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From the Arizona Lottery Site...

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United States
Member #52803
June 10, 2007
88 Posts
Posted: August 18, 2007, 11:19 pm - IP Logged

The following is from the FAQ section of the Arizona Lottery Site.  Tell me what you think.


Drawing Information

Q: What types of future capabilities does this system offer?
A:The digital drawing system technology will eventually enable us to distribute the winning numbers in an animated package to a statewide audience. Beginning May 2, the animation package can be seen at approximately 10:25 p.m. during the KPNX-TV Channel 12 newscast.
Q: Why didn’t you just replace the old machines with new ones?
A:The decision was based on cost effectiveness and improved technological capabilities. The Lottery purchased three Origin™ System machines for a total of $70,000. It would have cost nearly $100,000 to replace the two drawing ball machines – the one used for The Pick and Fantasy 5 and the one used for Pick 3. The costs for replacing the ball sets would have been in excess of $28,000 ($2,000 to $3,000 per set for four sets of Fantasy 5 and The Pick balls and five sets for Pick 3). In addition, the Lottery would have continued to fund costs for ongoing maintenance of the mechanical drawing ball machines and the ball sets, as well as personnel required to manage the mechanical drawings that were conducted at Channel 12, where the machines were housed. The decision to move to a digital draw system wasn’t made in haste. We sought counsel and ideas from other state lotteries, conducted research regarding the drawing process of online games and surveyed our players. Overall, people supported a change to a digital draw after they learned about future opportunities for communicating the winning numbers, its cost-effectiveness and its security and integrity.
Q: How will the new system affect game odds?
A:It has no effect on the odds.
Q: How much will it cost to maintain a Digital Drawing System machine?
A:Because it isn’t a “mechanical” system, like a drawing ball machine, maintenance for a digital draw machine is minimal and entails bi-annual cleaning and servicing by Smartplay to ensure that all cooling vents and fans operate correctly. We no longer have to worry about ‘mechanical’ malfunctions (loose doors, loose screws, low suction in the shafts etc.) or the maintenance of the drawing balls (managing 13 sets of balls included weighing them, washing them and submitting them to the Department of Public Safety for certification before use).
Q: If this system is better, why wasn’t this implemented earlier?
A:As stewards of the Arizona Lottery, we are accountable to our beneficiaries and to the public in general. Therefore, a change in our process had to be evaluated carefully, and this takes time. However, once the decision was made to move to a digital draw system, the implementation was timely and efficient.
Q: What other lotteries have converted from drawing machines to digital drawing technology?
A:Other North American lotteries that have already converted from mechanical drawing machines to digital drawing systems are Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, and South Dakota. Washington is in the process of conversion. Integrity is the cornerstone of a successful lottery organization. To ensure the highest ethical and technical standards, these and other lotteries worldwide have independent laboratories perform various statistical tests for randomness.
Q: Will you keep a file of the drawings?
A:Yes. As soon as the Origin™ System is activated, a log starts to record all keyboard input and activity for the console. Once the drawing process is complete, the log is automatically saved onto the system and archived. The file can be viewed or printed. Users cannot alter it. In addition, the computer’s video images created by the draw are saved. All activities are monitored by closed-circuit camera.
Q: How will the winning numbers be selected in the event of a catastrophic incident?
A:A third back-up machine will be located off-site in case of a disaster.
Q: Couldn’t the vendor or a Lottery user pre-program the system?
A:Pre-programming is impossible because there are an undetermined number of pre-draws before an actual drawing is conducted. The number of pre-draws is unknown to the vendor or Lottery personnel until the drawing night. For example, on any given draw date there could be one, two, three, four or more pre-draws prior to the real draw. Therefore, programmed results for a real drawing would be impossible.
Q: What is a Digital Drawing System?
A:The Origin™ Digital Draw System (DDS) by Smartplay offers a new way of selecting and broadcasting winning lottery numbers. It replaces the mechanical drawing machines with a state-of-the-art random number selection device and a graphic display computer for presentation of the winning numbers.
Q: Why did the Arizona Lottery change to a Digital Draw System?
