The Maryland Lottery is moving with the times as it decides to do away with its iconic lottery balls.
Lottery drawings of the future will soon look a little different.
Maryland Lottery ditches balls & TV viewing
The Maryland Lottery got its start in 1973 and has used ball draws throughout its nearly 50-year history.
On Monday, Dec. 19, however, state lottery officials will no longer use the traditional method of picking numbered balls. Instead, a computerized random generator will begin conducting drawings for Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, Bonus Match 5 and Multi-Match games.
Also beginning that day, Maryland Lottery drawings won’t be televised anymore. Taking their place will be animated videos of the drawings, which can be viewed on the agency’s website.
Winning numbers will be posted on the website as well as on the Lottery’s mobile app. Participants can also call the winning numbers phone line at (410) 230-8830.
Lottery and Gaming Director John Martin said these new decisions are necessary steps in Maryland Lottery’s evolution:
“Lottery balls and machines have been part of Maryland Lottery’s history, but it’s important for us to modernize as we look forward to the next 50 years and beyond. More than 30 other lotteries in the US and Canada have shifted to RNG systems because they are efficient, cost-effective, and most importantly, they are extremely secure.”
Random number generator puts security first
Three of the multi-state games in Maryland will not change. Cash4Life, Mega Millions and also Powerball, which are games conducted by state lotteries in New Jersey, Georgia and Florida, respectively, will continue to utilize numbered balls and mechanical drawing machines, Maryland officials said.
The random number generator that Maryland will use was built by Smartplay International Lottery System, a New Jersey-based company that’s the world leader in lottery equipment.
Gaming Laboratories International, the foremost authority on testing electronic gaming equipment, has also tested and verified the system.
To put the minds of players at ease, state lottery officials have affirmed that the new system is absolutely safe to use. Smartplay’s random number generator system is not on the internet. The new system is in a secure room under 24-7 video surveillance. It takes two officials, each with their own electronic access card, to enter the room.
Officials double-lock the cabinet that contains the random number generator.
Lottery has been using generator for years
The Maryland Lottery has been using similar random number generator systems for decades now, according to agency officials. These systems randomly generate numbers for quick-pick tickets, Racetrax and also Keno, Martin said.
“From our players’ perspective, nothing in the way the games are played is changing. We still have the same games with the same prize structure, drawn at the same times each day. And as always, the outcomes are purely the result of random chance.”
MD enjoys record-breaking tax contributions
In the fiscal year 2022, gaming in Maryland broke records across the board. The state earned an all-time high of $1.511 billion in tax contributions.
The record includes contributions from lotteries, casino gaming, sports betting and daily fantasy sports. It beat the former mark of last year’s $1.391 billion.
Proceeds from the sale of lottery tickets go to the Maryland General Fund, a foundation that supplies budgets for several state programs including schools, public health and safety services, as well as environmental programs.
Martin said it’s not all about money.
“As we continue to generate revenue each year, we remain cautious about the importance of encouraging people to play responsibly. While we were setting revenue records and helping to oversee the launch of sports wagering this past year, we also achieved Level 4 Responsible Gaming certification by the World Lottery Association.”
Only 10 other states have received WLA Level 4 certification. It’s the highest level of certification a state can receive.