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The transformation of Lucky for Life into a computerized daily drawing

Jul 28, 2021, 2:12 pm

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Lucky for LifeLucky for Life: The transformation of Lucky for Life into a computerized daily drawingRating:

How the popular multi-state game evolved

By Kate Northrop 

In April, state lotteries participating in the popular multi-state Lucky for Life lottery game announced that the game would be moving from bi-weekly drawings to a once-daily draw format.

Now that the changeover has officially transpired since last Monday, Jul. 19, Lottery Post took a closer look at how and why the game offering players the opportunity to wi­n $1,000 a day for life evolved as a whole.

For a little over a week now, Lucky for Life players have been getting a taste of the new daily draw format. Some may view the decision to increase the number of drawings with disdain, now having to purchase more multi-draws to "keep up" with the drawings, while others may feel pleased with more frequent opportunities to win a lifetime prize.

Regardless, changing over to daily drawings was a process long in the making, modeled after the same change that Cash4Life underwent in 2019.

Greg Smith, the Executive Director of the Connecticut Lottery and spokesperson for the Lucky for Life Game Group, said that there were a number of considerations preceding the decision, the first of which was to explore changes to the game that might stimulate sales.

"We decided to go to daily drawings after having talked with the Cash4Life Game Group members and reviewed their sales growth success from them going from a bi-weekly drawing to a daily drawing," Smith told Lottery Post. "Their change started two years ago, so we started looking at that for at least the first year. That was step one of making the decision to go to daily drawings."

 The next step in the process, Smith explained, was coming up with what needed to be done to implement a changeover to daily drawings.

"We had to look at the effort that was going to be required and the related contracts at cost needed to keep it 'like kind,' or exactly the same, as the bi-weekly," Smith elaborated.

One option to meet these goals was to continue to have the Connecticut Lottery conduct the drawings at their studio location, which is where the Lucky for Life drawings physically took place before they went daily. Another possibility was having a different state take over and conduct them.

Ultimately, the members of the Lucky for Life game unanimously voted on appointing MUSL as the game group administrator, which meant that they would conduct the drawings. Currently there are 23 state lotteries in the game group.

With the decision to appoint MUSL as the drawing operator, however, that meant other changes to the game as well.

The Lucky for Life Game Group voted to use digital drawings over continuing with traditional mechanical ball drawing machines, but players were unaware of the fact in stark contrast to how the changeover to daily drawings was widely publicized.

Smith indicated that MUSL's Digital Drawing System (DDS) — which is how the lotteries refer to computerized drawings that use a random number generator (RNG) to generate the winning numbers — were more profitable for the states than a traditional lottery ball drawing.

In a follow-up, Lottery Post inquired about the analysis that was conducted prior to the decision to switch over to digital drawings, to determine the exact cost difference between the digital draw system and the previous lottery ball drawings.

"There was a combination of resources, method for displaying of draw results, and cost of every aspect of game operation going from bi-weekly to daily that were taken into consideration," Smith said in his response. "The ball machine and DDS were already in existence, so their cost was not a factor."

Since daily drawings began, numerous players had reached out to Lottery Post wondering whether the game was still drawn mechanically. One member said it took several email exchanges with the Massachusetts Lottery to finally confirm that the game had indeed switched to digital drawings. Other players scrutinized the new drawing video format, viewable on the Lucky for Life YouTube channel. Some voiced their concerns about the change, which now shows numbers appearing on a screen as opposed to a classic drawing video featuring a host and ball drawing machines.

Now that MUSL performs the drawing services for Lucky for Life, the drawings no longer take place at the Connecticut Lottery's studio and are now conducted at MUSL offices in Iowa.

"We know that change in methods can catch some players' attention and maybe raise some concerns, and yet, the idea of the increase that we are seeing right now, still early in the change process, has been good so far," Smith related. "We hope that players will recognize that the digital draw systems are used in the U.S. lottery industry across many states every day, and so they are reliable, they are certified... performing the draws successfully and properly. This game group is now changed over to those, and we look forward to continued good results."

Lottery Post Staff

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15 comments. Last comment 2 months ago by GiveFive.
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New Member
Cambridge, MA
United States
Member #216555
July 21, 2021
1 Posts
Offline

Thanks, Todd for following up on this story.  It's helpful to see the thinking behind this change in how they draw the number.  Still don't like it.  There's something to watching the numbers drawn by a machines that reminds me too much of Frank Tipton and Hot Lotto.  I play less number sets now with the switch to daily, but I'm still playing.

    Avatar
    Gallatin Tennesee
    United States
    Member #194096
    November 29, 2018
    83 Posts
    Offline

    So now they are saying that the Digital Drawing System(DDS) is more profitable for the states than the traditional system of the big clear drawing ball complete with a smiling, perky host. Well it may be more profitable for the states but the problem is everyone sees how the traditional drawing ball system works, we accept it win or lose. Is the digital system more reliable? What is more profitable for the states is not always what's best for the players.

