Updated Oct. 9, 2007, 12:58 am
Lawmaker eyes legislation to get rid of computer draws
'The integrity of our lottery drawings has been compromised in the minds of lottery players.'
One Tennessee state legislator could step into the latest Tennessee Lottery controversy, and solve it with one stroke of the pen.
House Minority Leader Jason Mumpower is looking to introduce legislation that would rid the lottery of computerized drawings.
He wants the drawings back to how they were, before the Tennessee Lottery switched to a computerized drawing.
Customers seem to universally agree.
One said, "Just go back to your balls."
That sentiment is echoed in each interview and message board posting on Lottery Post (http://www.lotterypost.com/), as well as comments made on local news media web sites throughout Tennessee.
"The integrity of our lottery drawings has been compromised in the minds of lottery players," said Mumpower who is ready to introduce legislation proposing changes to the current system.
He said the education of Tennessee's kids makes the measure necessary.
Mumpower said, "Of course that means it affects our scholarship system. If people don't feel like they can trust the lottery, they won't play."
A call for an overhaul is coming because of three major mistakes in just one month; the first in August when a computer glitch caused problems with the Lottery's Cash 3 and Cash 4 drawlings.
A few weeks later, the wrong jackpot was printed on Lottery tickets.
A little more than a week after that incident, the wrong numbers for Cash 3 and Cash 4 were televised.
In between, several other minor errors occured that shook consumer confidence in the lottery. For example, the lottery published an adult chat line phone number on lottery marketing materials instead of the lottery's toll-free phone number.
Lora Aguilard works at Nashville Discount Tobacco.
She said, "I have some customers that play it religiously, they were playing $40 a day, they're playing $3 now."
Aguilard said the solution is simple, get rid of the computer.
"Everybody believes we should go back to dropping the balls," she told News 2.
Mumpower agrees, but said something needs to be done before too many decide to try their luck elsewhere.
He plans to introduce legislation early next year.
Mumpower Files Legislation To Change Lottery Drawing Procedure
House Minority Leader Jason Mumpower (R-Bristol) announced Monday that he will file legislation in the next session of the 105th General Assembly to propose changes to the way the lottery numbers are drawn in Tennessee. Rep. Mumpower's announcement follows months of public scrutiny after the Tennessee Lottery went from using numbered balls to computer generated numbers for lottery picks.
"The integrity of the system has been compromised by a number of glitches the new computer system has experienced," stated Rep. Mumpower, who sits on the lottery oversight committee. "We use the money generated from the lottery to send Tennessee's graduates on to higher education. In order for people to have full confidence in the system and buy tickets, the system needs to change."
Beyond implementation of the new computer generated numbers, the lottery has spent over $25,000 in additional payouts due to the recent glitches. The state also recently paid $80,000 for an outside auditor after the computer issue, but later reports clarified that the auditor will not be examining the computer system glitches. The auditor has only been asked to determine whether or not the computers are working properly.
"If it's not addressing the problem, then why is the state spending $80,000?" Rep. Mumpower commented of the audit. "The one thing they should be auditing, they aren't. It's a complete waste of money to audit everything except for the problem."
Rep. Mumpower's legislation stipulates that "only lottery games operated by the Tennessee lottery corporation shall be those in which winners are selected or determined through a random drawing using numbered balls."
"Being that the lottery is voluntary and funds our scholarship program, it offsets government expenses. The last thing we want is for it to fail, so that some politician down the road can justify a tax increase. If we expect people to buy tickets, we need to fix these problems," Rep. Mumpower concluded.