By Todd Northrop
If the Illinois Lottery issued stocks, now would be the time to sell.
Despite widespread player sentiment that is strongly against computerized drawings, the Illinois Lottery stated Friday that it is dropping real lottery ball drawings, and moving to the despised computerized draws.
Computerized drawings are conducted by having a computer system that picks the winning numbers using a Random Number Generator, or "RNG". Players generally dislike the fact that it is impossible for a human to witness the drawing taking place, since it just consists of software running inside a computer.
Worse, computerized drawings have been at the heart of several instances of drawing errors that have gone unchecked sometimes for months at a time. They were also used to rig a Hot Lotto drawing. (See MUSL security worker who rigged drawing gets 10 years, Lottery Post, Sept. 9, 2015.)
Illinois lottery players should buy their tickets now, because real drawings won't last much longer. The dreaded new drawings will begin on Oct. 1. Computerized drawings will be used across the board, for Pick 3, Pick 4, Lotto with Extra Shot, and Lucky Day Lotto.
Illinois Lottery officials call the move to computerized drawings "exciting".
"For over 25 years, WGN-TV has been the television home of the Illinois Lottery," said B.R. Lane, Acting Director of the Illinois Lottery, in a statement. "While we have been proud to partner with WGN over the years, the new digital draw system will allow us to open an exciting new chapter in Illinois Lottery history, on behalf of our players."
For their part, WGN officials were gracious about the Illinois Lottery move.
"The Illinois Lottery has been a great partner with us over the years," said Greg Easterly, President and General Manager, WGN-TV. "They have decided to take their live lottery drawings in a different direction and we understand their changing business needs. We value and appreciate the long term relationship we have enjoyed with the Illinois Lottery."
The new "digital draw system" will utilize a Random Number Generator, or RNG, to select winning numbers. RNG systems are currently used by the Illinois Lottery for "quick picks" at retail locations, as well as to select winning numbers for raffle games.
Lottery Post has long railed against computerized drawings, and has warned about the possible dangers of computerized drawings since 2004. The rigging of the $16 million Hot Lotto drawing in 2011 occurred in the exact manner that Lottery Post described in its prescient warning.
More information regarding the digital draw system can be found at www.illinoislottery.com/dailydrawings.
Players who wish to voice their opinions to the Illinois Lottery can do so by sending them an e-mail at: LotteryInfo@NorthstarLottery.net.