By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
A web shop operator yesterday said it was not uncommon for players to attempt to 'game the system', asserting that the Iowa/Indiana lottery fiasco amounted to customers having "insider information".
"The customers should not get paid in this particular situation," said the operator, speaking under condition of anonymity. "Gambling as it is defined in the Gaming Act is stated as a game of chance. Anyone that purchases a ticket with information of an outcome of a particular drawing is not partaking in a game of chance; it will then be considered a game of certainty.
"My reason for stating that it would be a game of certainty is due to the fact that the reason why the customers would have bought those ticket(s), would be because they were certain of the outcome of the drawing."
Paradise Games previously told this newspaper its system had witnessed an unusual spike in player activity relating to the now non-existent Iowa state lottery numbers. They claimed that this data, and all-related evidence, had been passed to the Gaming Board, which is expected to adjudicate on a matter that impacted the whole Bahamian web shop industry "in a couple of days".
Vehemently refuting claims that Paradise Games was refusing to pay out legitimate player winnings, a spokesperson said the issue arose from persons exploiting information asymmetries and timing differences to manipulate the gaming system to their advantage.
The operation of the Iowa State 3 and 4-Ball Lottery draws was officially discontinued, and it now shares and publishes the same results as the Indiana State Lottery, which draws 30-minutes prior to the now non-existent Iowa draw.
Paradise Games said the time difference between the states, and the publishing of results, created a 30-minute window for a handful of individuals in web shops throughout the Bahamas to purchase pre-existing winning numbers.
"What took place with the Iowa and Indiana lottery was the equivalent of having Insider Information. In this particular situation, the customers became aware that Indiana lottery and Iowa lottery had merged and that the drawing results would be the same for both states," the web shop operator said.
"They also recognised that Indiana posted the winning results prior to Iowa, because of the difference in time, due to the fact that those states are in different time zones. So the customers then proceeded to wait for Indiana results, at which time they then purchased the same numbers in Iowa."
He added: "So, in reality, the customers knowingly did not partake in a game of chance. It was not fair play. It's as if the customers acted upon leaked information. Customers went to take a test with the cheat sheet. Would we consider that a fair test, if everyone went into the exam room with a copy of the test and the answers, then came out the exam with an A Grade?"