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Florida Lottery Pre-Post Draws

Topic closed. 2 replies. Last post 1 year ago by grwurston.

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ORLANDO, FLORIDA
United States
Member #4924
June 3, 2004
5982 Posts
Online
Posted: September 24, 2015, 12:25 pm - IP Logged

Just spoke with representative from Fla Lottery about those draws. He stated the draws were confidential and they did not have the info there. When I asked, why don't you publish those draws for the players, like the Texas Lottery? No response, except, you are more than welcome to attend a live draw. I told him, you are missing my point. Are you trying keep the public from knowing you are conducting these draws? No response and I hung up.

    psykomo's avatar - animal shark.jpg

    United States
    Member #4877
    May 30, 2004
    5145 Posts
    Online
    Posted: September 24, 2015, 1:32 pm - IP Logged

    Just spoke with representative from Fla Lottery about those draws. He stated the draws were confidential and they did not have the info there. When I asked, why don't you publish those draws for the players, like the Texas Lottery? No response, except, you are more than welcome to attend a live draw. I told him, you are missing my point. Are you trying keep the public from knowing you are conducting these draws? No response and I hung up.

    CB:

    THANKS for UR effort to help FL lottery players understand how their government "RUNS" the peoples lottery. Sorry to say it will take more than a

    phone CALL to "git" your ANSWER. Good Luck.....................

      grwurston's avatar - 144
      Let's Go Rangers!!!
      bel air maryland
      United States
      Member #90251
      April 24, 2010
      5129 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: September 24, 2015, 5:48 pm - IP Logged

      Just spoke with representative from Fla Lottery about those draws. He stated the draws were confidential and they did not have the info there. When I asked, why don't you publish those draws for the players, like the Texas Lottery? No response, except, you are more than welcome to attend a live draw. I told him, you are missing my point. Are you trying keep the public from knowing you are conducting these draws? No response and I hung up.

      This is an old article from 1998, but nonetheless a very informative history lesson on how the states began to control the lottery games and payouts to the detriment of the players.

      Pa. Doesn't Take Chances On Lottery Here's How Math Experts Help Control The Odds On A Daily Basis.

      By Loretta Tofani, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
      Posted: April 05, 1998

      Michelle Coleman, 39, was feeling lucky when she placed her order for lottery tickets at a newsstand at Ninth and Market.

      "Let's try triple sevens for two days," she said, making her picks for the Daily Number. "And do triple twos for two days."

      Coleman was too late with that last choice. The lottery machine had stopped selling 2-2-2 that day. Too many people had already picked it. If the number came up a winner, the Pennsylvania Lottery would be on the hook for big money - more than $20 million.

      The 4,800 lottery machines across Pennsylvania automatically stop selling tickets for a numerical combination in the Daily Number or the Big Four game if the potential payout becomes too large.

      That reflex was programmed into lottery computers by a mathematician named Richard Mishelof. It is one of many ways he helps the state monitor, tweak and fine-tune the lottery so it's as profitable as possible.

      Mishelof is part of a small industry of probability experts who advise state lotteries across the country. Their work is a reminder that lotteries are carefully managed business enterprises designed to generate revenue for the state - games of chance in which little is left to chance.

      Mishelof helps the state of Pennsylvania control the odds so customers win often enough to keep them buying tickets, but not so often that the lottery falls short of its revenue goals. He dreams up new games and freshens old ones. He estimates how much the lottery will take in each year, and how much it will have to pay out.

      Using his findings, lottery officials, as the "house," constantly adjust their product, adding prizes, rolling out new games, launching promotions.

      "A lottery requires constant promotions, constant coming up with new games, constant research and development," said I. Nelson Rose, a professor at Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa, Calif., and an expert on gambling law.

      The state's manipulation of the odds is not popular with everyone. William N. Thompson, a gambling expert at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, criticized the Pennsylvania Lottery's practice of halting sales of popular numerical combinations for the daily drawings.

      "What Pennsylvania is doing is saying, 'The gamblers can gamble against us, but we're not going to gamble against them,' " Thompson said. "They're sucking players into playing the game with advertising. Then they rig the game and say you can't play those numbers. It's unfair."

