AN INTERNET-BASED POINT-OF-BETTING (IPOB) FOR LOTTO PUNTERS

This is a research paper, in this research an Ethernet-based lotto betting machine is developed, tested and deployed as an embedded web-client in a network. The device’s hardware mainly comprises a microcontroller, an Ethernet network interface shield, a keypad for input and an LCD screen output.
components
Hardware Components
Automation Ethernet Shield
X 1
Software Apps and online services
Arduino IDE
details

ucc_lotto.png

In this research an Ethernet-based lotto betting machine is developed, tested and deployed as an embedded web-client in a network. The device’s hardware mainly comprises a microcontroller, an Ethernet network interface shield, a keypad for input and an LCD screen output. The web-client sends requests to a remote Windows-Apache-MySQL-PHP (WAMP) server using PHP scripts. The Apache webserver serves the requests by querying the MySQL database where user identification, player-tokens and winning number records are stored and sends bet receipt SMS messages directly to users. To access the system a player enters a pre-purchased token number that allows them several chances via keypad. The remote server checks the token for authenticity, allows the user to enter a 6-digit number and registers the number in the database. It then sends a bet acknowledgement SMS while the LCD displays system transaction messages. This system eliminates the use of paper in betting slips, receipts and associated spoilt paper. It also replaces most human processes with inherent machine speed-up and continuous service availability. The system also reduces customer loitering and queuing, consequently eliminating crowding and associated environmental hazards. The system therefore potentially exhibits some positive sustainable environmental impact.

 

The system development strategy is aimed at replacing the current manual system without disrupting normal business processes, thus the new system’s functionality should map to the existing system. The keypad represents the LOTTO™ betting card and the number selection is done by keying in the keypad number keys. The customer and betting clerk’s interactions are replaced by a Liquid Crystal Display LCD display of, among others, a welcome screen; the echo of the pressed keys; step-by-step user instructions and error reporting; all these displays providing real-time feedback driven by events within the local system or from the remote server responses.

Figure 2: Overall LOTTO™ System Deployment Diagram.

The deployment diagram in Figure 2 illustrates the IPoB system’s location within the LOTTO™

system. The current system serves many different web clients from different devices

including mobile phones, using web browsers like Google Chrome among others. A bet placed

by a client is a request to the server for some file, which the server pushes back to the

client through his or her browser for viewing. The IPoB will send a keypad input formatted as

a client request to the server and when the response arrives back the system will be

configured to interpret and display the information on the console screen. The IPoB will

thus emulate a low level web browser through which punters can place their bets and get

SMSes from the remote system as shown in Figure 2. The remote engine still remains the

lotto draw centre access the system as any other player

 

The prototype was assembled and connected via Ethernet to a laptop that had a WAMPserver with PHP scripts prepared by a colleague and a GSM modem. A five-field MySQLdatabase table was created with a filled in token number field and blank fields for mobilephone, bets, DateTime and transactionID numbers. To test the system users were given apiece of paper with a copy of the token number and asked to place a bet, the systemresponded well and upon success users received an acknowledgement SMS on their mobilephones. The system test scenario was further extended to scores of high school studentsduring the university open Day and proved quite popular with a virtual queue forming up asmore students learnt about it. The downside was that some of the acknowledgements SMSeswere delivered days after the bets.
 In order to verify that the system was running according to specification tests wereundertaken. Hardware tests were carried out to ensure that the system delivered theappropriate responses from the server as shown on the table below. Erroneous entries werealso made to the system to carry out limited stress testing.

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