Errors in Lottery Draws

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Errors in Lottery Draws
  • Author:
    William Monroe
  • Published:

Although lottery draws and results usually always go off without a hitch, there are times, albeit very rare times, when things don’t always go according to plan. So what happens when a lottery drawing or game encounters a problem that can affect the outcome of the draw,and the players who have bought tickets?

Mistakes do Happen!

Most lottery jurisdictions have rules and procedures in place that address such issues. Most jurisdictions never have to put these emergency measures into place. But for those that do, the response is to ensure that the integrity of the draw and payouts to the players are 100% random, done in the most honest and transparent fashion possible, and address the issue that has occurred.

What kind of errors can affect lotteries? As an example, for one lottery drawing, there was a programming error which generated a repetitive amount of winning tickets (the same tickets over and over again) during a two-hour period. In this case, the game was suspended, players were told not to throw out or destroy their tickets, and an investigation ensued. The drawing was declared null and void and new drawing was held without any issues.For another draw, lottery terminal printers were only printing out one half of the side of the ticket. The main server had to be rebooted for the proper data to be sent to the printers.

When mechanical or electronic errors like this occur, in most jurisdictions, the draw is considered null and void and all tickets purchased for the draw are declared still valid and eligible to be included in the next draw. As an example, there may be a draw in which an error occurs in which many purchased tickets have not entered the database system and therefore are not included in the draw. The draw would be declared void and the non-included tickets would be entered into system. These types of lottery malfunctions affect all players in the draw whether or not they are directly hit by the error.

On the other side of the issue, the actual lottery tickets themselves also fall under a number of other “malfunctions” that will cause the actual ticket to be declared null and void for an individual ticket purchaser. Tickets that are misprinted, illegible, or cut incorrectly at the terminal are void. So are tickets that are defective in any way.

Playing the lottery can be compared to playing a slot machine. For instance, on every slot machine you will find, somewhere on the top, middle, or bottom glass or elsewhere on the machine, a disclaimer that reads, “Malfunction voids all pays and plays” or some other wording similar to this. This disclaimer is a legal notice that if the slot machine malfunctions in any way, any actual, perceived, or other “winning combination” or any other type of win is null and void. This also applies to the game played itself. The play is also considered null and void. The player is not entitled to any winnings and the cost of the game play is refunded to the customer. This applies to mechanical reel slots (such as reel strip slippage or damaged reel motors) and video slots (monitors going blank or fuzzy, cpu/motherboard/daughter board problems, and critical or fatal computing errors.)

This disclaimer for slots and similar disclaimers, rules, and regulations related to lottery draws, protect the operator from having pay out any monies for non-legitimate results and regulators to avoid having to investigate small non-regulatory problems. The player automatically agrees to this disclaimer when they put in their money and press the spin button, or purchase a ticket. So if a malfunction occurs, the player cannot argue against it, though many try.

If you ever find yourself with a ticket in which the drawing has a malfunction or other type of error, don’t panic and don’t even think you have won anything even if you are sure you have. Check you ticket when you buy it to make sure it is printed correctly with all the information required to be show on it to be validate as a valid ticket. If you see an error, bring it to the cashier’s attention right away so it can be rectified or investigated. Never discard your ticket after a draw or after you check it. Keep it for a week just to ensure that no errors have occurred for the draw.

Although lottery errors are extremely rare, they do happen. Keep calm and cool, don’t freak out, and heed the advice of the lottery operator/regulator. Who knows? That win you thought you got may just turn into a legitimate one after all.

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