The Great Lottery Debate: Computerized Draws vs. Lottery Balls


Last updated on February 14, 2024

I don’t think computerized draws are necessarily evil. However, I believe fun and excitement are better experienced through mechanical drawing using lottery balls since people can see the game in action.

A computer-based draw must be designed properly to produce an outcome based on a truly random process and not through mathematical calculations. For example, the lotto operator connects the computer to a device that collects atmospheric noise or to a device that measures radioactive decay. I mentioned the above two methods because these are the best examples of removing the mathematical relationship from the drawing process.

For those lotto players who don’t know, a computer is a precise machine that blindly obeys instructions. So if the drawing is done using mathematical calculation (A.K.A. Pseudo-Random Number Generator), then you should be complaining. To understand why this matters, read A Truly Random Lottery with a Deterministic Outcome.

Lottery officials must ensure that their computerized draws do not rely on a predictable number generator. Notably, a computer simulation program employing this PRNG display the same streaks and clustering patterns, even when run on separate computer machines.
The image above describes how a computer program generates predictable results using a Random Number Generator mathematical algorithm.

When running on separate machines, a pseudorandom number generator simulation program shows the same streaks and clustering patterns.

As a lotto player, you can ask the lotto operators. How does the computer generate the numbers? You have the right to know.

Is Rigging Computerized Draws Possible?

Well, it’s been done if you know Eddie Tipton’s story.1

Of course, with proper setup, rigging may be prevented, but with careless setup, shifting from traditional balls to computerized draws may open the door for another white-collar fraud. I don’t want to be negative, but I want to point out that such a possibility exists.

Don’t forget the Iowa lottery fraud incident, considered the biggest lottery scam in U.S. history.2

More to Computerized Draws Than Meets the Eye

Canada Lotto 6/49 and Lotto Max started to operate on a computerized drawing on May 14, 2019, as Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) finally retired the lottery balls.

When people don’t see the drawing in action, how will ALC answer the angry mob when they think something is happening?

Just look at the many unusual events in the past where people have clamored for explanations. For example, why did one guy win twice in a row? Or why does the same combination occur twice in a row?3

Of course, truth be told, when given enough opportunities, many unusual events can take place in the lottery. This is the effect of the law of truly large numbers in mathematics.4

For mathematicians who understand genuine randomness, drawing the same combinations twice in a row is nothing unusual.

The problem is that some people find it hard to believe that all these rare events are normal in a random lottery game. This highlights the difference between mathematical reality and public perception.

It takes a lot of explaining when coincidences occur under the traditional mechanical draw, let alone under computerized draws.

Audit and The Question of Randomness

Greg Weston, a spokesperson for Atlantic Lottery, told CBC’s Mainstreet:

“We actually have two sets of auditors: one who is on-site and they can examine the results to make sure that everything went according to plan, and then we have another set of auditors in a completely different location who also checks the results to make sure that the results match and so that way there’s just lots of checks and balances.”5

But ALC never mentioned anything about a third party. It’s crucial to have another set of eyes that will check the validity of the computer algorithm before the computer can run.

And there was no mention of how the computer generates the numbers. In my opinion, this is the most important question to be answered.

Again, a computer-based random algorithm is not truly random if not done correctly. Please read A Truly Random Lottery with a Deterministic Outcome.

Drawing Transparency

If the computer is connected to a network, then we have some big security issues to deal with in the first place.

But how about an inside job?

People don’t see a computer script running in the background controlling this. Again, look at Eddie Tipton’s case. Eddie is a computer programmer assigned to write the algorithm that generates random numbers for the Multi-State Lottery Association. He created a random number generator that would produce special combinations on a certain day, which no one knew about but him.

I can’t stress highly enough how important it is that people see what’s going on. The set of instructions must be checked before each draw takes place to ensure that the set of instructions produces fair results.

For me, it’s still better when people see the winning numbers popping out of the machine. Ensuring genuine randomness is beyond the reach of human manipulation.

People are more confident when they see the balls put on the weighing scale live on national television. Everyone wants to see third-party people auditing the drawing process to ensure unpredictability and fairness. Those extra validations add to the excitement of the game.

The Domino Effect

What lottery will be next? The U.S. Powerball? Then, the U.K. National Lottery? Then, Irish Lottery? Then Tatts Lotto?

The possibility is open. The temptation exists. And again, it’s been done. And the court found the perpetrators guilty. Let’s cross our fingers that history may not repeat itself.

Careful planning is required. We count on all lottery operators to protect the gaming public’s interest. Canada lotto players, be vigilant.

Questions and Answers

Are computerized lottery draws more susceptible to rigging than traditional ball draws?

