One of our followers on Twitter asked a question that we said we’d answer here on the blog because it takes a little more explanation than we can fit in a 140-character message. The question came from a man named David who said: “Why is there a cutoff time for when you can buy lottery tickets? I don’t get it.”
Our initial answer back was: “The cut-off time is in place to stop sales before a drawing is held – there has to be a point when sales stop b 4 draw.” And that’s true. But here’s the rest of the story:
I’ve blogged before about the many layers of security that go into a lottery drawing. One of the steps required is for the lottery to verify that all sales figures balance before the drawing can begin. We’re helping to ensure that all plays for a particular drawing are accounted for and that everything is ready to go.
As computer speeds and technology have increased, it requires less time than it used to for that to occur. Today, you can generally purchase tickets here in Iowa up until about an hour before the drawing in one of our lotto games. Several years ago, the sales cut-off time was two hours before the drawing, but we’ve been able to reduce that, which we hope has been a convenience for our players and retailers.
I would imagine there will always be some time required for balancing and verification before a drawing can happen, but maybe someday the time involved will be even shorter than it is now.
The exact sales cut-off times vary from state to state, depending upon the requirements in that particular state. Check your state lottery’s website for the information that applies in your area.
We’ll continue to do our best to keep the time period involved for that here in Iowa as short as possible.