      Avatar
      Simpsonville
      United States
      Member #163182
      January 22, 2015
      2687 Posts
      Offline

      Thank you so much for posting this Todd.   I will never play L4L again.    I get that it is labor intensive to have mechanical drawings with weighing each ball before each drawing to make sure they are within the specified nanogram allowance (might have my Metric wrong on this).   But the bottom line is folks like the mechanical balls not some predetermined winner/non winner.    Good riddance L4L and hope we get rid of it here in Kentucky.

        JAMORA's avatar - ladyclover
        NC
        United States
        Member #164391
        February 28, 2015
        3802 Posts
        Offline

        The fact that they didn't disclose the change from mechanical balls to computer drawing at the time of the change has left a bad taste in my mouth.

        I, too, am done with this game.

        "Don't waste time, it's the stuff life's made of..."

        VTs are like looking for a sewing kit in a haystack as opposed to looking for the needle.

          Avatar
          New Member

          United States
          Member #205572
          April 3, 2020
          14 Posts
          Offline

          The fact that Lucky for Life was not transparent when they went to a so-called "random" computer drawing let all of us players know that they were trying to pull a fast one and hope that no one would notice or publicize. Bravo to Lottery Post for doing the legwork and bringing this issue out to the forefront. The reason that the computer drawing are probably more profitable could also be because there are obvious ways to program the software that does not allow for unexpected large payouts since the computer that draws the numbers also is usually the same system that tallies the sales on all number combinations.

          I travel up and down the East Coast and love to play the daily Pick 3 and Pick 4, but I do not play in Delaware or D.C., both of which use computer drawings. I heard that New Jersey is getting a computer drawing system, supposedly as a back-up, but if I they go to computer drawing I won't play there either anymore. I love seeing the live drawing for myself on line or on television, which seem to be more transparent and fair for all of us players. Again, thank you Lottery Post for great journalism.

            JAMORA's avatar - ladyclover
            NC
            United States
            Member #164391
            February 28, 2015
            3802 Posts
            Offline

            The fact that Lucky for Life was not transparent when they went to a so-called "random" computer drawing let all of us players know that they were trying to pull a fast one and hope that no one would notice or publicize. Bravo to Lottery Post for doing the legwork and bringing this issue out to the forefront. The reason that the computer drawing are probably more profitable could also be because there are obvious ways to program the software that does not allow for unexpected large payouts since the computer that draws the numbers also is usually the same system that tallies the sales on all number combinations.

            I travel up and down the East Coast and love to play the daily Pick 3 and Pick 4, but I do not play in Delaware or D.C., both of which use computer drawings. I heard that New Jersey is getting a computer drawing system, supposedly as a back-up, but if I they go to computer drawing I won't play there either anymore. I love seeing the live drawing for myself on line or on television, which seem to be more transparent and fair for all of us players. Again, thank you Lottery Post for great journalism.

            I Agree!

            "Don't waste time, it's the stuff life's made of..."

            VTs are like looking for a sewing kit in a haystack as opposed to looking for the needle.

              Raven62's avatar - binary
              25
              New Jersey
              United States
              Member #17842
              June 28, 2005
              145574 Posts
              Offline

              It would seem that Lottery Players are losing the battle against Computerized Lottery Drawings.

              It leaves them wondering if Drawings are really Random:

              https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/investigations/2019/01/31/united-states-lottery-numbers-broken-system-identical-drawings-controversy/1863102002/

              A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions!

              Catch-22: A dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.

              Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges: When the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerous.

                Avatar
                Simpsonville
                United States
                Member #163182
                January 22, 2015
                2687 Posts
                Offline

                The fact that Lucky for Life was not transparent when they went to a so-called "random" computer drawing let all of us players know that they were trying to pull a fast one and hope that no one would notice or publicize. Bravo to Lottery Post for doing the legwork and bringing this issue out to the forefront. The reason that the computer drawing are probably more profitable could also be because there are obvious ways to program the software that does not allow for unexpected large payouts since the computer that draws the numbers also is usually the same system that tallies the sales on all number combinations.

                I travel up and down the East Coast and love to play the daily Pick 3 and Pick 4, but I do not play in Delaware or D.C., both of which use computer drawings. I heard that New Jersey is getting a computer drawing system, supposedly as a back-up, but if I they go to computer drawing I won't play there either anymore. I love seeing the live drawing for myself on line or on television, which seem to be more transparent and fair for all of us players. Again, thank you Lottery Post for great journalism.

                I Agree!...And when Powerball and or Mega millions switches to RNG playing from me goes to maybe once/month.

                  Avatar
                  * In hot pursuit of $ *
                  White Shores- California
                  United States
                  Member #136471
                  December 12, 2012
                  6721 Posts
                  Offline

                  I Agree!...And when Powerball and or Mega millions switches to RNG playing from me goes to maybe once/month.

                  *  If PB & MM went the RNG route Jeff, it would die on the vine as it should!

                  • Serious lottery players are not going to settle for that & l think you'll see a serious pushback. All you need is for another Eddie Tipton security chief to be caught down the line & the games will implode.
                  • *Why risk it?

                   * Voice of Reason *   

                  * The Truth Hurts *

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

                    Avatar
                    Kentucky
                    United States
                    Member #32651
                    February 14, 2006
                    9231 Posts
                    Offline

                    Has anyone added up the cost to play each of their state lottery drawn games every day for just one week?

