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Tennessee Lotto Special Refund
Tennessee Lotto Special Refund
Effective 8/22 - 9/13/07
Tennessee Lottery Compensates for
Programming Flaw

When Tennessee Lotto officials discovered a program flaw affecting their winning lotto results, they took extra measures to appeal to public opinion as well as steps to correct the computer programming error.

To counteract the impact of the glitch, Tennessee Lotto is temporarily increasing its prize values, and offering double refunds on tickets affected by the error.

It's unclear how much this measure will cost the Tennessee Lotto, but it will certainly have a negative effect on the lottery's revenues in the short term. Tennessee Lotto officials explained that they had hired a New Jersey company to convert their lotto games from a mechanical ball system to a computerized number selection process, which went into effect in late July. Three weeks later, Tennessee Lotto discovered that tickets containing plays with two or more of the same numerals were never selected by the computer process as winning numbers. The Lotto is now considering legal action against the contractor.

What May Have Happened

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While the Tennessee Lotto has not officially disclosed the specifics of the programming error, one scenario is a simple algorithmic error in which winning numbers would never use the same numeral twice. This event is a good example of inadequate software testing. This process is critical to the proper functioning of any computer operation, but generally occurs behind the scenes. Software testing is the unsung hero behind all properly functioning computer operations. Typically, companies that make good software have as many people doing testing (separately) as they do creating the original code.

Tennessee Lotto, and their subcontractor, learned an expensive lesson as to the value of adequate software testing.

Skoubo Graphics is an award-winning multimedia design firm located near Washington DC in Fairfax, Virginia. Technical news, industry updates and reviews are provided as a service for clients at

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