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Tennessee Lottery oversight committee to convene in November

Tennessee LotteryTennessee Lottery: Tennessee Lottery oversight committee to convene in November
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By Todd Northrop

Accounting firm to audit lottery and provide results to committee

Following a disastrous couple of months for Tennessee Lottery, the legislature has decided to convene a meeting of the Oversight Committee and audit the lottery's operations.

Senator Bill Ketron and Representative Ulysses Jones are co-chairs of the committee.

According to a staffer in Senator Ketron's office, the committee has met several times in the past, mainly to discuss issues related to education and scholarships.  The committee has not had to deal with managing errors or mishaps, until now.

Many committee members are new to the oversight body, following a shakeup in the legislature last year.  The committee consists of 18 members — nine Senators and nine Representatives — and was chartered in the laws that govern the lottery.

The committee in its current configuration has not had any meetings in the last legislative session. 

There was one event that committee members were invited to at Tennessee Lottery headquarters in February, but only three committee members attended.

One of the centerpieces of the meeting agenda in November will be the review of an audit that was order this week.

The accounting firm KPMG has been chosen to review the computer glitch that kept certain numbers from being drawn in the Cash 3 and Cash 4 games for more than three weeks.

The Tennessee Lottery is paying KPMG between $80,000 and $95,000 to perform an audit, said Kym Gerlock, lottery spokeswoman.

A software coding error kept duplicate numbers from being drawn in the two games after the lottery switched July 28 from a system where balls pop up with the winning numbers to a system using a computer to generate random numbers. So players who picked numbers like 4-6-6 for Cash 3 or 9-9-7-9 for Cash 4 had no chance of winning.

Gene Osekowsky, an occasional lottery player from Murfreesboro, said the audit was a good idea.

"We probably have mismanaged the program to some extent," he said of the new computerized lottery drawings, adding that he would like to see more consumers involved in lottery oversight.

A business analyst, Osekowsky said companies he worked for, such as General Mills, would test new systems in tandem with the old system for at least six months before switching. In that way, any kinks could be ironed out.

The KPMG audit is expected to be completed by Oct. 29, Gerlock said.

The audit results will be presented to a special legislative lottery oversight committee scheduled to meet sometime in November, said Sen. Jim Kyle, D-Memphis. Kyle said he was concerned because lottery money is used to fund college scholarships and pre-kindergarten programs.

"Those funds are not going to be available if there is not confidence in the lottery," Kyle said.

A poll being conducted at Lottery Post (www.lotterypost.com) shows that 93% of the respondents favor traditional ball drawings over the computerized drawings that the Tennessee Lottery recently put in place.

Many Lottery Post members have called for the Tennessee Lottery to switch back to the ball drawings.

"[The lottery] just switched to computerized drawings, so they would still have all the draw equipment and know-how on staff," explained Todd Northrop, CEO of Lottery Post.

"Unlike other states that would have to invest to switch back to real drawings, it would be simple and low-cost for the Tennessee Lottery," Northrop said.  "They should do it immediately, while they still have the opportunity."

Other polls being conducted at the Lottery Post web site show that 73% of respondents would spend less money on lottery tickets if their lottery switched to computerized drawings.

Time will tell if that will happen in Tennessee, but concerned legislators are not taking any chances.

See the actual oversight committee announcement letter here: http://www.lotterypost.com/media/TLC_Announce_Oversight_Nov.pdf  (Note: After sending the document, Senator Ketron's office sent a correction, stating that KPMG would be conducting the audit, not Ernst and Young.)

Lottery Post Staff, with excerpts from the Tennessean

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10 comments. Last comment 9 years ago by rapalaw.
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Avatar
Coastal Georgia
United States
Member #2653
October 30, 2003
1866 Posts
Offline
Posted: September 20, 2007, 1:06 pm - IP Logged

Good story Mr. Northrop-

This Tennessee thing gets more interesting by the day....

 

                               

              

 

 

    Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
    Chief Bottle Washer
    New Jersey
    United States
    Member #1
    May 31, 2000
    23267 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: September 20, 2007, 1:30 pm - IP Logged

    Thank you, but that's op.  Wink

     

    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: September 20, 2007, 1:39 pm - IP Logged

      Thank you, but that's op.  Wink

      Sorry....  Doh

       

                                     

                    

       

       

        four4me's avatar - gate1
        MD
        United States
        Member #1701
        June 18, 2003
        8362 Posts
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        Posted: September 20, 2007, 2:21 pm - IP Logged

        Gene Osekowsky, said companies he worked for, such as General Mills, would test new systems in tandem with the old system for at least six months before switching. In that way, any kinks could be ironed out.