                    The Kentucky Lottery offers seven daily games and the minimum bet for straight/box pick-3 and pick-4 is $1 so add $28 to the weekly total and another $7 for Cash Ball and $14 for Five Card Cash. Then there is the $2 a ticket Lucky for life at $14 a week for each and with MM is drawn twice a week and PB now three times a week add another $10 a week. . 

                    If the math is correct that's a minimum $59 a week if you want daily action on each game. 

                    According the annual financial report over 65% of ticket sales are scratch-offs, Keno, online instant games, Fast Play, and Cash Pop. It looks like more money is spent on games where the results are known in no more than 4 minutes.

                    I'm pretty sure the idea is to offer players a variety of both drawn and instant outcome games. If you don't like a particular game because of odds, payoffs, how it's drawn or whatever, nobody is forcing you to play it.

                    It's not my fault! I voted for Amy.

                      Avatar
                      Simpsonville
                      United States
                      Member #163182
                      January 22, 2015
                      2687 Posts
                      Offline

                      Has anyone added up the cost to play each of their state lottery drawn games every day for just one week?

                      The Kentucky Lottery offers seven daily games and the minimum bet for straight/box pick-3 and pick-4 is $1 so add $28 to the weekly total and another $7 for Cash Ball and $14 for Five Card Cash. Then there is the $2 a ticket Lucky for life at $14 a week for each and with MM is drawn twice a week and PB now three times a week add another $10 a week. . 

                      If the math is correct that's a minimum $59 a week if you want daily action on each game. 

                      According the annual financial report over 65% of ticket sales are scratch-offs, Keno, online instant games, Fast Play, and Cash Pop. It looks like more money is spent on games where the results are known in no more than 4 minutes.

                      I'm pretty sure the idea is to offer players a variety of both drawn and instant outcome games. If you don't like a particular game because of odds, payoffs, how it's drawn or whatever, nobody is forcing you to play it.

                      Cash Poop (POP) as I call it has to the worst of the worse from KLC.  Like you said don't like it, don't play and I don't.   Way too many ZERO payouts.

                      I had suggested that CB 225 increase to $2 each with Progressive Jackpots starting @ $225K...it got sent to the appropriate dept for review.

                        Avatar

                        United States
                        Member #205224
                        March 19, 2020
                        40 Posts
                        Offline

                        It costs next to nothing to use a mechanical ball drop machine.  The REAL REASON they go with digital RNG is it is easier to rig the drawings and cheat the players.  Instances of cheating in state lotteries by computer RNG have been publicized several times in the press. 

                        I will not play.

                          Avatar
                          Maryland
                          United States
                          Member #162427
                          January 2, 2015
                          2599 Posts
                          Offline

                          Interesting patterns happening with this since changing to computer! 

                          Money WON is twice as good as money earned Thumbs Up

                            GiveFive's avatar - Lottery-026.jpg
                            Florida - West Coast
                            United States
                            Member #92605
                            June 10, 2010
                            5187 Posts
                            Offline

                            In multiple states Pick 5 games a set of five winning numbers has been drawn twice.  Connecticut's Cash 5 has had three sets of five winning numbers drawn three times. I'm not sure whether or not all of the states Pick 5 games are using a mechanical ball and drum, or if they use an automated RNG, and the matrix for each states game varies. Some states use a 5/36 matrix while others have 5/35 and still others have a 5/39 matrix.

                            For instance Florida Fantasy5 (5/36) has had 59 sets of five duplicate winning numbers. Massachusetts Mass cash (5/35) has drawn a duplicate set of five numbers a total of 59 times. Mass Cash has also seen one set of winning numbers be drawn three times. (4-10-24-25-27 has been drawn three times. Once on 4/7/2013, again on 1/22/2014 and for a third time on 7/24/2015)  New York's Take5 (5/39 and drawn twice daily) has seen at least 54 sets of five duplicate winning numbers drawn. 

                            Given that the article talks about duplicate sets of numbers drawn by a RNG across multiple states, I'm willing to bet that a duplicate set of five winning numbers has been drawn in two or more states.  That doesn't strike me as being all that unusual.  What does strike me as being strange would be if one of the sets that was drawn twice (or three times) in one state was also drawn once in another state(s) Pick 5 game.

                            I've no automated way of comparing various states Pick 5 games to see if any set of five winning numbers has been drawn in two or more states. Nor do I have a computer program that could determine if any of the duplicated sets drawn in one state were also drawn in another state as well. It sure would be nice to have software that could do that and to see the output it might yeild. 

                            Wouldn't it be unbelievable if a set of five winning numbers was drawn twice in Florida, and that same set of five numbers was drawn twice in Connecticut? I doubt that's ever happened, but this is the lottery I'm writing about, so who really knows??? G5

                            Players who've won large lottery jackpots have something in common. Many of them say "I've played the lottery for years, but I never won anything but small prizes."   That's normal or typical, but it's also why you should not get discouraged and stop playing.  Who knows?  Maybe someday you'll say "I've played the lottery for years...."