This Scandal In Pennsylvania Changed Lotto Forever


John Travolta (pictured) and a host of well-known stars featured in "Lucky Numbers"... a film drawing on the experience of the Pennsylvania lottery scam.

SIX million American tv viewers sat transfixed as the lottery balls rolled out of the draw barrel. Over $3.5 million was at stake, and this 1980 Daily Number game draw was going to make someone very rich.

Unfortunately for the millions of players, it wasn't going to be them.

As the balls were called, they were discovered to be the same numbers: 6, 6, 6.

In itself that wasn't unusual, but the way that combinations came out certainly was.

The balls were rigged - covered with latex paint on one side 45 minutes before the draw so that they exited first.

At the time there was no evidence that the draw had been fixed, and so players came forward to claim $1.8 million of the record payout.


The fixed “666” drawing looked like this to TV viewers at 7 p.m. April 24, 1980. Violet Lowery (left) looks on as the rigged balls are drawn. Lottery official Edward Pleve (right), was also implicated in the fix. PHOTO: Jason Togyer collection

But as the numbers seemed too coincidental, suspicions were raised and the matter came out into the light.

Pittsburgh television announcer Nick Perry, 64, and five others were charged, and it led to a massive security shakeup in the lottery world.

The scandal was made into a film, "Lucky Numbers" in 2000, starring John Travolta and Lisa Krudow.

And the most unusual coincidence to come out of the investigation?

Someone wanted Nick Perry's phone number. They couldn't find it until they remembered his real name was Nicholas Katsafanas.

And they found his name on page 666 of the Pittsburgh White Pages!

As a result of the scandal security has tightened up for lottery drawings, and officials around the world today claim there is no chance of doctoring or fixing any of the results.

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