A Discussion of Trust and Confidence in the Lottery Industry
A discussion of trust and confidence in the lottery industry
The World Lottery Association magazine published an article, “Enhancing Public Trust in the Lotteries”, that discusses the opportunities available to lotteries adopting electronic draw systems and highlights the importance of maintaining player trust as the industry shifts from mechanical machines to electronic draw systems. (see the link to article at the bottom of this post)
We agree that as the industry moves to electronic draw systems, RNG suppliers must be able to demonstrate the security and integrity of their products and ensure that all winning numbers are true and correct.
The article identifies important characteristics of market-leading RNG products, such as easy integration with multiple platforms and vendors, including with gaming systems and audit and control systems, and the use of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology to provide audit capability and real-time proof of draw integrity. They provide a case study involving the South African Lottery’s Powerball draw in December 2020 where PKI technology preserves game integrity and builds player trust.
According to the article, “Enhancing Public Trust in Lotteries”, the shift to EDSs comes with many operational benefits:
- More game capabilities: Frequent draw games and instant win games are only realistically possible with RNG systems
- Simplified operations: All games can be supported by a single RNG system
- Draw automation: physical procedures can be replaced with automated processes, reducing the need for staff and providing other cost savings.
Describing the historical South African Lottery draw, the article writes
“The Szrek2Solutions verification process covers the detection of hardware and software failures and has the added feature of being able to reproduce the draw. The auditor compared the results of the original draw with the results of this independent verification to provide conclusive evidence for the validity of this specific draw. In contrast, other systems provide only partial evidence or analyze historic data.”
PKI technology enables secure communication over the Internet, Block Chain, Bit Coin and also transparency in RNG.
PKI enables verification of data without knowing how it was created. To make the RNG system transparent, it is enough to generate the RNG seed with PKI technology and to transfer it to an independent verification system. Now, it is possible to verify the correctness of the RNG seed and using the same RNG algorithm (PRNG), recreate the random numbers.
For more information about RNG transparency, see our article in NASPL Insights magazine, “Deconstructing the RNG Black Box”.
Without proper audit and verification, this draw could have shaken up the lottery industry. The lottery was able to build trust by reacting quickly and openly to the situation with the regulator, while also inviting the press to the data center to observe a draw of the same game. All parties were satisfied with the draw’s authenticity.
The article provides criteria for validating lottery draws:
Demonstrate the randomness of the draw,
Verify that no problems occurred during the draw, such as errors in the hardware or software, manipulation or interference, and
Provide proof of the origin and integrity of the numbers drawn.
As lotteries become more digitized, they continue to seek more ways to streamline operations. Physical procedures performed in the draw room or draw studio can now be replaced with automating various parts of the draw. Moving to EDSs improves operations, allows for more types of games, provides backup solutions, and draw continuity. We quote from the article, “The automation of draws allows for manual steps to be replaced with automated processes. This has the benefits of supporting any draw schedule, including outside working hours, and special circumstances, like a lock-down during an emergency. In addition, automation requires less human involvement, decreasing staffing costs and reducing human errors.”
With good reason, many lotteries are concerned about moving to connected systems, due to a perceived lack of transparency or auditability. Many RNG systems do not provide sufficient transparency and auditability for connected environments. We echo the article, noting that lotteries that select an RNG technology that can identify all problems and provide proof of the origin and integrity of numbers can safely streamline their operations through automating draws or using remote configurations. In other words, while connectivity opens draw systems up to different networks, PKI technology will detect any problems that may arise. As we consider this theme of public trust in lotteries, we agree with the article that all draw results should be verified, whether the sequences look unusual or not. We applaud the WLA for bringing forth these important topics around enhancing trust in the lottery industry.
Article from WLA Magazine Issue 61, July 2023