by Max Brantley
After John Walker sued over lottery scratchoff ticket tampering, I filed an FOI request for internal documents related to that issue. I received a bundle of responses late yesterday, much of it routine communication between the Arkansas Lottery and its vendor, Scientific Games, on design and production of the $20 "Arkansas Millionaire" ticket.
There seems to be general agreement that tickets at at least one retail outlet had been tampered with. Pin pricks were used to see if tickets had a winner in a $50 instant winner box on the ticket. Walker's suit alleged also, however, that security director Lance Huey had told an unhappy lottery player who discovered the tampering that there had been problems in the printing of the tickets. The Arkansas Lottery has denied that, including in a statement last night, and continued to sell the tickets.
This particular batch of material, though redacted in some key spots (presumably to protect "proprietary" interests of Scientific Games), includes some e-mails relative to the controversy. In one of them, a Scientific Games employee writes that a simple "bonus spot" feature is "inherently carry more risk" for attempts at tampering, but that a number of design elements are included to make it difficult for cheaters to identify winners without tampering being obvious.
Other notes show Huey was in discussions with Scientific Games about ticket tampering beginning April 24, but the printed record reflects no indications from either side of problems in ticket design, only the report of pin pricks. There were no "security or quality issues" in reviews during the printing, the company said. The printed record doesn't constitute a complete record of lottery and vendor communications, however. Several notes refer to telephone conversations. A redacted portion of one note that I asked about indicate that one of the printing strategies used to make it harder to tamper with the tickets was properly done, Lottery Director Bishop Woosley told me.
By the way: Scientific Games has as much interest as the lottery does as keeping the tickets in play. It printed 3 million of the $20 tickets and will keep 1.92 percent of all sales as a commission. A sellout this would make almost $1.2 million for Scientific Games.