Maryland Lottery to switch to computerized drawings

Dec 12, 2022, 12:08 pm (51 comments)

Maryland Lottery

Lottery to leave behind traditional ball drawings in favor of "embracing the future"

By Kate Northrop

The Maryland Lottery announced today that it has plans to switch its draw methods from traditional lottery ball drawing machines to digital computerized drawings.

Next week, the Maryland Lottery will officially retire the ball drawing machines and switch over to a random number generator (RNG) to conduct its in-state games.

"Lottery balls and machines have been part of the Maryland Lottery's history, but it's important for us to modernize as we look forward to the next 50 years and beyond," Maryland Lottery Director John Martin said in a press release. "More than 30 other lotteries in the U.S. and Canada have shifted to RNG systems because they are efficient, cost-effective — and most importantly they are extremely secure."

The change will go into effect on Mon., Dec. 19. From that point on, all five in-state games — Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, Bonus Match 5, and Multi-Match — will be conducted using an RNG computer system.

Other Maryland Lottery games have been drawn digitally in the past, according to the Lottery, such as Racetrax and Keno, the Lottery's second- and third-highest selling draw games in 2022.

Smartplay International Lottery Systems, a company based in New Jersey, created the RNG system that the Lottery will use to conduct its drawings from now on.

The Lottery also went into detail about the "stringent measures" in place to protect the integrity of the drawings.

"The Smartplay RNG system is not connected to the internet and cannot be accessed remotely," the Lottery explained. "The system is housed in a secure room that is double-locked and under 24-7 video surveillance. Two drawing officials with separate electronic access cards must be present in order to open the door to the room. The Smartplay cabinet is also double-locked and cannot be opened without two drawing officials each using separate keys. In addition, the vital hardware and software are sealed within the cabinet, and the system is rendered inoperable if the seal is broken."

Smartplay currently works with multiple state lotteries in the U.S. as well as other international lotteries and lottery-related organizations across the world. Gaming Laboratories International completed testing and validation on the Smartplay RNG.

Martin assured that nothing about the games will change, and that players can expect the same odds, prize structures, and schedule for each in-state game.

"From our players' perspective, nothing in the way the games are played is changing," Martin said. "We still have the same games with the same prize structures, drawn at the same times each day. And as always, the outcomes are purely the result of random chance."

Beginning Dec. 19, players will no longer be able to watch a televised live drawing, rather an animated drawing, similar to the one used for Keno, will take its place.

Multi-state games offered in Maryland will not be affected by the change, and each will continue using numbered balls and mechanical drawing machines. Cash4Life is drawn in new Jersey, Mega Millions in Georgia, and Powerball in Florida.

If you know Lottery Post, you know we have vehemently opposed computerized drawings and strongly advocate for traditional ball drawing methods for many years. To see why, you can check out our video on the subject.

More than 18 years ago Lottery Post sounded the alarm on computerized drawings, and published a petition that generated thousands of signatures, and is still available today.

Hundreds of news stories have been published over the years at Lottery Post documenting countless errors and lottery tickets with no chance of winning, directly attributable to computerized drawings. Not to mention the biggest scandal in worldwide lottery history was an insider at the Multi-State Lottery Association who rigged multiple computerized drawings and stole millions of dollars in prize money.

Lottery Post maintains an up-to-date Lottery Drawings Report Card that ranks every lottery we cover in terms of the quality of drawings carried out in the state. The higher the percentage of real lottery ball drawings a lottery conducts, the better their grade.

Lottery Post Staff


sully16's avatarsully16

Well , not good Maryland , not good.😡

HUN RockMan

Ouch, not sounds good.

Clarkejoseph49's avatarClarkejoseph49

Oh, Jesus Christ. 🤦🏻‍♂️


Modernization my butt.   More like let's screw the players.   Let Tipton go work there, he'll bypass all that rigorous security like cutting butter with a hot knife.

'Not connected to the Internet'...I firmly believe, as I'm confident most LP members can affirm that the computer knows that 123 was played, so it conveniently won't come in with the RNG. 

Vote with your wallet folks!

Think's avatarThink

"...shifted to RNG systems because they are efficient, cost-effective — and most importantly they are extremely secure." 


"cost-effective"  Meaning fewer wins!  Don't pay attention to the blibidy blabbidy blah blah blah just watch the number of awarded big prizes plummet compared to when the games were ball drawn.

The fewer number of big prizes over time will definitely be noticed by those who pay attention.

cottoneyedjoe's avatarcottoneyedjoe

How much money does this actually save? Couldn't find any docs on the MD lottery site.

Common to both methods is the overhead cost of security, and that's probably a lot. The cost of televising the ball drawing is a lot more than producing the cheap animation for the computer RNG. The total costs of devices needed for balls vs computers are probably very similar. So all in all the ball drawings probably cost more, but not by a huge margin. My best guess is that the biggest savings would come from ceasing to televise the drawings, not changing the method of drawing.


I never believed the video they show the public were actually current anyways so no difference in a machine.

Tony Numbers's avatarTony Numbers

Players want to see the ping pong balls bounce around. We want to identify the obvious / inherent biases that exist. That can't happen with RNG. Public perception will change. But based on the number of players who flock to the RNG quick draw/keno game, they will eventually comply with this nonsense.


It's sort of like 6:5 Blackjack with no surrender.  People still play it because they're not smart enough to realize the odds have increased over 400% to the favor of the house.  And, the younger generation isn't familiar with the original rules of Blackjack, so it's easier to change the rules without much protest.


Quote: Originally posted by Tony Numbers on Dec 12, 2022

Players want to see the ping pong balls bounce around. We want to identify the obvious / inherent biases that exist. That can't happen with RNG. Public perception will change. But based on the number of players who flock to the RNG quick draw/keno game, they will eventually comply with this nonsense.

Not defending RNG....but with Keno here it has to be that way.  They draw #'s here every four minutes from 0500 to approximately 0156 DAILY.   There is no way nor cost effective this could be done any other way.  Only did OK on it once when it first started and now just don't bother.


Wouldn't it be great if these State lotteries made it a habit of asking the players their opinions on changing games from the ball drop to RNG?

At the very least they could say: Based on the feedback those in favor of this outweigh those in favor of that. It may be BS, but at the very least make an attempt to" put players first." This is more like abandoning the needle & going for the guillotine.

grwurston's avatargrwurston

HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE move!! The Md lottery has been using ball drawings since since July 1976, and now they're worried about costs and efficiency? Gimme a break!! All Md players (and others) need to contact them and let them know what a bad move this is. Make sure to reference Eddie Tipton and other lottery computer "glitches." Do an LP search for links.

Litebets27's avatarLitebets27

Just read about this on the Maryland Lottery website. So bad in so many ways.

Many of the older players whom I have met in the lottery lines depend on the televised lottery pulls. If they miss it they come to the store and ask, "what happened to the lottery today, did they show it?"

I also believe, the computer will now have the cumulative information of which numbers have been played and then avoid adding the most commonly played numbers to the random poll the computer will then spit out.

I may be paranoid about this but, I don't trust the Maryland State Lottery. It's a money grab, and I don't trust them.

Goteki54's avatarGoteki54

The Maryland Lottery slogan is "Let yourself Play"


Well, I'm going to have to wait and see before I continue.🥺


I'm just not buying the "efficiency" excuse, because how do we know that switching to a RNG will be more "efficient", when we don't know the operating expense of the Maryland Lottery as it pertain to the air machine now? Basically, they can tell us anything. I guess they can care less about hearing the input from players, nah that would be too much like right. The Maryland Lottery can't risk getting questions from players that their B.S press release won't be able to dance around.🙄

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