Welcome Guest
Log In | Register )
You last visited December 3, 2016, 10:44 am
All times shown are
Eastern Time (GMT-5:00)

At least two charged in scheme to manipulate Connecticut Lottery game

Connecticut LotteryConnecticut Lottery: At least two charged in scheme to manipulate Connecticut Lottery game
51
Rating:

5 Card Cash has been offline since Nov. 2015

HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut Lottery retailers in Canton and Hartford face larceny and computer crime charges after authorities say they illegally manipulated the 5 Card Cash lottery game to produce more winning tickets.

Vikas Patel, 32, of Windsor Avenue, Windsor, and Pravnav Patel, 32, of Revere Drive, Bloomfield, each face three felony counts of first-degree larceny, first-degree computer crimes and rigging a game. Both posted $25,000 bail and are scheduled to be arraigned Monday at Superior Court in Hartford.

Several more lottery dealers are expected to face charges.

The 5 Card Cash game was suspended November after Connecticut Lottery and state Department of Consumer Protection officials noticed there were more winning tickets than then game's parameters should have allowed.

An investigation determined that some lottery retailers were manipulating lottery machines to print more instant winner tickets and fewer losers.

5 Card CashAt Hartford Liquor at 212 Capen St. in Hartford, authorities determined that in one sample 67 percent of the 5 Card Cash tickets were instant winners. In a second sample, 58 percent were winners. In a control group of retailers, 24 percent of tickets sold were instant winners. Hartford Liquor owner Vikas Patel denied manipulating the machine. Most of the winning tickets were cashed at his store, but more than 400 were cashed at a lottery retailer near his home.

At Center Spirit Shoppe at 32 Bridge St. in the Collinsville section of Canton, investigators determined that 76 percent of the 5 Card Cash tickets sold in one sample were instant winners. In the second, 59 percent were winners. Store owner Pravnav Patel denied manipulating the lottery machine, according to the warrant for his arrest, but was identified as the person cashing the bulk of the winning tickets at other lottery retailers.

According to the arrest warrants, an investigator for the Connecticut Lottery determined that terminal operators could slow down their lottery machines by requesting a number of database reports or by entering several requests for lottery game tickets. While those reports were being processed, the operator could enter sales for 5 Card Cash tickets. Before the tickets would print, however, the operator could see on a screen if the tickets were instant winners. If tickets were not winners, the operator could cancel the sale before the tickets printed.

The 5 Card Cash game remains suspended.

Hartford Courant

We'd love to see your comments here!  Register for a FREE membership — it takes just a few moments — and you'll be able to post comments here and on any of our forums. If you're already a member, you can Log In to post a comment.

38 comments. Last comment 8 months ago by Stack47.
Page 1 of 3
noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
Bay Area - California
United States
Member #136477
December 12, 2012
4102 Posts
Offline
Posted: March 22, 2016, 9:58 am - IP Logged

Looks like Vikas & Pravnav Smith are in hot water.

People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

    musiqgurl40's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
    Connecticut
    United States
    Member #139104
    February 14, 2013
    3442 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: March 22, 2016, 10:06 am - IP Logged

    Wow thats crazy I buy from that store

      sully16's avatar - sharan
      Ringleader
      Michigan
      United States
      Member #81740
      October 28, 2009
      40293 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: March 22, 2016, 11:05 am - IP Logged

      Patel, Thudneed I say more.

      Did you exchange a walk on part in the war ?

      For a lead role in a cage?

       

                                                  From Pink Floyd's " Wish you were here"

        spartan1707's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
        Tucson
        United States
        Member #119762
        December 2, 2011
        81 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: March 22, 2016, 11:35 am - IP Logged

        LOL....They even tell you the game is rig to not produce a winning ticket!!! To fool people just place it in their face they won't notice it. All computer drawings are rig period. It picks from the lowest picked numbers. This ensures high returns and more games for suckers too play.

          lejardin's avatar - Lottery-014.jpg

          United States
          Member #118609
          November 4, 2011
          931 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: March 22, 2016, 11:47 am - IP Logged

          Patel, Thudneed I say more.

          Bingo!

            Avatar
            Simpsonville
            United States
            Member #163189
            January 22, 2015
            667 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: March 22, 2016, 12:16 pm - IP Logged

            LOL....They even tell you the game is rig to not produce a winning ticket!!! To fool people just place it in their face they won't notice it. All computer drawings are rig period. It picks from the lowest picked numbers. This ensures high returns and more games for suckers too play.

            I think you meant to say rigged.   Patel's again...

              Avatar
              Wyomissing, PA
              United States
              Member #161050
              November 15, 2014
              301 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: March 22, 2016, 12:41 pm - IP Logged

              While the sales process was flawed, the bigger issue is the ability of lottery machine operators to buy tickets from their own retail location. That should not be permitted. While that wouldn't necessarily prevented this situation, it would have raised the bar somewhat.

