Aug 1, 2011

Old Folks Hack The Lottery

One of my former roommates and his girlfriend used to buy a lottery ticket whenever the jackpot had been cranked up to some absurdly high total.  I always thought it was silly, but it turns out that his timing was right on the money (pun intended).  He was just 99,999 tickets short.

Seems a few select folks, including an MIT grad and an elderly couple from Michigan, have cracked the secret to winning piles of cash from the Massachusetts State Lottery.  For this specific game (Cash WinFall) the jackpot is won by matching all six numbers that are drawn at random.  However, prizes are also awarded for matching three, four or five numbers.  When the jackpot is higher, so are the lesser prizes.  Now, as soon I said there was an MIT grad in play, you probably assumed there was some sort of complex equation involved, but really the secret is to just buy craptons of tickets whenever the jackpot is high.  The idea here is actually to avoid the jackpot and take a higher percentage of the "smaller" winnings, which can still reach into the tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Trust me, it all adds up.  That couple from Michigan spent a little under $25,000 on tickets this year and have already cleared a cool million in accumulated winnings.  Not a bad racket all told, although the system is somewhat predicated on being able to buy up a disproportionately large share of the tickets sold.  Now that Time's let the cat out of the bag, I imagine their system will soon be rendered ineffective.  Still, anyone want to buy a few hundred thousand lottery tickets?

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