A:Our current drawing ball machines were nearing the end of their life cycle, and the digital drawing system was selected as a replacement because: It opens future ways of communicating the winning numbers to a wider audience. It is cost-effective. It maintains the integrity and security of the games, including reducing liabilities associated with aging equipment.
Q: Won’t this new system be susceptible to computer hackers?
A:No. There is no connection to any Lottery network or the Internet.
Q: What if there is a power failure?
A:First, each console has its own independent power supply which allows it to run on batteries for approximately 30 minutes. Second, the Lottery has a generator which could supply power for 1½ hours. Finally, in the event these backups fail, there is a third machine at an off-site facility.
Q: How will this affect people who play the Lottery?
A:There will be no effect on our players other than the future potential for a wider broadcasting of winning number results. The system has no effect on the odds and the games will maintain their integrity and security.
Q: Is this system as secure as the drawing machines?
A:Yes: • The computer that generates the winning numbers is contained in a secure console. • Only a SMARTPLAY technician, in the presence of authorized Lottery personnel, can access the locked console. • A security seal rated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as “high-security compliant” protects the console from tampering. • The seal has a unique number and a bar code for audit confirmation. The system records any opening of the console. • The computer requires logon validation from two different people prior to startup. To ensure checks and balances, the logons are unique confidential codes that are independently entered by authorized employees from different departments. • After the system is powered up, every keystroke is written to a log. The system also runs a self-diagnostic check during startup. All procedures must balance and match before drawing results are made official. • All drawing results are subjected to regular internal and external audits. • Additionally, all Arizona Lottery drawings are open to the public for viewing and monitoring. Advance requests are necessary because of after-hours access to a secured facility.
Q: Is the Digital Drawing System a computer?
A:Yes. It is a custom-built computer installed in a secure console. The Origin™ system is housed at the Lottery in a secure (card-access only) draw studio monitored by a closed-circuit camera.
Q: How often does a Digital Draw System have to be replaced?
A:This is more a question of technological upgrade than replacement. Just as computer software improves with upgrades, so will the Origin™ system. We are fortunate in that we had access and purchased the latest technology in digital draw systems. This system provides a solid platform from which we can upgrade.
Q: How was the system vendor selected?
A:Through a competitive bid process. We solicited bids from qualified vendors and the evaluation panel concluded that Smartplay’s Origin™ Digital Draw System was the most advantageous for us. Established in 1993, Smartplay is a leading lottery supplier of drawing equipment, including the drawing machines currently used by the Arizona Lottery, whose clients include lotteries around the world. It does not sell its products to the general public.
Q: How are the winning numbers selected?
A:The Origin™ system generates billions of numbers. When a particular game is selected, the Origin™ system first runs a series of tests to check for randomness. Next, the Drawing Manager pushes a button to select the particular game. The system then identifies the play numbers for that game (e.g., 1 though 41 for The Pick) and runs a series of tests to ensure randomness. If it passes all tests, the next step is to select the winning numbers for the game. The system is programmed to allow or prohibit selection of duplicate numbers. If the game is The Pick, all the billions of numbers will range from 1 through 41. The program selects the first number. If it is 41, no more 41s can be selected. The process continues until all seven numbers have been selected. The same holds true for Fantasy 5. The play numbers range from 1 through 35. If the first number selected is 5, no more 5s can be selected and the process continues until all five numbers have been selected. For Pick 3, duplicate numbers from 0 through 9 are allowed.
Q: How do we know the numbers generated by the Digital Draw System are random?
A:Each Origin™ system contains two separate random numbers servers. The system randomly selects one prior to each drawing. Each of the random number servers independently performs its own set of randomness tests and each has been put through a battery of scientific tests for randomness conducted by an independent testing lab, Secure Software of Chantilly, VA. Independent tests of the random number servers have been conducted by the Arizona Lottery. The system has passed all tests.

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