      Most states, including New Jersey, limit the size of payouts by a different method. They offer a fixed dollar amount for any number combination. If a number wins, the prize is divided among all the people who bet on it.

      Daniel K. Cook, executive director of the Pennsylvania Lottery, defended the state's approach. "People gang up on certain numbers," he said, and if officials did not intervene, a big payday could "ultimately hurt programs" funded by the lottery.

      The elaborate management of the odds reflects the growing importance of lotteries as a source of government income. It is no coincidence that the Pennsylvania Lottery is part of the state Department of Revenue.

      The lottery had sales of $1.7 billion last year. State taxes, by contrast, were $17 billion.

      Forty-one percent of the lottery's revenue in 1997 went to programs for the elderly, including subsidies for prescription drugs, free public transit during off-peak hours, and rent and property-tax rebates.

      Fifty percent of the revenue was paid to holders of winning tickets. The remaining 9 percent was spent on commissions for retail lottery outlets, advertising and other overhead - including fees to consultants such as Automated Wagering International (AWI), the Atlanta-based company that employs Mishelof.

      The Delaware and New Jersey Lotteries divide their revenue roughly the same way.

      Mishelof, 57, tall, graying and bespectacled, is a legend of sorts in his rarefied field. As manager of game design for AWI, he helped develop Cash Five and the Keystone Jackpot for the Pennsylvania Lottery, the Winning Hand for Delaware, and a Florida game called Mega-M$ney.

      In a high-rise office in Hackensack, he uses esoteric mathematical formulas such as the Exponential Probability Function to figure out, say, how often the payout for the Daily Number will be more than 10 times greater than the lottery's daily revenue from the game.

      The state relies on his calculations to make sure patrons' total winnings over the course of a year don't amount to more than 50 percent of lottery sales. This is serious stuff. If Mishelof's math is off, politically sacrosanct programs could run short of money.

      "If you screw up," he said, "it can be disastrous and very embarrassing."

      Among lottery experts, he's known for finding simple solutions to complicated problems. "He's rare among vendors, and he's rare among mathematicians," said Joan Zielinski, a former director of the New Jersey Lottery. "His work is elegant, in the sense that it's mathematically simple. That doesn't mean that it's simple-minded or simple to understand."

      AWI has been a consultant to the Pennsylvania Lottery for 22 years. It is one of a handful of companies worldwide that supply ticket machines, mathematicians, marketing executives and computer programmers to keep public lotteries running smoothly and profitably. More than 150 AWI employees work for the Pennsylvania Lottery.

      Last month, the company's $250-million contract was renewed for five years after a competitive bidding process. AWI also works for lotteries in Delaware, Florida, Montana and other states.

      Mishelof, a New York City native who is married and has two grown children, has a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the former Brooklyn Polytech and has done graduate work in the field. He works in a tiny room crammed with two computers, bookcases and a file cabinet.

      When using techniques he is familiar with, he sits at the computer, classical music playing in the background. When attacking a new type of problem, he turns off the radio and uses paper and pencil.

      "When you're working with a difficult problem, it never leaves your brain," Mishelof said. "I have tremendous insights while taking showers in the morning. Or while walking with the dog."

      Mishelof began working for AWI in 1976, immediately after it was awarded its first contract with the Pennsylvania Lottery, to design a computer system. At the time, Mishelof's main experience had been helping to design and build the Ticketron system in New York.

      Then, Ticketron's computers kept track of a few thousand theater tickets a day. The lottery sold millions of tickets a day and needed a system that could handle the volume.

      Mishelof helped devise one - an intricate network of machines primitive by today's standards. "We had hundreds of computers connected," he said. "There were tremendous challenges."

      Mishelof said he invents new lottery games out of necessity - the necessity of raising more money for the state. "The Department of Revenue projects that the lottery should produce x much money," he said. "But [lottery officials] say they can't do that. So we get a new game."

