State Politics

SCAM PROTECTION

As long as states have had lotteries, people have been trying to cheat them. North Carolina, which sells its first tickets Thursday, is on guard.

Officials say it probably will do little good to cut-and-paste from losing tickets to make one into a winner. It has been tried, and doesn't work. Color printers and home computers are decent these days but generally not good enough to fool lottery security.

Strong-arm robberies won't work, either. The lottery tracks all tickets with a bar-code system, and stolen tickets are easily invalidated.

Security around the games is a priority, and officials use high-tech innovations and everyday crime-fighting to keep the games clean. Security officials won't detail all their efforts.

"The integrity of the games is everything," said Jerry Carter, the lottery security director. "Know that we will work very hard to preserve that integrity."

The state will sell scratch-off games Thursday, then join the national game Powerball on May 30 that lets players choose numbers in advance, trying to match them to a drawing of numbers. Other lotto games, such as Pick 3, 4, or 5, will follow in the fall.

J. ANDREW CURLISS

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