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Texas Lottery confirms that Quick Picks are not generated by "central computer"

Topic closed. 44 replies. Last post 8 years ago by Think.

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Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
Chief Bottle Washer
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Posted: November 24, 2008, 2:13 pm - IP Logged

There was another thread in which the subject of Quick Picks was being discussed, and that it was strongly asserted that a "central computer" generates the random ticket numbers.

The theory of a central computer generating the random numbers is an important element of critics' theories that the lottery controls the outcome of the games.

After all, if the Quick Picks (which account for some 70% of all sales) were not generated or manipulated by a central computer, then how in the world could the lottery determine the outcome?

The only other possible way to determine the outcome would be to rig the drawings, and as we have discussed at length on these forums, using a mechanical ball drawing is the best way to ensure that the lottery can't do that. 

Here is the short note I received back from the Texas Lottery, in response to my query about how the Quick Picks are generated:

Dear Mr. Northrop:

Each terminal has a random number generator.

Thanks for contacting us,

Michelle Byrd
Communications Specialist

I have created this new topic specifically to record this information, so that if this question comes up in the future, it will be simple to point to the answer.

If you're in a discussion and someone proposes that the lottery is crafting the Quick Picks in order to make sure the jackpot rolls (or the jackpot hits), simply give them the link to this topic (http://www.lotterypost.com/thread/184951) and you can settle the issue right there.

There are many things that we all need to be watchful about, in order to ensure that the state lotteries are on the up-and-up — such as computerized drawings, which tend to mask serious problems.  So let's not spend time making accusations about Quick Picks when there are bigger fish to fry!

 

Check the State Lottery Report Card
What grade did your lottery earn?

 

Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
Help eliminate computerized drawings!

    charmed7's avatar - Lottery-013.jpg
    MICHIGAN
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    Posted: November 24, 2008, 2:33 pm - IP Logged

    thanks for 411

      Shawn67's avatar - Lottery-061.jpg

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      Posted: November 24, 2008, 6:27 pm - IP Logged

      Thanks for the information Todd. It's always good to have confirmation like that. I've already had this discussion with an Oklahoma lottery official, and was told that all of the terminals they use (Scientific Games) have individual random number generators. SGI administers the lottery in at least half of the states that have the lottery. There is one other major company that has terminals in the other states, the name of which escapes me, but I am sure their terminals are set up similarly or else they wouldn't be able to compete.

        Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
        Chief Bottle Washer
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        Posted: November 24, 2008, 9:47 pm - IP Logged

        Thanks for the information Todd. It's always good to have confirmation like that. I've already had this discussion with an Oklahoma lottery official, and was told that all of the terminals they use (Scientific Games) have individual random number generators. SGI administers the lottery in at least half of the states that have the lottery. There is one other major company that has terminals in the other states, the name of which escapes me, but I am sure their terminals are set up similarly or else they wouldn't be able to compete.

        The other one you're trying to think of is GTECH, which I think is what Texas uses. 

        GTECH is the largest lottery equipment and services company in the world, and has the largest US market share. 

        In 2006, GTECH was bought by Lottomatica Group, an Italian company, but GTECH has maintained its corporate identity as well as its headquarters in Providence, R.I.

         

        Check the State Lottery Report Card
        What grade did your lottery earn?

         

        Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
        Help eliminate computerized drawings!

          Bagent's avatar - avatar 10424.gif
          Vancouver, WA
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          Posted: November 25, 2008, 8:24 am - IP Logged

          Thanks for this info Todd.  I have always had a question about quick picks since that is mostly the tickets that I buy.  If all the terminals have a RNG, why is it that when I track the winners on a map, it seems that only certain areas of the country have winners?  Seeing the winners being geographically clustered makes me think that even RNGs have to been tied in with a central computer that is ruling where the winners are located.  My area of the country has very few large or JP winners at all.

          Of all my QP that I do each week for PB and MM, sadly, I average having only 1-3 numbers on any given ticket ($5).  In the last 5 months, I have had 1 winner and that was a PB and 1 white ball for $4.

            spy153's avatar - maren

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            Posted: November 25, 2008, 9:09 am - IP Logged

            You're not kidding when you say it is a "short note."   They couldn't give us any more detail and assurance than that?  I know your goal was simplicity, here, but don't you think some of us are a little more curious than that?

            I am one of the die-hard theorists who argue there is a central computer which is manipulating the numbers.   I know they don't want everyone to know that....I'm not stupid.  It's not something they are going to broadcast for the simple reason that people wouldn't want to play as much.  (Although I don't know why, the odds are the same either way.  It's still a luck thing.) 

