Are Lottery Ticket Scanners Reliable?

September 16th, 2012   ·   Read 6 Comments...

In the main, I’m sure the ticket scanners are pretty darn reliable. They’re certainly well tested.

But how many incorrect scans is acceptable? 1 in a 100, 1 in a 1000?

Is even 1 in a million acceptable? Particularly when that scan could be the only thing that determines if you claim a jackpot or put that lottery ticket in the bin.

A Florida lottery player, Zack McDonald, now has serious concerns about using the ticket scanners, after an incident where he claims the first scan of his ticket showed a loser. But on a second scan it revealed a winning ticket.

His ticket was only worth $6, but what if it had been more, and he hadn’t double checked it? What if 1 in a million, or even1 in a 100 million tickets that are scanned are incorrectly showing a losing ticket?

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According to GTech, the firm that makes Florida’s scanning machines, their records show a different ticket was used in the self scanner to the one then presented for scanning by the retail assistant. Zack says that’s not the case, as he only ever buys a Powerball ticket and a Lotto ticket so there was no other ticket to get mixed up.

If GTech’s records show another ticket as being scanned could that not simply mean the scanner misread the ticket? They haven’t released the specific information, so we don’t know if that ‘other’ ticket was likely to be one bought by Zack or a ticket bought in a completely different part of Florida.

This should greatly concern all lottery players, as many players do rely solely on self-scan ticket machines to check their results.

The best advice we can give to avoid the possibility of a problem, is to always check your results using 2 different sources.

So by all means use the self-scanners, but check first with the TV or newspaper results. It’s actually more fun to check one number at a time – particularly if you’re watching the live draw.

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Your Comments ↓

  • Steven

    I won $6 off a ticket, but it wasn’t a winner… So how did I win? Did I match up a portion of the numbers?

  • Joyce Randall

    I bought 3 sparkling surprise $3.00 scratch offs. The cashier took them to the side to check them for me. The machine lit up green twice and red once. Was one of them a winner, because of the difference of colors? Please explain.

    • Lottery Blog

      It varies but often machines also play a winner sound too. What did the cashier say? I would recommend contacting the official lottery company to ask them (their website will have contact details) – if you can tell them the store, the date and approx time the tickets were scanned that will help them greatly too.

      Personally I would always recommend checking tickets yourself before handing them over to anyone else to check. The vast majority of cashiers are perfectly honest, but just for your own peace of mind.

  • Karen E Riegle

    I purchased a $5 scratchoff, then found it had a 5X over the 2. The machine reader awarded only $5 to the dismay of the surrounding Publix employees. They had never seen this. The manager stated the code on the front and the one on the back did not match as they should. Not a big deal in amount but the implicit trust we put in the machine readers should have some responsibility for errors.

  • Craig Clemens

    I just had a retailer scan a ticket that I quadruple checked to verify it was a $55 winner. The store scanned it a $25 winner. I asked for employee to rescan… she said if there was a problem… I needed to take it up with lottery officials. I took a picture of ticket, took a picture of the back, she gave me a print out complaint form. I asked for payout receipt showing $25 payout. She took the ticket and said she couldn’t give to me.

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