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POLL - On The Whole Do The Lotteries Provide Truly Random Numbers?

Topic closed. 104 replies. Last post 6 years ago by Hermanus104.

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From Quick Picks to Winning Numbers, Are We Getting Truly Random Numbers from the Various Lotteries?

Yes [ 29 ]  [29.59%]
No [ 52 ]  [53.06%]
Don't know/Don't care/Doesn't matter to me [ 11 ]  [11.22%]
Other [ 6 ]  [6.12%]
Total Valid Votes [ 98 ]  
Discarded Votes [ 1 ]  
rcbbuckeye's avatar - Lottery-043.jpg
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Posted: August 8, 2010, 9:29 am - IP Logged

Quantum mechanics suggests that nothing that can be influenced by humans can ever truly be random, and that the only random events are at the quantum level.  Beyond that, I also question what exactly constitutes randomness.

I think a more direct question is whether you think lotteries cheat.  Some people seem to be suspicious about that, but I tend to believe that the states have no reason to cheat.  The games are built in favor of the lottery.  That doesn't depend on chance, it's a structural component of the games.

I guess my answers would be that I don't know what true randomness is, and I doubt mankind's ability to make anything random.  People aren't capable of doing anything with perfection, and true randomness would be a form of perfection.  But I don't see much incentive to cheat because the state is guaranteed to be the winner in each game, given enough time.

Well said.

I've always felt that if a person thinks the lotteries cheat, why bother playing?

In my opinion, lotteries (even the ones with RNG) know that they need public trust to survive. Once that trust is gone, so are the lotteries. So they don't cheat, and don't really have to.

CAN'T WIN IF YOU'RE NOT IN

A DOLLAR AND A DREAM (OR $2)

    rcbbuckeye's avatar - Lottery-043.jpg
    Texas
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    Posted: August 8, 2010, 9:39 am - IP Logged

    I agree with your contention about the states not having much incentive to cheat because they're already guaranteed to be the winner over time and I don't want to make this thread about cheating.

    But we also can't leave out the fact that Tennessee was caught with a switch on their computers which would rule out the possibility of doubles being drawn.

    I don't live in TN, but I still have a hard time believing that they programmed the computers purposely to take out doubles. Why do such a foolish thing knowing eventually they would be caught.

    On a side note, some time ago I was using LP's RNG to come up with about 20 or so pick 3 numbers just to compare with the draws in TX. And occasionally I would get two numbers that were the same on the RNG. I asked Todd about that, expecting that the numbers should be all different each time I ran some numbers. His answer was if that were the case, it wouldn't be random (or something to that effect). Made sense to me.

    CAN'T WIN IF YOU'RE NOT IN

    A DOLLAR AND A DREAM (OR $2)

      ttech10's avatar - blobdude
      Texas
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      Posted: August 8, 2010, 9:51 am - IP Logged

      I'm a little questionable about computerized drawings, not completely sure about their randomness (I remember reading about that switch and also how auditors weren't going to investigate why certain errors occurred).

      When it comes to ball drawings yea, I definitely think they're random. Since every ball is weighed to be the exact same weight and measured to be the same size there's nothing but randomness.

        Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
        Chief Bottle Washer
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        Posted: August 8, 2010, 9:52 am - IP Logged

        I don't live in TN, but I still have a hard time believing that they programmed the computers purposely to take out doubles. Why do such a foolish thing knowing eventually they would be caught.

        On a side note, some time ago I was using LP's RNG to come up with about 20 or so pick 3 numbers just to compare with the draws in TX. And occasionally I would get two numbers that were the same on the RNG. I asked Todd about that, expecting that the numbers should be all different each time I ran some numbers. His answer was if that were the case, it wouldn't be random (or something to that effect). Made sense to me.

        They say it was a mistake, and they were caught -- after more than 3 weeks of no doubles.

         

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

         

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

          jarasan's avatar - new patrick.gif
          Harbinger
          D.C./MD.
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          Posted: August 8, 2010, 10:07 am - IP Logged

          No, wholly.

            truecritic's avatar - PirateTreasure
            Michigan
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            Posted: August 8, 2010, 11:11 am - IP Logged

            They are as random as possible with the ball drawings.  The lotteries don't have to cheat.  They are not "pulling some stuff" as is commonly seen in various threads. 

            For Pick 3s and Pick 4s, they do not manipulate doubles (TN might have been the exception).  They do not manipulate triples.  They do not manipulate quads.

            Question was, if they are cheating, why play?  Because even if they did cheat, someone can still win.  Speaking of horse races, there were rumors about certain races being fixed.  Didn't stop me, I often had the winner of those questionable races.