            If each terminal has a random number generator was never in question for me.  It's where are they coming from ?  Is it a specific software program running that rng? 

            And if this were true (that each is separate from the other) why would the TN lottery people need to help NC setup theirs?  Wouldn't that be the job of either Gtech or SGI?  What has TN lottery to do with NC? 

            And better still, why would the matrix need to change so much if it was truly separated that way?  What difference would it make how many numbers there were?  I'll tell you why.  Because every time people come close to figuring anything remotely close to how that system is working, they have to mix it up to keep us guessing and the jackpots rolling. 

            And then there is the results thing... In only hours, they know if there is winner.  How?  They have to be connected to a central computer taking it all in somehow.  You can't honestly expect me to believe there are store clerks out there remembering who bought a winning ticket and what time they purchased it, can you?

            That information is transmitted back to MM or PB headquarters somewhere....

            And the numbers themselves.... lets not forget those.  They are so intricately woven into one another.  It truly is a beautiful thing, not to be recognized.  They fit so well together.  One winner connects to the other in an evermore clever way than the last.  In a beautiful matrix that I haven't fully grasped yet., but do appreciate and admire.

            Don't get me wrong here, Todd.  I'm not trying to pick a fight with you.  But this something I honestly believe.  I feel you and I deserve a little better explanation than the one they have provided here.

            voir-vous dans mes reves!Cool

              Captain Lotto's avatar - CaptLotto
              Jefferson City, MO
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              Posted: November 25, 2008, 9:33 am - IP Logged

              They know where the winners are because G-Tech tracks every ticket that is sold.  Once the winning combination is selected, they then check that against the list of tickets sold and can determine if there was a winner.

              Captain Lotto

              "Every day is a good day!"

                spy153's avatar - maren

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                Posted: November 25, 2008, 9:35 am - IP Logged

                They know where the winners are because G-Tech tracks every ticket that is sold.  Once the winning combination is selected, they then check that against the list of tickets sold and can determine if there was a winner.

                I figured as much.  I was just reading the other thread Todd was talking about.  I hadn't read  it before I posted.  Guess I should have. 

                But some of my points are still valid.

                voir-vous dans mes reves!Cool

                  Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                  Chief Bottle Washer
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                  Posted: November 25, 2008, 10:06 am - IP Logged

                  Thanks for this info Todd.  I have always had a question about quick picks since that is mostly the tickets that I buy.  If all the terminals have a RNG, why is it that when I track the winners on a map, it seems that only certain areas of the country have winners?  Seeing the winners being geographically clustered makes me think that even RNGs have to been tied in with a central computer that is ruling where the winners are located.  My area of the country has very few large or JP winners at all.

                  Of all my QP that I do each week for PB and MM, sadly, I average having only 1-3 numbers on any given ticket ($5).  In the last 5 months, I have had 1 winner and that was a PB and 1 white ball for $4.

                  The greatest number of winners will always be where the greatest number of tickets are sold. 

                  If 1000 tickets are sold in county "A" and 500 tickets are sold in county "B", then county "A" should statistically have twice as many winners as county "B".

                  If you see a rural area with as many winners as a downtown city, then you know something is strange, because they sell a ton more tickets in cities.

                   

                  Check the State Lottery Report Card
                  What grade did your lottery earn?

                   

                  Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                  Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                    Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
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                    Posted: November 25, 2008, 10:18 am - IP Logged

                    You're not kidding when you say it is a "short note."   They couldn't give us any more detail and assurance than that?  I know your goal was simplicity, here, but don't you think some of us are a little more curious than that?

                    I am one of the die-hard theorists who argue there is a central computer which is manipulating the numbers.   I know they don't want everyone to know that....I'm not stupid.  It's not something they are going to broadcast for the simple reason that people wouldn't want to play as much.  (Although I don't know why, the odds are the same either way.  It's still a luck thing.) 

                    If each terminal has a random number generator was never in question for me.  It's where are they coming from ?  Is it a specific software program running that rng? 

                    And if this were true (that each is separate from the other) why would the TN lottery people need to help NC setup theirs?  Wouldn't that be the job of either Gtech or SGI?  What has TN lottery to do with NC? 

                    And better still, why would the matrix need to change so much if it was truly separated that way?  What difference would it make how many numbers there were?  I'll tell you why.  Because every time people come close to figuring anything remotely close to how that system is working, they have to mix it up to keep us guessing and the jackpots rolling. 

