Lottery Malfunctions

When it all goes wrong
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Lottery Malfunctions
  • Author:
    William Monroe
  • Published:

For almost every lottery draw, the draw goes off without a hitch and everything works as planned.

The balls get blown around the bowl, one ball flies up a chute, it gets removed and placed into a holder, and the final bonus ball is removed from the chute and the draw is over.

Simple and easy. But there are times when the simple and easy becomes hard and difficult, and a real pain in the lottery operator’s processes.

When is goes wrong

Whenever a draw doesn’t go properly due to human or mechanical error, it is considered a malfunction, and voids the draw and any numbers that have been drawn.

Essentially, the draw is declared null and void and as if it never happened. The game needs to be drawn fresh. In some cases, if there seems to be an integrity issue with a draw, the draw may continue until all the balls are drawn, players are told to hold onto tickets until an investigation is completed, and then depending on the outcome, tickets are refunded or paid out.

Types of malfunctions

With lottery ball machines, there can be several types of malfunctions that would void the draw.

One instance would be if more than one ball came out at a time from the blower chutes. Whether the balls automatically pop out the chute and are released into tube, or whether the balls are manually pulled from the chute and placed into a holder by a host, is irrelevant.

There are stoppers to ensure only one ball at a time is allowed through. If the stoppers fail, then many balls just fly out all over the place and cause the draw to immediately end. The draw would then have to be declared null and void and a new draw held.

Another malfunction with ball draws is a ball getting stuck in the chute, two balls stuck in the chute at once, or a malfunction in the blower in which the blower would turn off as a ball is coming up the chute, causing it to fall back into the bowl.

If there is an issue with one or more of the balls after the draw, such as a changes in weight, a piece of the ball is missing, or the graphic smudged, this would cause the draw to be placed on hold until an investigation is completed.

If there is any issue with the official auditor, usually a member of an independent accounting firm, where due to sickness or other issue is unable to attend or complete the observation of the entire draw, the draw may have to be redone.

Random Number Generator machines

For Random Number Generator machines (in which the draw numbers are generated by a random computer program), again several things can go wrong.

A programming glitch or address fault could cause the RNG to spit out the same sequence of numbers for the jackpot over several draws.

When this is discovered, all those games are null and void even if prizes have been awarded. Depending on the operator and/or jurisdiction, the wins may either have to be given back, or more likely, any winner paid a prize would keep it and other prizes not paid out yet declared invalid.

Another RNG issue is when the numbers generated by the RNG are outside of the parameters of the game. For instance, if the game is to select six numbers between 1 and 75, and the RNG generates a 0, -984, 76, 8723548, and so forth, then the game is invalid. Glitches, address corruption, and other things such as tampering, may be the cause of such an issue.

When draws are declared null and void, an investigation into the issue commences while the draw is redone with backup machines or RNG’s. The faulty equipment will not be placed back into service until the exact cause of the issue is determined and a permanent resolution is employed. Once equipment is place back into service, it is monitored very closely to ensure the issue does not happen again.

Legitimate wins only occur when a draw takes place without any issues or problems. In the rare instance that something does happen, the draws are declared invalid but the tickets are still good for a replacement draw.

Don’t worry if this happens to a draw you have tickets for. If you hit any numbers, it doesn’t matter because it is as if that draw never happened. Relax and see if your luck shines on you with the replacement draw.

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