Virginia ABC officials say they’ve ‘automated’ liquor lotteries to prevent future errors
Virginia liquor officials said they’re taking steps to automate the random lottery process for rare bottles after an outcry from bourbon enthusiasts who say the state bungled a recent lottery and allowed some entrants to win multiple bottles despite steep odds of that outcome occurring naturally.
The leadership of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority discussed the lottery issues Tuesday morning during a meeting of the authority’s board of directors.
ABC officials told the board a problem occurred in the last lottery — which had more than 40,000 entries — due to a “breakdown in Excel sorting,” referring to the commonly used data processing software Microsoft Excel. The authority was using Excel to sort through lottery entries and determine the winners.
“I can’t speak to the inner workings of Excel. It sorted some of it and didn’t sort some of the rest,” said ABC Director of Internal Audit Mike Skrocki.
The authority also offered assurances that the possibility for human or spreadsheet errors would be reduced under a new system that will require less human oversight to pick winners at random. Officials indicated the new system will be implemented immediately and are expected to be formally announced when the next round of lottery results goes out.
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