Lottery modernizes with shift to random number generator system
As the Maryland Lottery prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2023, it is embracing the future with the launch of digital drawings for Pick 3, Pick 4 and Pick 5, as well as Bonus Match 5 and Multi-Match.
Beginning December 19, the drawings for all five games will be conducted using a computer system called a random number generator (RNG), which will replace the numbered Lottery balls and mechanical drawing machines.
“Lottery balls and machines have been part of the Maryland Lottery’s history, but it’s important for us to modernize as we look forward to the next 50 years and beyond,” said Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin. “More than 30 other lotteries in the U.S. and Canada have shifted to RNG systems because they are efficient, cost-effective — and most importantly they are extremely secure.”
RNG systems are nothing new to the Maryland Lottery, or to its players. Similar systems have been used for decades to produce randomly generated sets of numbers for quick-pick tickets, as well as all drawing results in Racetrax and Keno, which were the Lottery’s second- and third-highest selling draw games in Fiscal Year 2022.
Smartplay International Lottery Systems produced the RNG that will be used to conduct Maryland Lottery drawings. The company is based in New Jersey and supplies similar systems to lotteries around the world.
Stringent measures are in place to protect the integrity of the drawings. The Smartplay RNG system is not connected to the internet and cannot be accessed remotely. The system is housed in a secure room that is double-locked and under 24-7 video surveillance. Two drawing officials with separate electronic access cards must be present in order to open the door to the room. The Smartplay cabinet is also double-locked and cannot be opened without two drawing officials each using separate keys. In addition, the vital hardware and software are sealed within the cabinet, and the system is rendered inoperable if the seal is broken.
The Smartplay RNG has been tested and validated by Gaming Laboratories International, a leader in the gaming industry that specializes in verification and integrity factors for lotteries and casino gaming regulators throughout the world.
“From our players’ perspective, nothing in the way the games are played is changing,” Martin said. “We still have the same games with the same prize structures, drawn at the same times each day. And as always, the outcomes are purely the result of random chance.”
Beginning December 19, Maryland Lottery drawings will not be televised, but animated videos of the drawings — similar to those used in Keno — will be available on the Watch the Drawings page of mdlottery.com. Winning numbers are published on the Lottery’s website and the Lottery’s mobile app, and are also available on the Winning Numbers phone line (410-230-8830).
The switch to RNG drawings does not impact the three multi-state games that are available in Maryland. Cash4Life, Mega Millions and Powerball drawings are conducted by other state lotteries (Cash4Life in New Jersey; Mega Millions in Georgia; and Powerball in Florida) and will continue using numbered balls and mechanical drawing machines. Videos of Cash4Life, Mega Millions and Powerball drawings can be accessed via the Watch the Drawings page on the Lottery’s website.