Could you cheat the lottery?
Lotteries and their draws are managed and conducted in an extremely secure and regulated fashion to prevent cheating. But that does not stop people from trying to cheat the lottery. That’s right. From mild to wild, people think they can actually cheat the lottery and get away with it. And we are talking actual cheating, not trying to beat the lottery using math. Using math to try to win at the lottery, technically is not cheating. This is similar to counting cards at a poker table. It is not illegal, but is highly frowned upon as it gives the “cheater” an advantage over other players who are playing by the rules. So lottery operators and regulators will prevent any type of activity that prevents every player from having an honest and equal chance of winning a prize.
And people really do try. For example, with lottery scratch tickets, cheaters have glued numbers or symbols matching a winning combination, over non winning numbers and symbols on the tickets, hoping that no one will notice and declare them the winner. With both scratch and regular lotteries, they might try to redeem a damaged or illegible non-winning ticket as a winner, citing the ticket’s condition resulting from some crazy story. Some will try to claim a prize without a ticket saying they lost it or it got stolen.
Retailer “scams” don't really cheat the lottery, but cheat other players. These retailer cheats simply check the ticket for the player and let them know if the ticker is a winner or not. The scammers discover the ticket is in fact a winner, but tell the player that it is not. The retailer then either cashes in the ticket themselves or gets someone else to cash the ticket and split the winnings.
Most ways to actually cheat the lottery need to occur by some type of intervention by a lottery insider. For instance, the physical balls used by a blower in a draw would have to be made heavier or larger than six or seven selected balls by the cheater, so that only the lighter or correctly-sized balls will be blown into the draw tray to match the numbers on the cheaters ticket. Another way and insider may try to cheat is to reprogram the computer that runs the Random Number Generator to generate the numbers the cheat wants, to match the numbers on the ticket the cheat bought.
These are only some examples of how people try to cheat on the lottery. Although a rare few may have succeeded, with each attempt comes countermeasures by the gaming industry to rectify the flaw that let the cheating succeed in the first place. So with today’s lotteries, there are many safeguards in place to prevent any type of cheating. For example, with the retailer scam cheat, when tickets are verified at the terminal, winning tickets are now indicated by a noise or tune that plays so the player knows that the ticket is a winner.
For draws, all lottery equipment is kept under lock and key, and under video surveillance. Blowers and balls are verified before and after each draw. For example, all balls are weighed and measured. Random Number Generating software is also secured and examined before and after the draw.
Lottery tickets are now bar coded so that if anybody wanted to cover a number and try to pass it off as a winning ticket, they would fail miserably. Retailer surveillance video, interviews with potential winners, and other measure are utilized to ensure that the player trying to cash in a winning ticket is the person who actually bought the ticket, their signature matches the signature on the ticket, and the ticket is legitimate.
In the end, there is no way to cheat the lottery. With today’s security measures applied to all lotteries and each and every draw, the only thing you will get if you try to cheat the lottery is jail.