      Sometimes Mishelof borrows or modifies an idea from another state, or picks up an idea by interviewing a lottery customer during his field research. Sometimes lottery officials have an inspiration and ask Mishelof to flesh it out. It's a collaborative process, he said.

      "It's like cooking soup or something. We never say 'Let's meet and develop a game.' I've jotted down concepts on napkins, over dinner, in the car."

      If a particular idea looks promising, Mishelof makes projections of how much revenue it would produce, how many levels of prizes there would be, the probabilities of winning, and whether the state could afford the payouts.

      Mishelof and lottery officials think seriously about whether a game is likely to sell in the long term. "Will the game be embraced by the public, or will they get bored?" Mishelof pondered. "Is the game easy enough to explain? If you can't explain a game in one minute, it's probably not a good game."

      Ideas are sometimes tested on focus groups. If participants in those sessions think the odds of winning a game are too small, Mishelof may take out his pencil and calculator and makes an adjustment or two.

      When a game seems likely to attract enough players and money, it's launched. But first the lottery's advertising agency, Tierney & Partners of Philadelphia, comes up with a catchy name. Mishelof dubbed one high-jackpot game "Stochastic Selection," a mathematical term referring to random variables.

      Tierney & Partners gave it the name by which it is now known: Keystone Jackpot.

      After a game goes public, the lottery and Mishelof monitor sales. If they are below projections, the lottery begins a promotion or Mishelof suggests revisions, which he tests on focus groups.

      Sales data for the Wild Card Lotto last year showed the game had been losing players. So Mishelof suggested adding another tier of prizes and making the top prize cash only, instead of a choice between cash and an annuity. Mishelof found that people didn't like having to make that choice at the time of purchase, as they were required to do. It took away some of the thrill.

      The lottery adopted his recommendation this year.

      Mishelof provided the technical know-how to implement the state's policy of programming lottery machines to stop selling Daily Number and Big Four tickets under certain circumstances.

      In 1970s and '80s, the state did not have an automatic safeguard of this kind. Machines kept spitting out a number even when it became wildly popular. It was a dicey way to operate, Mishelof said

      In 1977, he said, a great many people buying the Daily Number in advance of St. Patrick's Day - March 17 - chose 317. "I called . . . the director of the lottery, and asked if we should cut off 317," Mishelof said. "He called the secretary of revenue, who called the governor [Milton J. Shapp], who said, 'Let it ride."'

      The number wasn't hit.

      Sometime in the 1980s, said Lynn Nelson, a former lottery director, officials decided to stop sales on a number once the state's potential exposure reached $30 million for the Daily Number or $10 million for the Big Four.

      The threshold for the Daily Number was lowered to $25 million in 1993 and later to $20 million.

      Mishelof said it was a prudent policy. Otherwise, "there's just too much risk for the state," he said.

      The lottery's largest payout for the Daily Number was $38 million on June 6, 1991. The winning number was 777. "It took four to five weeks [of lottery sales] to cover that payout," said Sally Danyluk, the lottery's spokeswoman.

      The odds of winning lottery games are disclosed in pamphlets available at retail outlets. The odds of hitting the Daily Number are 1,000-1. The average payout is $500 for every $1 wagered.

      Occasionally the state sweetens the pot and pays out at a 600-1 rate on the Daily Number - the same rate typically paid by illegal bookies. Mishelof helps the lottery decide when to do that, generally after a stretch in which relatively few people have held winning numbers.

      Mishelof says it is better to play the lottery than to use a bookie, even though bookies usually pay off at a higher rate, because "It's a tradition that you have to give the bookie's runner a $50 to $100 tip."

      "Bookies aren't in there to be nice people," he said. "They're in there to make money."

      So is the state, of course. But Mishelof said his work causes him no sleepless nights. "Of all the things people do in life, what they're risking here is a dollar, and they know exactly what the risk is," he said. "The lottery is the only game in life where the risk is well-defined."

      "A lottery requires constant promotions, constant . . . new games, constant research and development."

      "You can observe a lot just by watching." Yogi Berra, Hall of Fame baseball player.

      The numbers will tell you what numbers to play. Pay attention to the numbers.

      Don't just think outside the box, crush it.