              Retailers have detailed information that the public at-large doesn't have. For example, in PA, a retailer can know whether 90% of lower tier winners have been redeemed out of an instant ticket pack. From my limited understanding, will show up as auto-settled on the retailer's report. While such knowledge is of limited value, it could, in theory, be gamed on high denomination packs ($20 and up) to determine whether few tickets have a better than normal probability of a winner...

              20 tickets in a PA $30 pack. 90% of 20 is 18. Statistically expected number of winners is ~7. If 90% of lower tier prizes still not redeemed by 18th ticket, then there's a roughly 50/50 chance of the next ticket being a winner. That's better than the typical 1 in ~3 odds. Or if the retailer doesn't want to risk anything, wait until the 19th ticket. If still not 90%, the last ticket is a near sure thing. For lower denominations, this isn't even worth the retailer's time, but for the possibility of winning $10+ ($40 is the minimum non-break-even prize for PA $30 tickets) it's worth gaming.

              With all that said, I could be mistaken, and perhaps the 90% auto-settle threshold doesn't work the way I believe it does. Sure, someone here with more knowledge can chime in whether this is exploitable. Regardless, point is lottery retailers have information that the general public doesn't, and hence have an unfair advantage.

              On a different, but related thought to this story, there are many instances of lottery games, despite all the testing, going live with obvious flaws. Among the most notable was the original Texas All or Nothing game that had no prize cap. I noticed that flaw immediately, but it wasn't until a close call many months after the game had gone live, Texas lottery officials took note of the serious issue. Texas pulled the game and reworked it with new play tickets that lacked pre-selected choices (ie. no more 1st 12, last 12, all even, all odd), strongly tout using quick-pick, and added a relatively low prize cap. Texas Lottery dodged a bullet, because they could have potentially lost upwards of a 1/4 Billion (not a typo, yes really that much!) if a popular combination had hit.

                Avatar
                Massachusetts
                United States
                Member #78798
                August 21, 2009
                336 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: March 22, 2016, 1:05 pm - IP Logged

                LOL at people doing these lottery crimes always most likely having the name Patel

                  haymaker's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
                  Egg Harbor twp.south Jersey shore
                  United States
                  Member #112968
                  June 29, 2011
                  3854 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: March 22, 2016, 1:46 pm - IP Logged

                  Wow thats crazy I buy from that store

                  Don't you mean you used to buy from that store ?

                  Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds    -- Charles Mackay  LL.D.

                    Avatar
                    NY
                    United States
                    Member #23835
                    October 16, 2005
                    3474 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: March 22, 2016, 2:38 pm - IP Logged

                    "Looks like Vikas & Pravnav Smith are in hot water."

                    I'm sure the lottery can revoke their ability to sell lottery tickets, but what crime did they commit?

                    They took advantage of a flaw in the system to cancel tickets that were losers. Did the state legislature actually write a law making that illegal? I'm going to take a leap of faith and assume that the lottery didn't even think it was possible to find out whether a ticket was a winner or loser before it was issued.

                    They didn't cancel the tickets that they knew were winners. I'm not sure how you'd make that illegal even if you wanted to.

                    There may be a law prohibiting "manipulating a lottery machine", but I'm not seeing the manipulation. They took advantage of the system to slow transactions, but they didn't do anything to make the machine do something it didn't do by design.  They very definitely didn't manipulate anything to influence the tickets that were generated by the central computer - they just decided which of those tickets to accept. As I see it authorities are claiming it's a crime because of the result, rather than because of the action, though I am open to arguments on this point.

                    Did they violate their contract as retailers? I'd figure there's a pretty good chance they did, bur breach of contract is a civil matter. Did they do something unethical? I think that's a matter of opinion. They took advantage of the system to gain an advantage. How is that different than a handful of people doing that in the MA game that rolled jackpot money into smaller prizes? How it it different than using a system to predict numbers you think will be drawn?

                    Either way, the take away is that it's really stupid to design a system where the terminal announces that a ticket is a winner without requiring that the ticket be scanned. I don't think you need to be an expert on lottery security to figure that one out.

                      Groppo's avatar - cat anm.gif

                      United States
                      Member #162631
                      January 7, 2015
                      502 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: March 22, 2016, 2:42 pm - IP Logged

                      Why can't people - ALL PEOPLE - move away from doing this kind of nonsense?

                      It's bad, and I hate it. It's dishonest, and I'm totally against it.

                      Why do these morons even try?

                      TO ALL THOSE MORONS:

                      Stop ripping off this and that, you won't get away with it.  The lotto system in place has an incredibly large lobby, and therefore significant security.  Eventually, you will be caught and SORRY. You will be made to pay!

