When the live lottery drawing fails [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]
Recently, everyone had lotto fever as the Mega Millions jackpot climbed to a world record $656 million. While some of the winners are still in dispute, Americans flocked to their televisions to watch the live numbers drawing. This drawing went off without a hitch, but things don’t always go right on live TV!
In most of the United States and in many countries around the world, televised lottery drawings are a legal form of gambling that allow viewers to bet on their favorite numbers in hopes of winning that fat cash jackpot.
The earliest recorded history of a lottery dates back to the Han Dynasty of China between 205 – 187 BC. This ancient lottery is believed to help fund the building of The Great Wall of China. The practice then spread to the Roman Empire, where instead of cash, the winner would receive a gift. Modern day Belgium and the Neitherlands are said to be the first to give away cash as a prize.
In America, the first early lottery was held in 1612, under the direction of King James I in order to fund the new Jamestown, Virginia settlement. Lotteries were often used to found new towns, universities, canals, and settlements. Benjamin Franklin even used a lottery to purchase a cannon to defend Philadelphia around the time of the Revolutionary War.
Corruption found its way into the lotteries and they began to fall out of favor with the general public; becoming mostly numbers games operated illegally on the streets. Often targeting the poor, the seedy games could be played for as little as a penny. Congress eventually banned the US Postal Service from mailing tickets and the Supreme Court finally banned selling them outright in 1892. The last official lotteries were gone by the turn of the century.
On March 12, 1964, New Hampshire became the first state to adopt a state wide lottery. Other states began to follow suit and the lotteries popularity spread globally as governments count on them as a means of revenue. Lotteries are seen as a painless form of taxation, with the funds going to everything from education to senior citizen Meals on Wheels.
Television allowed Americans to witness lottery drawings live. They would have instant access to the day’s numbers, instead of waiting to hear them on radio, or read them in the next day’s paper. Local television stations fought to carry the drawings as ratings would be high, even though the cost for the rights to air could be expensive, and are usually limited to one station per market.
With the internet age, these live drawings do not receive the viewership they once did. They are now seen more as a means to verify the games. Still, live drawings have been rigged. This was the case during the April 24, 1980 drawing of the Pennsylvania Lottery. Announcer Nick Perry orchestrated a scheme to weigh down the balls for the live drawing, then held at WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh, leaving only the 4 and 6 balls unchanged. He and his co-conspirators then bet large amounts of the remaining combinations, and when the 6-6-6 came up, they all hit big. After a lengthy investigation, all involved were exposed and arrested.
But on live television, anything can happen. Malfunctions and human error do make it to the air and many have been caught on tape. Let’s take a look at some of the funnier lotto fails in recent times:
First up – an Illinois Lottery drawing from 2008. What do you do on live TV, when the tumbler won’t start rotating for the big lotto numbers? Check out how the hostess tries to fill time until the control room takes over.
And then in 2010, it happened again! Same exact machine. Again, watch the bamboozled look on the hostess’s face!
Now to Poland. I guess everybody wins when the lotto machine flies apart and the balls go overwhere!
She clearly has no idea what do to. I guess producers overseas don’t have backup plans.
Now to South Carolina… it’s summer 2011 and the pick 4 machine decides to launch all the balls in the air like a Roman Candle! Again, watch the hostess’s priceless reaction!
Now, I’m not sure what country this is from or what they are saying, but I love how the stagehand tries to come to the rescue with an extension cord when the machine isn’t plugged in…
In 2008, the Mega Millions live drawing had a little trouble. Not with the equipment, but with the graphics — and the host is not to pleased to still be on camera at the end!
Now, to Great Britain where a group of protestors, known as the Fathers for Justice interrupt the live National Lottery drawing on the BBC. When the host is done dealing, he just heads backstage. I also love how the announcer keeps on filling for time.
The host of the drawing, Eamon Holmes, was also seen here in the US a few years ago as host of, The Rich List, a game show that was cancelled after one episode on FOX in 2007.
So as you can see, it’s live television and crazy things happen! In most cases, the numbers were re-drawn after the malfunctioning live drawing goes off the air.
What: Lottery drawings
What: live televised drawings of the daily lottery numbers
Purpose: a simple tax, with a cash prize to fund various government projects
JERSEY JOE RECOMMENDS: I am not the best lotto player out there. I’ve only played a handful of times in my life, and usually only when the jackpots are high. The odds of winning a big jackpot are even less than getting struck by lightning!
But, as long as these live drawings continue, I’m sure we will continue to be treated with some classic televised fails. So, tune in – you never know what you are going to see!