Yes. While both systems can be secure, the inherent complexities of computer systems can make them more vulnerable if not properly managed. This vulnerability can come from internal and external sources, such as unauthorized access, programming errors, or manipulation by those with access to the system. Ensuring stringent security measures, independent audits, and transparency in the drawing process are key to maintaining trust in the fairness of computerized draws.

How does public perception differ between computerized draws and traditional ball draws?

People tend to trust traditional ball draws more because they are visible and easily understood. The physical process of drawing balls is familiar and straightforward, leading to a sense of fairness and randomness. In contrast, computerized draws, being less transparent and harder to understand, often raise skepticism among the public. The lack of visual representation of the drawing process in computerized systems can lead to doubts about their integrity and fairness.

What is crucial for ensuring the fairness of computerized lottery draws?

Ensuring the fairness of computerized lottery draws hinges on several critical factors. First, the system must generate results that are entirely unpredictable and not influenced by mathematical calculations or any external or internal factors. Secondly, rigorous and regular audits, preferably by independent third parties, are essential to maintain the system’s integrity. These audits help in detecting any anomalies or potential security breaches. Additionally, transparency in the drawing process, where the methodology is openly shared and understood, helps build public trust.

Can the same number combinations occur in consecutive draws?

Yes, it’s mathematically possible for the same combination to occur in consecutive draws in a lottery. While it might seem highly improbable, the random nature of lottery draws means that each draw is independent of the previous one. This implies that repeat occurrences, though rare, are within the realm of possibility.

What are the concerns regarding computerized draws being connected to a network?

A network-connected system is vulnerable to external hacking, potentially compromising the integrity of the draw. Additionally, there’s a risk of an inside job where someone with access to the system could manipulate the results. These risks necessitate robust security protocols to protect the drawing process from unauthorized interference.

Lotto Players: Your Opinion Matters

These are all just my two cents. Of course, deciding whether or not this computer-based lottery drawing is bad is up to you. Voice out your opinion.

Don’t forget to visit my other articles below:

Lottery Wheel: A Clever Mathematical Strategy That Works

How to Win the Lottery According to Math

The Winning Lottery Formula Using Math

Additional Resources

  1. Iowa computer programmer gets 25 years for lottery scam    []
  2. The Hot Lotto Scandal: Computer Codes, Cons and Bigfoot    []
  3. Unusual Combinations and Coincidences in the Lottery    []
  4. Math Explains Likely Long Shots, Miracles and Winning the Lottery    []
  5. Atlantic Lottery is retiring its balls that pick the winners    []


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  • Ever since they went to the computer system to pick the winning numbers, almost all of the winning tickets are in Quebec and Ontario. Nobody can tell me it isn’t fixed.

    • Hi Michael, if the majority of players come from Quebec and Ontario, then the probability is that most players come from Quebec and Ontario if we tally the results by a large number of draws. So that’s not something unusual. I don’t live in Canada so I have no access to the raw data. Of course, a computerized drawing is secured and still truly random. My position is that mechanical drawing is more fun and everyone can see what’s happening.

  • I believe it is programmatically rigged!!!
    Evidence. I bought two tickets on the same day using my favorite numbers.
    No problem, They were for Western max and Lotto max. So far ok.
    When I checked the QP random numbers They were IDENTICAL
    Both tickets with both random lines were exactly the same. Thats statistically as close to
    impossible as you can get. Since they were on different lotteries for the same day… the odds are in the trillions.
    I won’t be buying these tickets again. (not sure about 6/49 if its associated.)

  • Quote:—–
    “We actually have two sets of auditors: one who is on-site and they can examine the results to make sure that everything went according to plan, and then we have another set of auditors in a completely different location who also checks the results to make sure that the results match and so that way there’s just lots of checks and balances.”

    Thats where it gets muddy trying to convince players all is well but if you really read what was said it amounts to nothing said, zero zilch nada.

    “one who is on-site and they can examine the results to make sure that everything went according to plan”
    What plan?

    “then we have another set of auditors in a completely different location who also checks the results to make sure that the results match”
    Match what?

    As soon as they switched to Computer Drawing, the rigging stage was set to control the outcome of any drawing if need to. Winners will win when the OLG determines a winner is overdue.

    • You’re 100% correct. Soon as the various draws close & no more tickets can be purchased, the OLG & the other lotto corps simply use their computer to spit out number combinations that nobody has played or the the least amount played. This can be done will all the games, pick2 pick3 pick4 daily keno, poker lotto, lottario, 49, lotto max & 6/49.

  • I don’t like and don’t trust the computer draw. Now there is only winner ticket from Quebec or Ontario. It was not like that before, there were more winners from other provinces.