                    And then there is the results thing... In only hours, they know if there is winner.  How?  They have to be connected to a central computer taking it all in somehow.  You can't honestly expect me to believe there are store clerks out there remembering who bought a winning ticket and what time they purchased it, can you?

                    That information is transmitted back to MM or PB headquarters somewhere....

                    And the numbers themselves.... lets not forget those.  They are so intricately woven into one another.  It truly is a beautiful thing, not to be recognized.  They fit so well together.  One winner connects to the other in an evermore clever way than the last.  In a beautiful matrix that I haven't fully grasped yet., but do appreciate and admire.

                    Don't get me wrong here, Todd.  I'm not trying to pick a fight with you.  But this something I honestly believe.  I feel you and I deserve a little better explanation than the one they have provided here.

                    As I stated in the other thread, I know my information from speaking with people who have built the GTECH lottery terminals.  I know how they work.

                    The RNG in the machine is not connected to a central computer.  A RNG a small piece of program code that is part of practically every programming language in existence.  Even JavaScript in your web browser has a RNG built into it.

                    A RNG simply produces a fractional number between 0 and 1 (for example, 0.37625346499).  To get a random lottery number, you take the number produced by the RNG (between 0 and 1) and multiply it by the highest number in the range, scrape off any decimal places, and then add 1.

                    So, to get a number between 1 and 49, then RNG does the following function:  INT( RNG() x 49 ) + 1

                    That's all there is to it! 

                    The RNG() x 49 produces a number between 0 and 48.999999, the INT() scrapes off any decimal places, and then adding 1 will make the number between 1 and 49.

                    There is nothing sinister or manipulative.  The only downside to RNGs in lottery terminals is that they are not terrific RNGs, meaning that better cryptographic random number generators exist, which would produce a more "even" set of numbers.

                    The RNG in a lottery terminal tends to be about as good as any baseline RNG in a programming language, but not as good as more advanced RNGs, such as those based on the noise produced by radioactive decay.

                    However, to be clear, there is nothing manipulative in that.  There is no way for the lottery terminal to be "in cahoots" with the drawing, in order to force a certain result, because (as I have mentioned before) that would require the lottery to rig the drawings themselves.  And with a mechnical ball drawing the chances of that happening are practically nil.

                     

                    Check the State Lottery Report Card
                    What grade did your lottery earn?

                     

                    Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                    Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                      LottoL's avatar - techno eye.jpg
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                      Posted: November 25, 2008, 10:34 am - IP Logged

                      You're not kidding when you say it is a "short note."   They couldn't give us any more detail and assurance than that?  I know your goal was simplicity, here, but don't you think some of us are a little more curious than that?

                      I am one of the die-hard theorists who argue there is a central computer which is manipulating the numbers.   I know they don't want everyone to know that....I'm not stupid.  It's not something they are going to broadcast for the simple reason that people wouldn't want to play as much.  (Although I don't know why, the odds are the same either way.  It's still a luck thing.) 

                      If each terminal has a random number generator was never in question for me.  It's where are they coming from ?  Is it a specific software program running that rng? 

                      And if this were true (that each is separate from the other) why would the TN lottery people need to help NC setup theirs?  Wouldn't that be the job of either Gtech or SGI?  What has TN lottery to do with NC? 

                      And better still, why would the matrix need to change so much if it was truly separated that way?  What difference would it make how many numbers there were?  I'll tell you why.  Because every time people come close to figuring anything remotely close to how that system is working, they have to mix it up to keep us guessing and the jackpots rolling. 

                      And then there is the results thing... In only hours, they know if there is winner.  How?  They have to be connected to a central computer taking it all in somehow.  You can't honestly expect me to believe there are store clerks out there remembering who bought a winning ticket and what time they purchased it, can you?

                      That information is transmitted back to MM or PB headquarters somewhere....

                      And the numbers themselves.... lets not forget those.  They are so intricately woven into one another.  It truly is a beautiful thing, not to be recognized.  They fit so well together.  One winner connects to the other in an evermore clever way than the last.  In a beautiful matrix that I haven't fully grasped yet., but do appreciate and admire.

                      Don't get me wrong here, Todd.  I'm not trying to pick a fight with you.  But this something I honestly believe.  I feel you and I deserve a little better explanation than the one they have provided here.

                      The question is:  Are the lottery terminals programmable?  I would imagine they are.
                      So if that's the case, I would imagine the vendor software group can send instructions
                      of any kind to any terminal anytime from the central computer with or without the
                      knowledge of retailers, lotto commissions, vendor depot personnel, etc. if they so choose.

