Statistician broke Canadian Lottery code

Friday February 4th 2011 Statistician broke Canadian Lottery code

Lotto MaxA geological statistician from Toronto has finally been recognised, eight years after he cracked the code of a Canadian Lottery scratchcard game.
In 2003, Mohan Srivastava became intrigued by how lottery scratchcards are produced and what system organisers use to mark winning tickets. And it didn’t take the MIT and Stanford University graduate long to work out that there was indeed a flaw in the way numbers were printed on the tickets and that he could easily identify a winner.

According to an article in Toronto’s The Star newspaper, Mr Srivastava informed the lottery organisers of the problem but they seemed uninterested. It was only when he sent them 20 untouched scratchcards and announced which would be winners that he got a response. A call from the lottery came within hours and the tic-tac-toe instant game was pulled from 10,000 retailers.

He said: “If there are some people that are skimming winners, or more able to skim winners, what that means for everyone else is that they’re getting more losers. There is kind of a cruel unfairness for the people left over who weren’t in on the trick.”

Mr Srivastava appears on this month’s cover of Wired magazine which includes an in-depth interview with the man who broke the Canadian Lottery scratchcard code.

Written by Samantha Jones


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