Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pennsylvania Lottery fix anniversary; 666; Nick Perry

Today is the 27th anniversary of the rigging of the Pennsylvania daily lottery in 1980. On April 24, 1980, the Pennsylvania Lottery daily number was 666. The number was drawn from the floating ping pong ball type machines. The improbability of that combination created speculation for months that the drawing had been rigged.

27 years ago this evening
H/T Tube City Online.

The case has achieved legendary status largely because of the participation of a popular Pittsburgh TV personality. Nick Perry was the host of bowling for dollars who also announced the winning numbers nightly for the daily lottery drawing. He came up with a scheme to inject mercury into most of the ping pong balls so that only the 4's and 6's would rise to the top. He procured the help of other employees at WTAE to help replace and doctor the balls.

$1.8 million was paid out to Perry's accomplices, the Maragos brothers. The conspirators were caught when investigators discovered the pattern of ticket purchases by Perry's accomplices.
September 1980
H/T Tube City Online

Perry would serve two years in prison, while others, including lottery official Edward Plevel, received lesser sentences. Further details are available at the unreliable and often biased Wikipedia. The incident would form the basis for the movie Lucky Numbers.

The government would have us believe that state-run gambling is now clean. I predict that future PA gambling related scandals will make the 666 scandal seem quaint.

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