Lottery games are shrouded in mystery. When players go online to enter lottery draws, there’s no machines to watch or balls to see. There’s just the line to play and waiting for the numbers to appear. Even with online games being entered, a real lottery is still being played. There are specific balls for specific games, with some games having more than one machine and others having different ball weights and sets. Let’s find out more about it.
Ball or Nothing
Lottery balls vary from game to game. Powerball balls, for example, are stored in black cases before they are used for a game. Powerball balls and EuroMillions balls are under strict supervision when they are not in use due to the risk of tampering for fraudulent gains. Some people believe that lottery balls are painted ping pong balls and others think that they are rubber bouncy balls that fly around the machine before being sorted and released.
Obviously, the security in any game with millions of dollars at stake is going to be high, and the lottery is kept a very close secret for that very reason. For the big jackpots and Powerball especially, there have to be three people present to unlock the vault that even holds the machine and balls. This is to ensure that the machines are not tampered with and the balls are kept under watch - given the two cameras that monitor the vault itself, it'd be hard to tamper with them!
Visitors who go to the lottery HQ and want to see the machines and balls are only allowed to hold retired balls from lottery games. They are rubbery, and those who handle them must wear gloves to protect them from grime. The balls themselves are chosen at random for a draw, and they are mostly made of either solid latex or gum rubber. They weigh around 80 grams and have a lifespan of about two years. Lottery balls across all games have to be carefully matched in their weight to avoid bias in the game. The weirdest bit? The balls have to undergo strict steps for ball production, and the quality control alone has 14 steps!
Machines: They Don't Run Themselves
There are two primary lottery machines that are used across lottery games, and these are air mix or gravity pick. Most lotteries won’t use both machines, choosing one or the other. Both are designed to produce random number combinations, and they are proven to do so through rigorous testing. No matter what, the lottery balls are visible through the mixing process and then in the draw. There are never any hidden balls, and none disappear in the chambers or tubes, which was designed that way to prevent any tampering occurring. Viewers can then feel confident that the game is real and not fixed.
It's well known that the gravity pick machine is more secure than the air mix, but this is mainly due to the Pennsylvania tampering scandal of 1980. In the gravity pick machine, two paddles spin in opposite directions and mix the balls. There is a sliding door beneath the chamber and one at a time, the balls come through. The air mix uses lighter balls that are very carefully calibrated for the weight and size the machine needs. These use air jets to blow the balls through the chamber to mix them up.
The machines and balls are heavily monitored for security and fair play - all so that players get the best possible outcome.