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Gaming the lottery as a post-retirement plan
Old 03-02-2018, 06:00 PM   #1
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Gaming the lottery as a post-retirement plan

Retired guy figures out when playing a certain lottery game is statistically in his favor...and makes millions over 9 years.

The Lottery Hackers - The Huffington Post

Almost seems like a part-time job.

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Old 03-02-2018, 06:31 PM   #2
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Fascinating story. Hard to believe that states would make a lottery that favors players like that. It certainly is a part-time job, albeit a high paying one. Sounds like a lot of decent folks, using the money to pay off debts, college, etc.

One thing though, the lottery rules about no after hours ticket buying seems to be at least in part to discourage super-bulk buying like this, but that's exactly what they were doing. For them to be breaking rules and claiming they weren't doing anything wrong is not quite right to me.
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Old 03-02-2018, 06:43 PM   #3
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I quickly went through the article...lots of stuff to get to the heart of the matter: Calculating expected value on an investment (bet).
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Old 03-02-2018, 11:28 PM   #4
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Fascinating story! Thanks for posting. A combination of very creative thinking and very hard work.
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Old 03-03-2018, 12:42 AM   #5
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Thanks for sharing. Fascinating story indeed.

And the Selbees had competition: an MIT group of students and faculty members who bought more than 1 million dollars worth of lottery tickets one time, when the odds were in their favor.
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:46 AM   #6
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Fascinating on many levels. Even if I were smart enough to have figured out the system, I doubt I'd have the work ethic to carry it out. It seems as if it took so much time to implement there would have been no time to enjoy the fruits of one's labors.

Also, for the "investors" in the corporation, I wonder if the Selbees were being paid any salary for the time they were doing the grunt work, or were they just happy to have their share.
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Old 03-03-2018, 09:09 AM   #7
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So sometimes the odds *are* in your favor...
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Old 03-03-2018, 10:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RunningBum View Post
Fascinating story. Hard to believe that states would make a lottery that favors players like that. It certainly is a part-time job, albeit a high paying one. Sounds like a lot of decent folks, using the money to pay off debts, college, etc.

One thing though, the lottery rules about no after hours ticket buying seems to be at least in part to discourage super-bulk buying like this, but that's exactly what they were doing. For them to be breaking rules and claiming they weren't doing anything wrong is not quite right to me.
A 9 year long job, and they paid taxes on the winnings as well. Still the reward was great and better than some other scheme's I heard of where it turns out to be a lot of work to generate "free" money.
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Old 03-03-2018, 01:30 PM   #9
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I would be curious to see what their hourly "pay" was for this project. That is, take their winnings, minus taxes and expenses, and divide by the number of hours they spent printing and collating their tickets, driving (to MA), and reviewing all the tickets to sort out all the winnings one after the drawing.
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Old 03-03-2018, 01:46 PM   #10
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So sometimes the odds *are* in your favor...
Worked for Whitey Bulger!
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Old 03-03-2018, 01:51 PM   #11
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So sometimes the odds *are* in your favor...
Yes. It happens with the stock market too when the condition is right, both for buying and selling, but it was clear only after the fact.


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I would be curious to see what their hourly "pay" was for this project. That is, take their winnings, minus taxes and expenses, and divide by the number of hours they spent printing and collating their tickets, driving (to MA), and reviewing all the tickets to sort out all the winnings one after the drawing.
I am sure the pay per hour is great, as the lottery jackpot ballooned to the "roll down" level only 6 to 9 times a year. And they did this over 9 years, each time taking perhaps a week of work.

Quote:
"By 2009 they had grossed more than $20 million in winning tickets—a net profit of $5 million after expenses and taxes..."

"The last time Jerry and Marge played Cash WinFall was in January 2012. They’d had an incredible run: in the final tally, they had grossed nearly $27 million from nine years of playing the lottery in two states. They’d netted $7.75 million in profit before taxes, distributed among the players in GS Investment Strategies LLC."
We do not know how the loot was divided, but the Selbees deserved more than the passive partners who did not contribute any labor, so perhaps their share was more.
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Old 03-03-2018, 02:03 PM   #12
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And I wonder how many winning tickets they missed in visually scanning their thousands of lottery tickets each time?

From my days working in quality, typically humans are only about 85% accurate in performing visual inspections.

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Old 03-03-2018, 05:51 PM   #13
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Very entertaining article. Thanks for sharing.

I guess it helps demonstrate just how horrible the odds of hitting the jackpot are, when you play as high volume as the Selbees and still apparently never hit the jackpot. Of course, that wasn’t their objective....but still.
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Old 03-03-2018, 06:20 PM   #14
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Worked for Whitey Bulger!
Last time you mentioned Bulger and the lottery I looked up the story. He didn't actually cheat or game the system to win with unfair odds, from what I understand. What happened was, someone else won, and he bought a share of their winnings under the table with cash, so that he could collect legit income and be able to spend it.
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Old 03-03-2018, 06:55 PM   #15
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Last time you mentioned Bulger and the lottery I looked up the story. He didn't actually cheat or game the system to win with unfair odds, from what I understand. What happened was, someone else won, and he bought a share of their winnings under the table with cash, so that he could collect legit income and be able to spend it.
Actually (living here in Boston) the story circulated was that Whitey made the guy who won 'an offer he couldn't refuse'. Whitey owned the liquor store where the ticket was sold and his right hand man was the official lottery agent at the store.

The fact that Whitey's brother was Senate President didn't look good but he did seem uninvolved.

Yeah, the IRS was on Whitey's tail but now he had a legitimate income to claim. But by then, his FBI handler tipped Whitey off that the Feds were coming and he disappeared until caught a few years ago.

As "dixonge" said: "sometimes the odds are in your favor"
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:09 PM   #16
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Actually (living here in Boston) the story circulated was that Whitey made the guy who won 'an offer he couldn't refuse'. Whitey owned the liquor store where the ticket was sold and his right hand man was the official lottery agent at the store.

The fact that Whitey's brother was Senate President didn't look good but he did seem uninvolved.

Yeah, the IRS was on Whitey's tail but now he had a legitimate income to claim. But by then, his FBI handler tipped Whitey off that the Feds were coming and he disappeared until caught a few years ago.

As "dixonge" said: "sometimes the odds are in your favor"
Well, that could be. He could've just gone to the winner and said "Hey, I hear WE won the lottery! Congrats, partner!" I had the impression he gave the guy cash to laundry the money to give himself "legit" income but maybe he skipped the giving cash part.

Another reason not to play the lottery.
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:18 PM   #17
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That article was quite long, but we'll worth the read! Thanks for posting!
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Old 03-03-2018, 07:39 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by omni550 View Post
And I wonder how many winning tickets they missed in visually scanning their thousands of lottery tickets each time?

From my days working in quality, typically humans are only about 85% accurate in performing visual inspections.

omni
15%?
(numbers be easy)
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Old 03-03-2018, 08:34 PM   #19
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Enjoyed the story. Thanks for posting.
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Old 03-03-2018, 11:31 PM   #20
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And I wonder how many winning tickets they missed in visually scanning their thousands of lottery tickets each time?

From my days working in quality, typically humans are only about 85% accurate in performing visual inspections.

omni
Thats why they checked them twice... so they would only miss ~ 2.25% of them. (15% of the 15% missed.)
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