The lottery can be rigged!

Brothers Eddy and Tommy Tipton are accused of taking part in a conspiracy, after allegedly rigging six lottery jackpots worth $19 million in five states. Tommy Tipton is a former Texas justice of the peace. He was arrested Wednesday in Iowa. Josh Elliott reports on how secret computer codes may have been the key to their scheme.

A former lottery official sentenced to 10 years in prison for rigging a $14 million lottery jackpot in Iowa has now been linked to alleged scams in two other states.

A man who helped write the computer code behind several U.S. lotteries, including some of its biggest, pleaded guilty Thursday to masterminding a scheme through which he rigged the winning numbers for jackpots in several states and collected millions.


When you are talking about winnings approaching or over 1 BILLION dollars (or even 100’s of Millions) of course someone will figure out a way to increase their odds or just outright cheat. For that kind of money, who knows?

With that kind of cash at risk, there is not amount of money some crooks won’t spend to go after the computers that generate the tickets or spew out the winning numbers.

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The truth is that no system is totally secure. People inside a secure computer facility can be bribed – after all to some programmer making 50k a year, the thought of getting a couple of million in cash (or more!) would probably be enough to make them at least consider the idea. After all, they’re only human, too.

Where there are human beings involved, there is always a weak link in the chain no matter how carefully they are selected, screened, background checked, etc. A sick spouse or child and medical bills that are in the 100’s of thousands or beyond, or a gambling habit carefully concealed yet leaving someone owing loan sharks six figures or beyond – and their family being threatened unless the debt is paid – that’s enough to make even the most honest of employees consider doing a one-time ‘adjustment’ to a programming sequence that results in a known outcome vs an unknowable outcome – and the chances of getting caught are minuscule if the adjustment is done right and all records of the log-in are deleted, and the back-ups overwritten with a new one. Not easily done but far from impossible for anyone who knows the system language and programming on which it runs.

The amazing thing is that it doesn’t happen more often – or maybe it does and the rest of us just never know it because the perpetrators are not caught. Who knows. But 1, or 1.6 billion dollars would be enough to tempt the most honest and even saintly among us…at least most of us.


h/t Voluntaryist & Mark


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