Originally Posted by BlueTurf
Phillip, We aren't talking about permit fees or at least I'm not. They existed before lottery fees and will continue to do so I would assume.
You are correct western permits are not transferable and they need to stay that way, but that doesn't mean bots would be useless. If I really, really wanted to go on a certain date and there was no fee bots would be very useful and it's (relatively) easy to defeat captcha as the quick disappearance of concert or sporting event tickets will show. You couldn't guarantee a win but if you spam 1000 or 10000 applications for the same date your odds would sure go up.
That's my point. It's easy to spoof a name, email address or even physical address. It's much harder to come up with a real honest to goodness bank account or credit card account that you can use to pay the application fee. Couple that with non transferable permits (except for medical) which take the profit motive out, throw in some cross checks and you get (almost) no bots. I still wouldn't guarantee no bots.
On a related note, does anyone know where I can see lottery stats for the Green/Yampa? I want to check something.
Sorry for confusion, I meant lottery fees.
Still don't get the premise, even though I hate the fees and rec.gov. There is no proof that the lottery fee is remotely about gaming the system the way you talk about. Do you know someone who has created some sort of bot to do so or something? No mention any literature that this is why the fees exist. Seems like a long shot to me considering the issue with the permit being in one person's name which is non-transferable. With that in mind how do you spam a river lottery to increase success if it only allows for name which needs to be verified through the system (mailing addresses are commonly verified through most systems like this).
Per the $$ issue, nothing stopping people from purchasing VISA gift cards and using them as payment to the system. It doesn't require a credit card account or bank account, just immediately transferable funds. If it was about identification then they would not have eliminated the check policy in 2007. But gift cards have always been legitimate means of payment on the website and they can be picked up by cash with no means of tracking anywhere in the US.
Also per the $$ issue, if it was the rationale it could be designed to be a matter of cents, not dollars. To really win consistently you would need to spam multiple dates with 100s-1000s of entries. Charge $.50-$.99 and that would add up to a lottery fee of $50-$1000 per date entering. You wouldn't need to charge $15 like Dinosaur did to discourage that technique. The average boater I know doesn't have hundreds of $$ laying around to spam a system to get past the lottery. If they did they would just pay the base fee for a commercial permit and just row your own rigs down the river. I mean do you know how many Dino and Deso commercial permits go unsold or undersold each year? For $500 you could have your very own river trip without any concern of felony charges of fraud.
If it was about gaming the system then they would also have safeguards in place to discourage what we are seeing mentioned on MountainBuzz about canceling permits so buddies can pick them up. I mean you are hypothesizing a complex issue when a simple one continues beneath their noses. Seems unlikely.
And as clarification, a fee should exist but it should just be to pay for the system nothing else. I think the solution right now is worse than the systems that originally existed in the first place (getting a permit for Deso up through last year was always simple, now its looking like no one I know will have the chance to float it for the first time in 10 years....a lottery should not be design increase pressure on a resource). But at the same time I doubt there is some river runner out there creating bots and fake identification to game the system to get one annual permit per year considering the consequences of committing fraud against a government agency. Or at least it does not exist to the level to facilitate such high end solutions that cost the $$ it would. I mean really, it wouldn't be that hard to cross reference winners names each year against basic statistical figures and see if anyone glaringly wins crazy amounts of trips year in and out. I mean we are talking about a system to which we willing provide all of our contact information to (either at the front end for lotteries or tail end for passenger lists).
Could be you have some personal anecdote that I missing that explains the theory though. Maybe I am just lucky enough not to deal with the spambot rafting variety and the happier for it. My rafting community #s in the 30s at most and we have gotten on all of the major western rivers in 10+ years of rafting. Seems like math would show its easier to get to know a few extra people than commit fraud on a lottery if you really wanted to go rafting on these rivers. Hell, just spend the $40 a pop for Groover Tamer and most people I know would invite you even over the loved ones.