Lottery raffle machines
Have you ever wondered how secure lottery machines are? Are there any ways to beat the system and win those life changing sums?
Well if you look for an expert opinion, they will probably tell you that there is no thing that is 100% secure. And if someone is dedicated and skilled enough, then they can find a way to break the system somehow. But, for every lottery scammer out there, there are lottery officials who do everything that is in their power to secure the lottery machines by using new technology and techniques.
So, we can assure you, that it is still safe to play your favorite lotto game and hope to hit the huge jackpots.
Lotteries not only try, but they do manage to keep their machines from being rigged. And in order to see how that is done, we have to take a look at different types of lottery machines.
Gravity Pick Machines
There are 2 types of lottery machines and Gravity Pick is considered to be the most secure one. It is no wonder that some of the biggest lotteries like UK National Lottery, Euromillions, US Powerball and Mega Millions use this exact machine.
This machine is composed of a clear drum with 2 paddles inside that spin in different directions. The paddles spin the rubber balls and mix them and this ensures us that there is a fair number randomization.
When the time comes to pick the numbers, the balls go through a sliding door which is at the bottom of the drum, and into a clear tube. This allows players to see each number clearly at the display area.
Thanks to optical sensors, the gravity machine prevents drawing more balls than necessary. Once the number of desired balls is reached the door closes and the draw ends. The whole process happens in front of the audience so there is no time or place for any tampering.
Before the draw, every ball is tested and it must weigh precisely at 80g. If they don`t, then they are discarded and replaced.
Air-mix machines use ping pong balls for the draw. They are placed inside a clear chamber and a jet of air causes the balls to float and mix. When the time comes, to pick the winning numbers, the operator opens a valve which lets air through a clear tube on top of the machines. Then the balls are sucked into the tube and transferred to the display area, where everyone can see the winning numbers.
All of this happens in front of everyone, so there is no place for any scams whatsoever, thanks to the clear chamber and tubes. Before every draw, the size of each ball is carefully calibrated, and if some balls weigh more or less are discarded and replaced. This is because if some balls are heavier for instance, floating to the tube and the display area would be much difficult.
In the 80s there was a very infamous lottery scandal known as Triple Six Fix. Namely, a TV host of the Philadelphia lottery draw, Nick Perry, took advantage of this fact. So, he and his partners in crime were able to manipulate the weight of the balls and make the draw work in their favor. But, that was a lesson for the lottery officials, and now they have improved the machine security thanks to that.
Other Security Measures
Lottery machine security measures are a top priority, but that is just one aspect of a much larger picture. Each lottery has its own way of testing their machines and the balls to ensure a fair and secure draw. Here are just some examples:
The US Powerball is one of the most popular and widely played lottery games. They use 2 machines for every draw, one for the white balls and the other for the red Powerball. Every year, they do a series of tests to make sure everything is according to their rules. They not only measure the size, weight, and density of each ball, but they also have each ball x-rayed. That is to make sure that nothing has been placed inside them. Each ball set and draw machine are also tested before each draw, to make sure they are working properly.
The Mega Millions takes security very serious, just as the US Powerball. They keep the draw machines and the lottery balls in a secured location, where only a few people have access.
Before the draw, the machines are randomly selected and inspected by third-party auditors. Mega Million`s security team plays a big role here as well. They make sure that the machines and the balls are free of any anomalies.
After the draw is over, additional security tests are conducted. That is to make sure that the draw was fair and there are no signs of tampering whatsoever. This final test is conducted by two Mega Millions officials and an external auditor. And as a final measure, the whole process is recorded on video.
Just like the US Powerball, two machines are used for the Mega Millions lottery as well. One machine is for the first five numbers and the second one is for the Mega Ball.
UK National Lottery
When it comes to UK National Lottery security, there are so many people involved making sure that everything is secure. Each draw is inspected by an external auditor, and there is a Draw Manager that makes sure that the draw runs without any issues. The UK national lottery has the help of the National Lottery Compliance team which makes sure that the draw is held within regulations, and the National Measurement Office conducts additional tests to make sure the lottery balls and the draw machines are up to the highest standards.
Again, the machines are stored in a secure location with limited access, and the seals are checked for tampering before each draw. The balls and the machines are randomly selected before each draw.
The machines that are used by the UK National Lottery have names, which is a fun fact. Some are named after popular figures like Merlin and Lancelot, and others are named after precious stones like Amethyst and Opal.
Traditional vs Computerized Draws
Some lotteries have switched to computerized games only, such as Hot Lotto, Hoosier Lottery, just to name some. These games have their pros, but some experts are worried when it comes to their security.
People are skeptical to use computerized draw systems because of people like Eddie Tipton. This infamous lotto scammer installed a rootkit program inside different lotteries. This is an RNG, or better known as random number generator, machine which allowed him to predict the winning numbers. Eddie Tipton and his cohorts managed to make money for years using this scam.
Potential scammers have more difficulty tampering traditional draws. And even if they manage to get past one security, they will for sure be caught on the next security check. To be honest, it would be difficult to tamper computerized lottery system either. We forgot to mention that Eddie Tipton did what he did, because he was an IT expert and the Multi-State Lottery Association`s security director at the time being. We can`t say that nowadays someone can do the same thing, or can have the same access and knowledge Tipton had.