        In this case there is nothing to compare RNG drawings are not related to mechanical ball drawings in that computers contain codes and balls don't whats to compare.

        However had the Tennessee lottery ran their new RNG program for any duration of time i doubt they would know if the RNG program had any faults since they probably have no clue as to how they work. Other than some vendor saying the program will spit out random numbers.

        Tennessee lottery personal couldn't catch a mistake without the players involvement in this. I wonder if anyone working there actually has an understanding of lottery numbers outside of drawing them. Meaning do they know anything about even, odds, repeats, doubles, statistics or any other aspects of the numbers group.

        Suppose the RNG program had only spit out even numbers for 20 straight draws who working at the lottery would notice or even care that this was an improbability.  Would any lottery personal even say anything to whomever is in charge.

        What's happening at the Tennessee lottery goes deeper than their understanding of how numbers fall they have a RNG program that malfunctions and no one there know anything about how to fix it.

        At least with ball drawings they can see a machine malfunction or when inspecting or testing the balls have some comprehensive knowledge of whats right and wrong with them. 

        They cant do that with RNG programs.  

        Lottery players don't want states to use computers to draw numbers we don't want any lottery to use computers that can have corrupted code or be manipulated in any way. Computers drawing lottery numbers is absurd. How is any player to know if the numbers drawn for any drawing were fixed or not.

        Lets do away with computers drawing lottery numbers and stick with what has worked basically flawless for many years mechanical ball drawings.    

          takeitez's avatar - japheth
          Carters Lake, Ga.
          United States
          Member #5313
          June 29, 2004
          1065 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: September 20, 2007, 3:34 pm - IP Logged

           (from the above )

          The Tennessee Lottery is paying KPMG between $80,000 and $95,000 to perform an audit, said Kym Gerlock, lottery spokeswoman.

          Seems a bit strange to me!

          I know if I had a shakey company, I would want to hire and pay the firm doing the audit. 

          The State of Tennessee is right on top of this mess!

          ez

                    No Pity!Guitar  Drum ........ in the long run........

            Avatar

            United States
            Member #10720
            January 23, 2005
            933 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: September 20, 2007, 8:42 pm - IP Logged

            What's to compare..... I am guessing that they are comparing the frequency count, type of # drawn (singles, doubles..) looking for any kind of bias in either RNG or ball drawings. I run all kinds of backtests on my algorithms so if a game is impossible to win enough to be worth playing then I won't touch it. TN is a small state; people can go to neighboring states and play there instead, right?

              tnlotto1's avatar - logo
              nashville
              United States
              Member #49896
              February 18, 2007
              1181 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: September 20, 2007, 11:52 pm - IP Logged

              What's to compare..... I am guessing that they are comparing the frequency count, type of # drawn (singles, doubles..) looking for any kind of bias in either RNG or ball drawings. I run all kinds of backtests on my algorithms so if a game is impossible to win enough to be worth playing then I won't touch it. TN is a small state; people can go to neighboring states and play there instead, right?

              i go to kentucky and georgia to play since they border tennessee. some people would have to travel over an hour to hit a neighboring state like one of the carolinas.

                LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                Tennessee
                United States
                Member #7853
                October 15, 2004
                11338 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: September 21, 2007, 3:06 am - IP Logged

                mississippi,arkansas and alabama are nearest to me so i'm pretty much screwed unless i drive to either texas or missouri which are both 3 or 4 hours away.all i can do is hope they bring the balls back because i'll never play the RNG ever.its cheating plain and simple.

                  computerhead723's avatar - lightbulb
                  Buffalo
                  United States
                  Member #54397
                  August 17, 2007
                  245 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: September 21, 2007, 3:15 am - IP Logged

                  Good story Mr. Northrop-

                  This Tennessee thing gets more interesting by the day....

                  you  can  add   more   PIGS   to  the  dinner  plate  in  Tenn.   and   many    other state  lottery's  ;

                   



                   

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                    New Member

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                    Posted: September 22, 2007, 9:16 am - IP Logged
                    1) Tn Lottery hired Rebecca Paul because of her status as an experienced lottery director.
                    Rng systems have been on the market for many years, why would the lottery spend $120,000 +
                    on ball machines that 2 1/2 years later are now too expensive to run. Only to buy Rng system 
                    for $ 220,000+ from the same vendor. Should she not have been aware of the cost before hand?

                    2) The cost saving are to be in personnel for the drawings but they still use 2 -4 people to run
                      the Rng.  Look at the yearly service cost from maintaining the rng system 


                    3) Vegas does not use or trust  Rng systems