What's New On These Pages: August 1998
Next month: September 1998
- Sunday 30th August
Fixed some minor Easy Play coding bugs and also trimmed the full results
table in each individual Easy Play page to only include tiers where a prize
was won. Added an Easy Play score draw frequency table.
- Saturday 29th August
There were a reasonable number of people in the chat room during the TV
show - the live commentary and draw went fine. My new work machine generated
the Best Performing Tickets page in an astounding 12 minutes and 23 seconds,
which was a full 3 times faster than my previous work machine. I put the
full results before anyone else as usual.
Added the Merlin machine to the Live Updates sytem (duh - forgot to do this
when it first appeared months ago...).
Finally added a single page summarising all Easy Play results to date.
- Friday 28th August
Received the latest sales figures fax from Camelot and duly updated
the pages with the info. Upgraded my work machine from a C110 to
C160 machine (now have a 64-bit machine for the first time ever, although
it's only running 32-bit HP-UX 10.20...) - the
machine is about 70% faster than my old one and also has 256MB RAM
and a DDS3 DAT drive.
- Wednesday 26th August
The lottery chat room was reasonably well populated (including people
from Malta and Cyprus) and the live commentary and draw went fine (despite
the scheduled downtime earlier). I was the first to display the full
results as usual.
We moved the Web server into a better machine room today, so had about
45 minutes of scheduled downtime, though the server was back up well before
- Monday 24th August
Finally got the (weird) formulae used to calculate Saturday's Easy Play
prize amount for the 5-match/£2m guaranteed jackpot and, predictably,
it's not explained in the Rules and Procedures booklet at all. I've now
coded in checks for the formulae (at least for 5-draw and 8-draw guaranteed
jackpots - I'm not sure about any of the other possibilities...).
Scanned in the £10 cheque I received from Camelot for last
Wednesday's win on my subscription.
- Saturday 22nd August
Camelot seemed to take an age to get the full Easy Play results through - it
took until 8.30pm for me to finally get the number of Easy Play winners
and the prize amounts. Only 5 score draws meant the only ones who won a prize
were those with 5 score draws (so there ended up being 421 "jackpot winners" -
more than the main UK lottery has had in any of its draws to date).
Note that one less score draw and Vernons
would have been crucified in the press because they wouldn't have paid out a
penny in prizes at all (and only 38% of the total staked would rollover
to the next week, but you'd still have to buy a new ticket for that rollover
game) ! I'm having trouble verifying the formulae this week (the £2m
guaranteed jackpot seems to have been applied in a strange way), so I've
got a call into Camelot trying to sort this out.
As for the main lottery, the chat room was reasonably busy and the live
commentary and draw went OK. I was the quickest to put up the full results
as usual. Tinkered yet again with the Easy Play in light of the latest result
(I suspect this will be the case for months to come because of the complex
exceptions that the game rules impose on the prize structure).
- Thursday 20th August
I finally received the Easy Play Rules and Procedures booklet from Camelot
(bizarre staples on it - it looks like you can hook up the booklet from them !).
The prize formulae are very complex for each tier (all sorts of weird and
wonderful exceptions), so I'll code in the formulae as they are needed.
The first week's formulae for 8 score draws worked out correctly according to
the code I've written so far - one snag is that the individual prizes are
rounded down to the nearest 50p (not to the nearest pound like the main UK
lottery), which meant changing all my integers to double precision variables
and printing individual prizes and prize pools to 2 decimal places (because
they can end in .00 or .50 of course).
- Wednesday 19th August
It was fairly busy during the live TV commentary and draw and I put the
full results up before anyone else as usual.
Discovered that Vernons have launched an Easy Play Web site, but with only
one page and no results on it until October 1998, one wonders why they
bothered ! Received the latest sales figures fax from Camelot and duly updated
- Tuesday 18th August
Completed the Easy Play How To Play leaflet (had to add three HTML
tables). I've also added an Easy Play playslip transcription and a FAQ,
as well as continued work on enhancing the Easy Play section (see the
bits marked [Done] below).
- Sunday 16th August
Started the long road to automating the Easy Play section. Each individual
Easy Play draw page is now auto-generated and I've now completed coding
for Easy Play score draws, full results, manual comments and Super Draws
on that page. I've also automated the inclusion of the Easy Play "headline"
in the middle of the home page.
Things missing from the individual Easy Play pages:
- More details on Super Draws like on the UK lottery pages.
- Average prize figure and "one in every X tickets won" figure. [Done]
- Rollover coding.
- Percentages in the prize tiers. [Done]
- Percentage change in ticket sales between weeks.
- Links to next/previous week's page. [Done]
- A "next Easy Play" page (since I can't get the fixtures in advance,
this is a low priority, but I'll eventually do it).
- Hi-res version that uses tables.
Other Easy Play things to do outside of the individual pages:
- Some sort of Easy Play index page equivalent to the "All Winning
Numbers" section - i.e. some way to list all the Easy Play games to date
with a one-liner summary for each one and a link to each individual page.
- Include Easy Play ticket sales in the "Sales Figures" section.
- Perhaps cross-link from the main UK lottery individual pages
each Saturday into the equivalent Easy Play individual page ?
- Incorporate Easy Play into the Ticket Checker (got to figure a
user-friendly way to do this).
- Various numerical analysis pages, though the only obvious one I can
think of is a league table of which teams have drawn the most !
- Complete those fiddly tables in the Easy Play leaflet page. [Done]
- Transcribe the back of the Easy Play playslip. [Done]
- Construct an Easy Play Frequently Asked Questions document. [Done]
After all this, it's amazing to think that Camelot's official lottery Web site
has completely ignored Easy Play, despite that fact that Camelot's lottery
terminals are used for the Easy Play game and it's co-branded between
Vernons and Camelot ! Yet another reason to stick with this site :-)
- Saturday 15th August
The chat room was fairly busy tonight for a change and the live
commentary and draw went OK. It was amusing to see that Vernons
lost over £750,000 in the first Easy Play game by providing
a £2m Super Draw jackpot (whereas ticket sales were
only a dismal £1.5m !).
Launched a new Easy Play section to cope with the new game launched jointly
by Vernons and Camelot. I can't seem to easily get the Easy Play fixtures
in advance (the lottery terminal bizarrely nas no option to print them out
and, no, they're not the same as the normal soccer
pools fixtures), so I will only be reporting on the score draws.
- Wednesday 12th August
Perhaps it was the hot weather, but the chat room was deserted through most
of the TV show and only perked up as the draw was about to take place. I
put the full results up before anyone else again.
Received the latest sales figures fax from Camelot and
duly updated the Web pages.
- Saturday 8th August
A fairly quiet live commentary and draw tonight - perhaps the weekend
heatwave had something to do with it. Very low ticket sales for a
Saturday too, though the figure didn't quite break any records.
- Friday 7th August
A lot of to-ing and fro-ing with Camelot's phone line today as I tried to
clarify the full list of scratchcards today. They snuck a couple in without
many people noticing and even the Instants £75K Blue scratchcard
was a mystery to the Camelot public phone line (it does exist).
- Thursday 6th August
Received the latest sales figures from Camelot and duly updated the pages.
- Wednesday 5th August
The chat room was moderately populated during the live
TV show commentary and draw tonight and I put up the
full results quicker than everyone else again.
- Saturday 1st August
It was fairly busy in the chat room this evening, so no
surprise that it decided to hang about one minute before
the draw. I restarted the room and most people got back in as
the numbers were being drawn. I timed the phone call to
Camelot well again tonight and got the results first time,
beating everyone else to making them available.
Previous month: July 1998