                      You'll find yourself sitting in your jail cell and all the time your there, you'll be thinking:

                      "Man, wha I do dat? My momma raise me betta. I even knowd betta. But I hook up wif dis ovva dude, and he say it was aw'ight, and so I go wif him."    "now, what's I gwinta teo da Judge?"

                      • Don't chase the numbers you play.
                      • Play only numbers you've already played, plus however many random picks.
                      • But, ALWAYS the regular numbers you play.  This will make you a winner, not a chaser.
                                (so far, though, I've yet to win any significant lotto prize)
                        noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
                        Bay Area - California
                        United States
                        Member #136477
                        December 12, 2012
                        4102 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: March 22, 2016, 2:59 pm - IP Logged

                        "Looks like Vikas & Pravnav Smith are in hot water."

                        I'm sure the lottery can revoke their ability to sell lottery tickets, but what crime did they commit?

                        They took advantage of a flaw in the system to cancel tickets that were losers. Did the state legislature actually write a law making that illegal? I'm going to take a leap of faith and assume that the lottery didn't even think it was possible to find out whether a ticket was a winner or loser before it was issued.

                        They didn't cancel the tickets that they knew were winners. I'm not sure how you'd make that illegal even if you wanted to.

                        There may be a law prohibiting "manipulating a lottery machine", but I'm not seeing the manipulation. They took advantage of the system to slow transactions, but they didn't do anything to make the machine do something it didn't do by design.  They very definitely didn't manipulate anything to influence the tickets that were generated by the central computer - they just decided which of those tickets to accept. As I see it authorities are claiming it's a crime because of the result, rather than because of the action, though I am open to arguments on this point.

                        Did they violate their contract as retailers? I'd figure there's a pretty good chance they did, bur breach of contract is a civil matter. Did they do something unethical? I think that's a matter of opinion. They took advantage of the system to gain an advantage. How is that different than a handful of people doing that in the MA game that rolled jackpot money into smaller prizes? How it it different than using a system to predict numbers you think will be drawn?

                        Either way, the take away is that it's really stupid to design a system where the terminal announces that a ticket is a winner without requiring that the ticket be scanned. I don't think you need to be an expert on lottery security to figure that one out.

                        Mr Floyd- The movie "Hunt for Red October" was on the other night in this neck of the woods and there is a scene where the Admiral tells Ryan " The Russians don't take a dump unless they have a plan" in other words, Connery has to convince the crew that they have to get off the sub voluntarily. .and he does. Point being - the authorities are not going after these Patels unless they know they did something that is not permitted by the lottery rules. Just because you don't see it- does not mean it does not exist.

                        As they say: Stay tuned. 

                        People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

                          Nikkicute's avatar - nnjx1k
                          Wisconsin
                          United States
                          Member #123290
                          February 17, 2012
                          3048 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: March 22, 2016, 4:56 pm - IP Logged

                          Patel, Thudneed I say more.

                          Roll Eyes It's just a common last name among Indians, nothing more.

                            Avatar
                            Kentucky
                            United States
                            Member #32652
                            February 14, 2006
                            7295 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: March 22, 2016, 5:18 pm - IP Logged

                            "Looks like Vikas & Pravnav Smith are in hot water."

                            I'm sure the lottery can revoke their ability to sell lottery tickets, but what crime did they commit?

                            They took advantage of a flaw in the system to cancel tickets that were losers. Did the state legislature actually write a law making that illegal? I'm going to take a leap of faith and assume that the lottery didn't even think it was possible to find out whether a ticket was a winner or loser before it was issued.

                            They didn't cancel the tickets that they knew were winners. I'm not sure how you'd make that illegal even if you wanted to.

                            There may be a law prohibiting "manipulating a lottery machine", but I'm not seeing the manipulation. They took advantage of the system to slow transactions, but they didn't do anything to make the machine do something it didn't do by design.  They very definitely didn't manipulate anything to influence the tickets that were generated by the central computer - they just decided which of those tickets to accept. As I see it authorities are claiming it's a crime because of the result, rather than because of the action, though I am open to arguments on this point.

                            Did they violate their contract as retailers? I'd figure there's a pretty good chance they did, bur breach of contract is a civil matter. Did they do something unethical? I think that's a matter of opinion. They took advantage of the system to gain an advantage. How is that different than a handful of people doing that in the MA game that rolled jackpot money into smaller prizes? How it it different than using a system to predict numbers you think will be drawn?

                            Either way, the take away is that it's really stupid to design a system where the terminal announces that a ticket is a winner without requiring that the ticket be scanned. I don't think you need to be an expert on lottery security to figure that one out.

                            "I'm sure the lottery can revoke their ability to sell lottery tickets, but what crime did they commit?"

                            They were charged with "three felony counts of first-degree larceny, first-degree computer crimes and rigging a game." and possibly changed with inciting some LP members to make bigoted comments.

                            Hiding Behind Computer