              Jack-C's avatar - us
              San Diego, CA
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              Posted: August 8, 2010, 11:16 am - IP Logged

              They are as random as possible with the ball drawings.  The lotteries don't have to cheat.  They are not "pulling some stuff" as is commonly seen in various threads. 

              For Pick 3s and Pick 4s, they do not manipulate doubles (TN might have been the exception).  They do not manipulate triples.  They do not manipulate quads.

              Question was, if they are cheating, why play?  Because even if they did cheat, someone can still win.  Speaking of horse races, there were rumors about certain races being fixed.  Didn't stop me, I often had the winner of those questionable races.

              I Agree! I Agree! I Agree!

                bobby623's avatar - abstract
                San Angelo, Texas
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                Posted: August 8, 2010, 11:18 am - IP Logged

                I like the 'sufficiently random' theory.

                But, this is basically a 'circular argument' with no final answer.

                We believe what we believe.

                My belief is that the ball machines are sufficiently random.

                Now computer drawings are something else. I don't think lottery officials would intentionally manipulate drawings results,
                but who knows. Anything is possible when drawings are conducted in secret.

                The main question is will the combination generated by the random number generator in the lottery terminal where
                I buy quick picks will match the winning combination put out by the lottery, regardless of the method they use to
                generate winning combinations.

                There are over 5,000 RNGs in Texas spitting out possible winning combinations for every game. Every now and then
                one of the RNGs will get it right, as happened recently in a Lotto Texas drawing.

                Also, as we all know, some lucky players come up with 'self pick' numbers that win, as happened recently when one
                player picked the correct numbers in the $645,000 Texas Two-Step drawing.

                Some folks are lucky, most of us are not.

                  truecritic's avatar - PirateTreasure
                  Michigan
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                  Posted: August 8, 2010, 11:28 am - IP Logged

                  I like the 'sufficiently random' theory.

                  But, this is basically a 'circular argument' with no final answer.

                  We believe what we believe.

                  My belief is that the ball machines are sufficiently random.

                  Now computer drawings are something else. I don't think lottery officials would intentionally manipulate drawings results,
                  but who knows. Anything is possible when drawings are conducted in secret.

                  The main question is will the combination generated by the random number generator in the lottery terminal where
                  I buy quick picks will match the winning combination put out by the lottery, regardless of the method they use to
                  generate winning combinations.

                  There are over 5,000 RNGs in Texas spitting out possible winning combinations for every game. Every now and then
                  one of the RNGs will get it right, as happened recently in a Lotto Texas drawing.

                  Also, as we all know, some lucky players come up with 'self pick' numbers that win, as happened recently when one
                  player picked the correct numbers in the $645,000 Texas Two-Step drawing.

                  Some folks are lucky, most of us are not.

                  The main question is will the combination generated by the random number generator in the lottery terminal where I buy quick picks will match the winning combination put out by the lottery

                  Interesting point...

                  Slightly off topic but an interesting idea.  Could you sue the lotteries if each terminal was not capable of spitting out every single possible combination on a QP?  That idea has floated around here often.

                  Let's say you go to buy a MM ticket and the terminal is only capable of generating a certain set of numbers (maybe only 500,000 of the possible combinations).  Not all possible combinations.  If you claimed that you did not have the opportunity to buy the winning set because of that, could you sue?

                    bobby623's avatar - abstract
                    San Angelo, Texas
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                    Posted: August 8, 2010, 12:15 pm - IP Logged

                    Interesting question!

                    I keep all of my lottery tickets for tax purposes.

                    I've checked and I have tickets having every possible number in the lottery games I play.

                    I have to conclude that the RNG in the terminal where I buy my tickets is fully functional.

                    I'm not a lawyer, but I think to win a case, one has to prove wrong doing to the satisfaction of a judge or jury.

                    I  don't know how I could prove that a specific lottery terminal's RNG isn't working properly.

                    Another question is whether or not the RNG is truly random. The tickets I have seem to indicate that it is. I would have a hard time proving
                    otherwise.

                    On some tickets, numbers are repeated on several lines, but I think that's the way RNGs work. Anything is possible.

                      RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                      mid-Ohio
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                      Posted: August 8, 2010, 12:39 pm - IP Logged

                      If they weren't, someone would have come up with a way to regularly beat their odds of winning which assumes the numbers are random.  Players are always analyzing past drawings results trying to come up with an edge so a lack or randomness were be quickly noticed and exploited.  Anyone consistently beating the odds would probably be investigated by the lotteries also.