  • This article is so bad and just totally propagating all kinds of misinformation its laughable. Yes the ALC and OLG are computerized, but saying computerized draws are not rigged is just blatant blindness in that regard. All Lotto draws are collected into a central data system where the Computer that’s generation the winning number is control and operated by an “systems analyst” as it were. The Analyst for said lotto basically inputs data criteria into the system that will either produce a winning number, max payout per prize category, region or whether or not to let the jackpot carry over.

    Computerized lotto draws are wholly control and rigged by the lotto operators/owners which unless you’ve been living under a rock is owned and operator by the GOV. in Canada. There is nothing fair about lotto jackpots being drawn by a computerized system, be it 6/49, Lotto Max. or any other lotto the point is it’s “CONTROLLED” and not a fair gaming/gambling system. “The house always wins” #RIGGEDLOTTO #OLG/ALC/SCAM

  • I have a question…. Why does it take more than 2 hours to post the winning lottery numbers in B.C. ? It is a 5 min. job and then the breakdown can be figured out and posted later….Does the lottery corporation use an algorithm that starts at exactly 7:30 that is designed to get the lottery corporation the best outcome for them ? I’m talking about a computer generated lotto like the BC 49 , if it takes them at least 2 hours to post the numbers , any number of things can happen in the interim . FYI… the BC lotto top prize was only won twice in 2021 ???

  • Firstly, the Canadian lotto corps use this very computer to spit out a set of 6 or 7 numbers that nobody has picked. This is why you see the max often go to 70 million & not get won for several draws. The only reason that they eventually have no choice to give the jackpot away is that so many people buy tickets that all possible number combinations are picked. Secondly, the so called supervision of lotto draws to see their legit is total bs. I’m certain they pay the individuals who ” over see” the draws a nice amout of cash to say everything is all legit. Hey if I was the guy there observing the draw & they said keep your mouth shut & we’ll give you $10.000 for each draw, I’d keep my mouth shut too. I’m sure they have to sign a non disclosure document also so if they get mad at the lotto corps they can’t say anything without being sued for millions. You can tell how rigged all lotto games are compared to back in the 1980’s. My parents use to play 6/49 back in the 80’s & would win with 3 or 4 numbers fairly often, now you can’t even win a free ticket more than once or twice a year so tell me it’s not rigged. I’ve been playing various OLG lotto games since I was 18 & now I’m 57 & have never won more than $100.00 ever. It’s all rigged, it’s all about maximum profit for the lotto corps & minimum payout of prizes for customers.

  • I think the lotto max is rigged I’m gonna get a group over 3000 people too contest this once and for all…. This sould be live on tv with the balls like in the past I will garantee I get the prove that this is rigged I spent over 600 this month in lotto not too could the moth before this so it’s time too get people together too find this out and another thing it sould not be done by computer because a Computer could rig anything bring back the lotto max live on tv….

    • This is important. more people would actually buy lotto tickets with a mechanical system. The computerized system just puts a suspicious nature to it all. The corporation has definitely calculated the ratio of lost customers and are making it up with the rigged system.

  • Lotto 649 has changed over the years (since its birth in 1982). The purchase cost per ticket has tripled (was $1, now $3 per play), now a “random generator – computer ” decides the winning numbers, used to be those genuine balls live on TV or your local news, we used to watch the jackpot grow – that is gone too, Classic draw now capped at $5 million, and the Gold Ball game is Lotto’s compromise to the jackpot we all dreamed of “one day” – it has little value to those loyal lotto players who felt luck was based upon chance, Now luck is lost up the ever discombobulated electronic pipeline, the “new” 649 is not how the grass used to grow. In ones dreams, the grass has always be green, I suppose that growth / greed and profit are the driving force in once was a fun dream to have. Too bad that 649 had to change the grass colour to something that no longer resembles its origins.


    Randomly popped up on my feed.

    To be honest… yeah you can win the lotto, but what pisses players off in the WCLC region is there’s no accountability. When was the last time the machine (computer) was calibrated??
    There’s no correlation on regional games like the pick lottos or Keno and the extra… how much was spent?! Why are the avid gamblers noticing a trend in frequent non-winners when it comes to certain games? The Other 2 issues is the lottery will not take advice from players- the players want a voice on how the draw is conducted, the slips we use to pick our numbers can be better etc. Yet the lottery rarely reaches out for marketing and promoting. Try to cash in a ticket. Good luck, most retailers don’t carry cash… casinos, most, hate cashing in lottery tickets and when you book and appointment it’s a gong show, no more walk ins and Covid is non-existent now. Definitely needs improvement all around. The WCLC is out dated and is reckless.

  • I truly believe that they have set this up so they can have the generator choose the numbers with the least pay out. I’ve played the same 7 numbers on keno for 2 months. Never seen my numbers pay out once. The day after I stopped 5 of the 7 came in. 3 days later 6 of the 7 came in. Then I started playing again and for another month nothing. I question the auto generated system.

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