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Cheating the Lottery: How Some Lottery Winners Cheated the Game and How It's DoneBy GamblersPick Apr 29, 2020Have you ever wanted to win the lottery? Some smart players cheated the game and won big. Here's the history of cheating the lottery and some notorious stories.
Did you know that people who play the lottery in American spend about $86 a month on lottery tickets, including scratch cards and Powerball? Resulting in a single consumer's yearly expenditure on lotto tickets to be around $1,038.
The odds of winning the lottery are quick slim, but that doesn't stop people from playing a range of lotto competitions with the hope of getting the winning numbers. After all, statistically, someone has to win it and you have to be in it to win it.
Keep reading to discover how some lottery players managed to cheat the lotto system and win the big bucks.
Who Has Cheated the Lottery Before?
There's a 1 in 292.2 million chance of winning the Powerball and a 1 in 302.6 million chance of winning the Mega Millions. In fact, you're more likely to die in a car crash (103 to one), plane crash (11 million to one), or to even be struck by lightning (2 million to one).
The odds of winning the lottery are low, but if you don't depend on luck and make your own fate then the chances of winning increase, as these winners found out for themselves.
1. Stefan Mandel: The Man Who Won 14 Lotteries
Stefan Mandel was a young Romanian economist who was struggling to make ends meet, in the 1960s. Living off a salary of 360 lei (10 US dollars) a month, he was really struggling. The country was all struggling, with many turning to a life of crime, but Mandel decided to find his solution in the lottery.
Mandel didn't just hope that he would win. He was a mathematician that spent a lot of time studying theoretical probability and coming up with a number-picking algorithm.
The odds of winning, for 6 numbers in a 49-ball lottery, were 1 in 13,983,816. By choosing 15 numbers of each possible combination (which meant purchasing 5,005 games) his odds of winning were 1 in 2,974. Using his algorithm, Mandel believed he could reduce 5,005 combinations to 569.
If the 6 winning numbers were among his 15 picks he would win 2nd prize and several smaller prizes, at least. The chances of him winning the jackpot were 1 in 10. With his four friends, who all purchased 228 tickets per draw, Mandel managed to win the first prize of 72,783 lei (about 2,000 US dollars).
Onto Bigger and Even Better Things
With this money, he managed to flee Romania and make a new life for himself, as well as go onto winning larger jackpots. He settled in Australia, where he convinced hundreds of investors to combine their money into a lotto syndicate pool. They went onto win 12 lotteries, resulting in receiving $400,000 of smaller prizes and $1.1 million.
After this, the Australian authorities changed the law and prevented a single person from covering the lotteries every possible combination. Leaving Mandel to head onto bigger jackpots in America.
Setting up an agency with an insurance company, Mandel convinced over 2,500 people to buy a 10-year life insurance policy, with a $4,000 annual premium. Using this money, Mandel bought each person a stake in the lottery (which was all legal).
His operation was major, he had 30 computers, 12 laser printers, and 16 full-time employees in Melbourne, who were printing millions of tickets. It all paid off when on February 15, 1992, the Virginia lottery was won by Mandel and his investors.
2. Jerry and Marge Selbee: The Retired Couple Who Won $26 Million
Retired couple, Jerry and Marge Selbee, managed to win $26 million by winning various state lottery games multiple times. After spotting a new lottery game, called Winfall, in 2003, Jerry put his maths skills to use and realized he could win big.
Jerry spotted an opportunity with a feature on the Winfall called Rolldown. Once a jackpot of $5 million was reached and nobody won, Rolldown would happen, where all the money rolled down to the lower-tier prize winners. This meant that there were bigger payments for those who matched five, four, or three numbers.
Jerry worked out that if he played $1,100 he would have one 4-number winner. When Winfall announced a Rolldown, Jerry bought $3,600 tickets and won $6,300. After that, he bet $8,000 and almost doubled it.
Jerry and Marge soon started playing on a regular basis and started to win hundreds of thousands of dollars. Jerry set up a corporation called G.S. Investment Strategies and the retired couple, with other investors went onto win hefty sums of money.
During the nine years of playing the lottery, the company grossed over $26 million. Money which Jerry and Marge spent on helping their six children, giving money to their grandchildren and paying for their education, as well as renovating their home.
3. James Harvey: Massachusetts College Student Who Made Big Bucks
A student from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) also found that there was big money to make in Winfall, thanks to the Rolldown loophole. James was finishing his mathematics degree at the time and was looking for a final project during his final semester. Little did he know that his project would lead to winning hundreds of thousands of dollars.
James studied Winfall and found that during a Rolldown, there was at least $2.30 waiting in prize money for every $2.00 ticket sold.
In 2005, James formed a betting group with other MIT students. For the first batch of tickets, he recruited around 50 people to chip in, raising $1,000. Their initial investment money was tripled when their numbers came up in the Winfall lottery.
James pursued a full-time job in playing the lottery and opened his own business, which resulted in winning thousands of dollars. In just one week, James and his team managed to win around $700,000 from tickets that were placed for a $1.6 million jackpot prize.
Nothing lasts forever though and as the light was shed on those winning so much money due to the loophole in Winfall, the game was eventually phased out.
Learn From These Masterminds and Try Winning the Lottery
There's a lot you can learn from these masterminds. They've shown that you don't always need good luck to win the lottery, but instead, you can put your maths to the test and work out how to win. If you've been inspired by these clever people who have won hundreds of thousands of dollars, then why not try winning big on the lottery yourself?
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