How lottery auditing and regulation works
Since lottery draws are conducted under the rules and regulations of the gaming regulator, everything about the lottery draw has to be one hundred percent above board, honest, transparent, and able to stand up to scrutiny as to the integrity of the entire draw process. As such, lottery operators and regulators contract representatives from independent audit firms, such as an accounting or financial institution, to watch, monitor, record, verify, and question each and every aspect of each and every lottery draw from the very beginning to the very end.
Although paid by the operator, the contracted auditing firm provides a totally non-biased and wholly honest observation and assessment of the draw process. This recording and observation by an independent third-party provides transparency into each and every draw. These firms act as the eyes and ears of the public.
Although each jurisdiction has their own way of ensuring an honest draw, from a generic standpoint, all lottery draws contain the same or similar types of security guidelines and operational procedures.
For instance, at least the auditor and a manager from the lottery department are always present during the entire draw process. They normally arrive at the draw site at least ninety minutes prior to the actual draw. They attend a locked and highly secured restricted access area in which the draw equipment is stored under video surveillance and possibly security personnel as well.
Going through a checklist together, they ensure that the area is secure and has not been breached, and all draw equipment is as it was when the room was sealed after the previous draw. All equipment is examined and verified to be tamper-free.
There are multiple draw machines and ball sets that can be used for each draw. The particular machine and ball set to be used for each draw are randomly selected just before the draw. This prevents anyone from pre-determining what machine or ball set will be used for any particular draw. Audits ensure there are no lottery errors.
Each ball is weighed before and after the draw to ensure that each one weighs within a very small tolerance of variance. The machine goes through a series of tests to ensure it is working properly. If everything checks out ok, the auditor and manager follow the people who are authorized to touch the lottery machine as they push the machine over to the draw studio. The balls are carried by an authorized lottery employee who is the only one allow to access the ball case.
The machine is set up in front of the camera or cameras and the balls are loaded into the machine. The manager and auditor observe the draw process and recording of the draw. They both record the numbers being drawn, and immediately after the draw, examine and weigh the balls to ensure they are the same balls and same weight as what was selected from the secured storage area.
They then accompany the machine and ball set as they are brought back to the storage area, examined one final time, and observed as they are situated in their spots and the area is sealed up again. They then go over the checklists and process to ensure that both have the same information and that there are no discrepancies in what has been observed and recorded. If everything checks out ok, the draw is declared successful and reports are filed.
If there is any discrepancy between the auditor’s and managers notes, then an investigation ensues to see if the discrepancy is just a minor mistake, or something that may impact the integrity of the draw. If a major issue is found, such as one ball changing weight from before the draw to after the draw, then all the ball sets and machines are locked down and investigated and examined. If anything outside of the ordinary is found, the draw could be declared null and void and will have to be pulled again once the investigation is complete and the issue, mistake or deliberate, is determined and dealt with.
Like every other game or machine in the gaming industry, lotteries are subject to the same scrutiny and honesty to ensure the gaming public has the confidence and trust that lotteries are being conduct with their best interest in mind. So next time you buy a ticket, take comfort in the knowledge that the draw is truly random, and truly regulated.