On The Ball: Closing The Draw
There is a lot more to a lottery draw than you might think.
Before any draw can take place, there is a series of processes and procedures that we need to go through to ensure that every customer who purchased a ticket has a valid entry into the draw.
To find out more about these processes we chatted to Geoff Hackney, Game Administration Manager, at the Lott.
Before a draw is conducted you need to formally close the draw. Tell us more about what this means and how this process takes place?
“Before any of our draws can take place, we have to conduct a series of actions for what we term ‘closing a draw’. At the scheduled draw closure time, my team, auditors and regulatory representatives are onsite to ensure all pre-draw processing activities and checks are completed before we can begin the draw.
This process begins by stopping any further entries being bought into the draw from our retail outlets and online. Once selling stops, our lottery computer system - which contains all of the entries into the draw - provides important data and reports. This process confirms all entries in the draw are valid entries. This information is provided to a third party to ensure the records of this particular draw are isolated and auditable.
For our national games, such as Oz Lotto, Powerball and Lotto, we are responsible for closing the draw in each of the states and territories we are licensed to operate lotteries in. This means coordinating prize pool contributions, data and reporting for each of the Australian states and territories, except Western Australia. Lotterywest looks after Western Australia, so it provides the same information for all Western Australian entries.”
What is the process of verifying the entries and why this is important for the draw?
“The entries into the draw need to be verified by our team, and in some cases regulators, as part of the lotteries process. This ensures the integrity of our draw. You can imagine that it’s absolutely critical to ensure we have every entry into the draw accounted for before it starts.
Similarly, we need to ensure there is no way for other entries to be entered after the draw is conducted. We also need to calculate all of the appropriate prize pools in preparation for paying prizes to the winners.”
In very rare circumstances, draw results can be delayed. Can you share with us why this happens?
“Well, there can be a number of reasons for this. When more people are buying entries into a draw, a big Powerball jackpot, for example, this takes longer for our team to verify because of the increased number of entries.
We always try and conduct draws as quickly as possible after draw close, so if the result information is slower than usual, this can be because all of the checks and balances take longer to complete.
The lottery system we use is also very complex, so if during our checks and balances we discover an inconsistency, this may take some time to investigate and resolve with the relevant regulators and auditors present.”
What happens when all of the checks have been completed?
“This is when the draw can take place. For those draws conducted at the Channel 7 studio, we talk with our team who are present there to give them the clearance to proceed.”
To find out more about our lottery draw processes, and more behind the scenes info check out our On the Ball series on YouTube.