If you are an avid fan of the lottery, you’ve probably come across the term random number generator at some point. This is especially true if you frequently play through an online lottery website.
However, even if you’ve never heard of a random number generator, there is a good chance that you’ve probably used one to play the lottery before.
In this article, we’ll look at everything to do with random number generators and uncover exactly what they are.
What Is a Random Number Generator?
As the name suggests, a random number generator is something used to generate random numbers with no visible or traceable sequence.
These generators use mathematical calculations to determine—at random—a variety of numbers based on your requirements. As such, if you need six numbers from a specific pool, the generator will pull six random numbers from the pool for you to use.
The most common form of a random number generator, and the one you’ve probably used, is the quick pick function of most lotteries.
This quick pick function uses a random number generator to randomly select your lottery numbers from the given pool. And thanks to the randomness of the generators, millions of tickets can be sold without the same number sequence being repeated.
How Do Random Number Generators Work?
There are two main types of random number generators available today: pseudo-random generators and hardware random generators. Each of these uses vastly different methods to determine random numbers.
Hardware random generators, which are much less common, use hardware and external variants to determine the randomness of the number. These external variants could be atmospheric pressure, lighting conditions or even the speed at which the wind blows.
Each change in a specific external variant triggers a change in the possible outcome of a calculation at a particular point. For this reason, these types of generators are much more efficient at being ‘truly’ random.
The more common pseudo-random is the type that you have probably experienced. This generator is the one that is commonly found in lotteries, casinos and other areas where random data is needed on a slightly larger scale.
These generators, however, are not truly random in the same way that hardware generators are. This is because these operate using a pre-programmed value path that begins with a specific key, or seed.
This key, or seed, sets the start of the randomness formula. This formula then pulls random numbers along a defined path. The result is numbers that appear completely random but could, in reality, be determined if one knew the formula method and starting key.
The most common pseudo-random generator is titled the linear congruential generator. This generator uses a recurrence formula Xn+1 = (aXn + b) modm.
In this, a, b and m are large integers that define the pool or region of randomness that the algorithm should pull from. Xn+1 is then used to define the next random number in the series based on the opening key, or seed.
That said, some services, like RANDOM.ORG, offer true random number generators that are based on atmospheric noise. This makes them much more powerful (and more random!) than anything that is formula based.
Do Random Number Generators Really Work for Playing the Lottery?
Simply put, yes. Random number generators are one of the best features available in the modern lottery thanks to their ability to provide quick pick (sometimes called lucky dip) tickets.
It is estimated that around 70% of all lottery winners win by using a quick pick ticket. This shows that having the number randomly selected clearly can win.
Further than this, however, the lottery itself is also based on randomness. However, unlike quick pick tickets that use a pseudo-random generator, most lotteries use hardware generators.
These take the form of the lottery ball machines used by many popular lotteries, such as US Powerball. These machines use complete randomness to determine winning numbers.
The Final ‘Random’ Say
Random number generators have certainly improved the ease of playing the lottery thanks to quick pick tickets. This is even more evident when it is clear most lottery winners have won using a random number generator.
If you’re interested in trying out a random number generator yourself, make sure that you opt for a quick pick ticket the next time you play the lottery.