Posted by Ion Saliu on June 17, 2000.
• While experiencing nasty tooth pain, I tried to keep my thoughts as far as I could from that event. I had the same experience on March 13, 1988. I remember the date because of the ’13’ issue (I used to be superstitious up until I was also religious, in the Web Era, Before – WEB). On that day, March 13, 1988, while in pain, I came up with the single missing piece of my lottery software. There was something I hadn’t been able to program the lottery up until then.
This time, in the Web Era – WE, I realized that the state lotteries are not in the Internet era yet! Why don’t they run their businesses online as well? It would be very easy for all state-run lotteries to conduct part of their business over the Internet. Here are some of my points.
A lottery player can pay by credit card, or open an account. Opening an account would make every player a lot more responsible: Nobody can go further than his or her means. The lottery would know immediately every lottery winner and mail the checks immediately. No more lost tickets, or winners who do not claim the prizes, etc. That means fairness, because many prizes are never claimed.
The player can use quick-picks or feed-in data files. Let’s say you want to play 1000 lotto combinations. It is very, very hard to fill out that many playing slips! Plus, the manual process is very error prone. Instead, the player can send a simple text (ASCII) file. ASCII is a universal data format and the easiest of them all. No special databases are needed. The player can also type his or her combinations in a text box. The lottery software can confirm immediately how many combinations were played, what the cost was, how much is left in the account, etc. In addition, the lotteries would save some serious money and trees. There is so much wasting of paper with all those play slips!
There would no longer be long standing lines, especially when the lotto jackpot is big. Personally, I am always irritated when standing in line at a lottery terminal. You hear questions such as “What numbers do you play? Why? How much have you won or lost…”
There are many other advantages to running the state lotteries over the Internet (in addition to their land-based business).
I am sure this is the way of the future. Why don’t the state lotteries start it sooner? What do you think? If you agree with me, just send a message to your state lottery commission or agency. They should be glad to receive suggestions.
Best of luck!
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