                       * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
                         
                                   Evil Looking       

                        Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
                        Zeta Reticuli Star System
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                        Posted: August 8, 2010, 12:58 pm - IP Logged

                        If there was no randomness the American League would have never went to the DH!

                        Scared

                        Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any.

                        Lep

                        There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

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                          NASHVILLE, TENN
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                          Posted: August 8, 2010, 1:39 pm - IP Logged

                          "Random" simply means that by studying past results you can not with certainty predict the next event.  I think the lottery meets that requirement

                           

                          I totally agree.  There is no way to predict the next event with any degree of certainty. 

                          How about we try to predict one event out of 10?  Or 20?  or even 30?  Will that work?  Can we find an algorithym that will, with certainty, predict one out of 30?  If you have truely deep pockets you can go as high as one out of 100.

                          I firmly believe such a scenario is possible.

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                            NASHVILLE, TENN
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                            Posted: August 8, 2010, 2:06 pm - IP Logged

                            Quantum mechanics suggests that nothing that can be influenced by humans can ever truly be random, and that the only random events are at the quantum level.  Beyond that, I also question what exactly constitutes randomness.

                            I think a more direct question is whether you think lotteries cheat.  Some people seem to be suspicious about that, but I tend to believe that the states have no reason to cheat.  The games are built in favor of the lottery.  That doesn't depend on chance, it's a structural component of the games.

                            I guess my answers would be that I don't know what true randomness is, and I doubt mankind's ability to make anything random.  People aren't capable of doing anything with perfection, and true randomness would be a form of perfection.  But I don't see much incentive to cheat because the state is guaranteed to be the winner in each game, given enough time.

                            Let's address that quantum mechanics things first. 

                            Chaos reins on the quantum level.  On that point all the physicists agree.  Yet out of all that randomness the material world we see, touch, smell, and taste everyday emerges.  Our visible world is extremely static with only a few exceptions.  How did that happen?  How does the world go from total chaos to total order?  No one knows the answer to that question at this point in time.  If they have, they have yet to write a book on the subject.

                            So now we look at the randomness of the lottery.  Yes, total chaos there, too.  Can we, much as the material world does, go from this "lotto chaos" to something more static?  No one knows the answer to this question either but we who go where Angels fear to tread are looking for the answer.

                             

                            But I don't see much incentive to cheat because the state is guaranteed to be the winner in each game, given enough time.

                            I agree the state is guaranteed to be the winner in each game but that is only part of the picture.  How much of a winner does the state want to be?  That is the question. 

                             In Tennessee I firmly believe the state wants to be as much a winner as they possibly can.  They "lose" if there are many second and third level winners.  They "win" if there are few second and third level winners. 

                            If you were the CEO of the state's lottery, would not a RNG be to your advantage?  Could you not control the number of second and third level winners?  Of course you could.  Would you?  Of course you would if you reported to the state legislature and your bonus was dependent on the amount of revenue your lotto generated for the state.

                            Yes, the states don't have to cheat but no one, with any degree of certainty, can say they do not cheat.  We simply do not know.  With ball drop, whether televized or video posted on their web site, we can see the balls being bounced around.  We can see whether a set of balls are hovering around the bottom of the chamber or are being well mixed.  We can see the one ball being dropped out.  We can read the number on the ball just as well as the moderator.  Can you say that about RNG?

                              bobby623's avatar - abstract
                              San Angelo, Texas
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                              Posted: August 8, 2010, 3:04 pm - IP Logged

                              I believe the winning numbers for the Texas pick 5 game are generated randomly with ball machines within the confines of the 5 of 37 matrix, or box.

                              There are 435,897 possible 5-digit combinations, beginning with 1.2.3.4.5 and ending 33.34.35.36.37.

                              Cash 5 is a daily game. There have been hundreds of drawings since 1995.

                              Yet, anytime I've run a check to see if a combination I want to play has come up in a prior drawing, the answer is 'no.'

                              I'm sure that have been some repeats, but I don't have the means to find out, nor the interest, for that matter.

                              I sometime wonder if the combinations I play have come up in a pre-test drawing, but, again, I don't have the means or interest to find out.

                              I think it would be foolish to identify and not play certain combinations simply because they have already come up. I recall reading posts where
                              certain players have regretted not playing repeat combinations.

                              However, if I did encounter numerous repeats, I might begin to wonder if the lottery folks are doing their jobs.

                              The main reason for the pre-tests is to ensure randomness for individual drawings.

                              I'm not sure how the lottery folks measure and determine the degree of randomness for the game as a whole, but I'm confident they do.