On The Ball: The Lottery Balls
One of the many ways the Lott ensures the integrity of each of its lottery draws is to ensure all lottery balls are of equal weight and size.
This ensures every number has an equal chance of being drawn by the lottery draw machines.
To do this, we work closely with the National Measurement Insitute, which is the leading Australian authority on all things measurement. They manage the measurement of everything from trade measurement certifications to food testing, and yes… even lottery balls.
To find out more about why accurate measurement of the lottery balls is so important, we spoke with Malcolm Bartlett, Manager of the Trade Measurement Services at the National Measurement Institute.
What kind of work do you do at the National Measurement Institute?
“It’s the job of the National Measurement Institute to maintain the system that ensures the accuracy of commercial and scientific measurements across Australia. If you need to measure it – we can do it!
This covers everything from calibrating scientific instruments through to the chemical and biological analysis of food. We also provide support and advice on measurements made for legal purposes; assist industries to develop new measurement methods, and administer Australia’s national trade measurement system.”
Looking specifically at lottery balls, why is it important that these are weighed?
“We weigh these balls at the request of the Lott to make sure each ball weighs within the same small range. We provide a report to the Lott confirming the weight of each ball to within one-thousandth of a gram.
The equal weight of the balls ensures they each have an equal chance of being drawn by the lottery draw machine.
We can be confident about the accuracy of our measurements because the scales we use here in the Brisbane Trade Measurement lab have been calibrated to the Australian standard kilogram.
The Australian standard is kept under special conditions at our headquarters in Sydney and is checked regularly to make sure it matches with the international weight standard in Paris.”
How often are the lottery balls checked?
“We usually check the weight of the lottery balls about once a year under the close supervision of government officials.”
What is the weirdest thing you’ve weighed here at the National Measurement Institute?
“There is so much more to measurement than you may think. For example, we play a vital role in ensuring your car windscreen complies with the Australian standard, and therefore keeps you safe as you drive.
We do this by weighing the special bags used to test these windscreens. The bags are dropped from a height, which we also measure, to ensure it complies with Australian standards and keeps you all safe.”
To find out more behind-the-scenes information about our lottery draws, check out the On the Ball series on YouTube.