                        spy153's avatar - maren

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                        Posted: November 25, 2008, 11:07 am - IP Logged

                        The question is:  Are the lottery terminals programmable?  I would imagine they are.
                        So if that's the case, I would imagine the vendor software group can send instructions
                        of any kind to any terminal anytime from the central computer with or without the
                        knowledge of retailers, lotto commissions, vendor depot personnel, etc. if they so choose.

                        This is what I was driving at.  You nailed it LottoL!   

                        I don't care about the Rng's.  They are only a means to an end.

                        Ball drawings can be manipulated as well, too.  Remember the Hoosier lotto?  And I hate to be sinister here, but the world isn't exactly filled with saints these days.

                        I guess it just boils down to this, either you believe they are rigged or not.  It's certainly possible.  All things are possible.  So I do.  But I don't think they are going to pick who the winner is.  I do think they pick by the numbers with the lesser payout.  Which gives me and everyone else a shot at a jackpot, if I pick the right numbers for that drawing.  They are a business like everything else.  They're in it for the money.

                        voir-vous dans mes reves!Cool

                          Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                          Chief Bottle Washer
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                          Posted: November 25, 2008, 2:03 pm - IP Logged

                          This is what I was driving at.  You nailed it LottoL!   

                          I don't care about the Rng's.  They are only a means to an end.

                          Ball drawings can be manipulated as well, too.  Remember the Hoosier lotto?  And I hate to be sinister here, but the world isn't exactly filled with saints these days.

                          I guess it just boils down to this, either you believe they are rigged or not.  It's certainly possible.  All things are possible.  So I do.  But I don't think they are going to pick who the winner is.  I do think they pick by the numbers with the lesser payout.  Which gives me and everyone else a shot at a jackpot, if I pick the right numbers for that drawing.  They are a business like everything else.  They're in it for the money.

                          No, I don't remember the Hoosier lotto.  Can you refresh my memory?

                           

                          Check the State Lottery Report Card
                          What grade did your lottery earn?

                           

                          Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                          Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                            Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                            Chief Bottle Washer
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                            Posted: November 25, 2008, 2:13 pm - IP Logged

                            The question is:  Are the lottery terminals programmable?  I would imagine they are.
                            So if that's the case, I would imagine the vendor software group can send instructions
                            of any kind to any terminal anytime from the central computer with or without the
                            knowledge of retailers, lotto commissions, vendor depot personnel, etc. if they so choose.

                            The lottery machines are most certainly programmable.  If they weren't .... well, then they would not exist, because as I mentioned in the other thread, they are computers themselves.

                            See, the problem I have with this scenario is that your supposition is exactly why the Texas Lottery runs reports on the distribution of numbers generated as Quick Picks.

                            On one hand you're saying that the existence of such reports are bad, but on the other hand you're saying that you're concerned about the RNGs at the lottery terminals being manipulated.

                            Which story is it?

                            Do you want nothing monitored, and leave open the possibility of manipulation, or do you want the tickets monitored in order to ensure that the RNGs are properly creating random numbers with an even statistical distribution?

                            Note that I have not even mentioned that all of these theories about the ticket machines really don't amount to much, unless the drawings themselves are rigged.  After all, if the drawings are not rigged, how would the lottery know which random numbers to avoid?  to me, it just doesn't make sense from any perspective.

                            And if you think the RNG is manipulated to avoid certain combinations, then wouldn't a report analyzing the generated Quick Picks allay that fear?

                             

                            Check the State Lottery Report Card
                            What grade did your lottery earn?

                             

                            Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                            Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                              Captain Lotto's avatar - CaptLotto
                              Jefferson City, MO
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                              Posted: November 25, 2008, 2:30 pm - IP Logged

                              Most state lotteries are state agencies with strict oversight.  They are responsible to the elected officials and citizens of their state.  Except a few states with quasi-corporate structures, they don't get to keep the profits they generate, and most don't even reward workers with bonuses for good performance, which is how the real business world works. 

                              The only incentive would be to return more money to the state, which is hardly a good motivator to turn people into cheats.  And to boot, awarding less money to players has a negative impact on sales - it would eventually cut into their business if they didn't operate it by the books. 

                              The kind of fraud you envision did at one time exist - when numbers games were run by the mob and private, for-profit companies.  That's what put an end to them.  And that's why they are operated by the state today with strict oversight.

                              Captain Lotto

                              "Every day is a good day!"