on a contractor, rather than admitting that the lottery did not do the proper due diligence.

                I am outraged, and I don't even live there.  I can't imagine what you Tennesseeans must feel like.  You have all been repeatedly slapped in the face, while the lottery tries to convince you that someone else is at fault.

                 

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

                 

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

                  tnlotto1's avatar - logo
                  nashville
                  United States
                  Member #49896
                  February 18, 2007
                  1181 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: August 21, 2007, 10:08 pm - IP Logged

                  I agree, but I don't think it was even their RNG.  It was just an incredibly BAD programming error, which should have EASILY been caught.  Obviously, the Tennessee Lottery did NOT do any semblance of due diligence on the new draw system, or it would have been caught, as the article states.

                  I'll bet that the RNG did not spit out any doubles or triples because it was setup exactly like the Pick 5 game, in which it is not allowed to draw duplicates.  So all they did is change the possible numbers that could be drawn, and did not alter the rules to allow duplicates.

                  This is absolutely horrendous.  The CEO is directly responsible for this, as that's where the buck stops.  Yet she tries to cast the blame on a contractor, rather than admitting that the lottery did not do the proper due diligence.

                  I am outraged, and I don't even live there.  I can't imagine what you Tennesseeans must feel like.  You have all been repeatedly slapped in the face, while the lottery tries to convince you that someone else is at fault.

                  I Agree! hopefully this will cause more people to join the boycott of the RNG games here until they lose enough money to go back to balls.

                    L J1's avatar - chi jpeg.jpg
                    Michigan
                    United States
                    Member #54181
                    August 8, 2007
                    123 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: August 21, 2007, 10:17 pm - IP Logged

                    I Don't Like It Either! I like to witness the drawing in real time; mechanical, not computerized. Computerized drawings..... anything can happen. When you got a huge Jackpot up for grabs, people are going to be P/O! They're NOT going to be happy campers!

                    To say the least

                    Here in Michigan, the 3 digit game, and 4 digit game are still mechanical. But the Keno, Fantasy 5, and Classic Lotto 47.... I'm not so sure.

                    Everytime I looked at the drawings on tv @ 7:29pm here in MI, and after the 3 & 4 digit games were drawn all the person says is " And the rest of the winning numbers are NOW, on your screen". And then they show the numbers. That's It!! Good Nite! and Good Luck!

                    They don't show how they were drawn (like they use to, years ago, with other lotto games by the mechanical rotating balls dropping into the different slots of the machine.

                    A progammer can do anything. And when you have a team, look out! 

                      MADDOG10's avatar - smoke
                      Beautiful Florida
                      United States
                      Member #5709
                      July 18, 2004
                      20106 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: August 21, 2007, 10:25 pm - IP Logged

                        I've said it before, stop buying lottery tickets and see how quick they have a change of heart about computerized drawings. Thats the government spirit, spend more money to an outside consultant...>>>>>>?? I really feel sorry for the people of Tenn...!

                                                                   

                                                                     "  When Injustice Becomes Law, Resistance Becomes Duty "

                        Avatar
                        Delaware
                        United States
                        Member #30273
                        January 14, 2006
                        494 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: August 21, 2007, 11:14 pm - IP Logged

                        To the Tennessee Lottery:

                        Prove to me beyond the shadow of the doubt that you didn't do this on purpose and only regret getting caught. Any references to education will discredit your argument in full.

                        I'd wait to hear your response but I have better things to do with my time than listen to your silence.

                          Bradly_60's avatar - disney37
                          Atlantic Mine, Michigan
                          United States
                          Member #416
                          June 23, 2002
                          1614 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: August 21, 2007, 11:14 pm - IP Logged

                          Wow....that is all I can say....wow

                          Brad

                            AuntiePat's avatar - animaniacs10
                            Just outside of Cleveland, OH
                            United States
                            Member #54079
                            August 3, 2007
                            106 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: August 21, 2007, 11:50 pm - IP Logged

                            When I was a kid, my calculator could do better random numbers.  Seed cosine based on time to nanosecond of drawing individual balls. I still like the balls. Keep them honest. Must be a money thing for the lottery officials. If I was a programmer, I would put in a backdoor or a bomb. Win me a lottery the old fashioned way, steal it.

                            One of the stories,that I had read on this site about another state changing earlier this year, claimed cost effectiveness of the computer system over the ping pong ball method.  I guess if they can eliminate another job and replace it with computers that don't need food, clothing or medical insurance, then the  computer IS cost effective--until using a computer draw becomes a liability (i.e.--till TN citizens stop playing the P3 and P4 games)

                             

                            PS Jeffrey--Steal one for me while you're at it.