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Elderly Couple Finds Loophole In Massachusetts Lottery

Math Whizzes Earn Big Money With Gambling Groups


To gain an edge in poker, a solid mathematical background is fundamental to winning in the long term, but to crack the lottery, it takes a mastery of advanced statistics as proven by the recent winners of the Massachusetts game Cash WinFall.

Marjorie and Gerald Selbee are set to earn millions thanks to a loophole they discovered in the lottery. The couple, both in their 70s, are part of a group of players that run a company called GS Investment Strategies. The group is made up of statisticians and engineers from MIT and Northwestern University and spends their time looking for favorable opportunities to make their bets.

The Cash WinFall game is a lock, however, thanks to a rarely seen rolldown policy. The purpose of the game is to match as many of the six, randomly numbered balls on your ticket as possible. A perfect six out of six will win the jackpot, but if that jackpot isn’t hit before it maxes out at $2.5 million, that prize money is then redistributed to the other winners.

Matching five out of six numbers would normally earn the winner $4,000, but during the rolldown games, that prize could swell to as big as $100,000. The key is to buy enough tickets to cover nearly all of the possible number combinations. The Selbee’s each purchased $307,000 worth of $2 tickets, nearly guaranteeing themselves a substantial profit.

Rolldowns occur often, once every few weeks, because it is nearly impossible to hit the jackpot otherwise. Wenxu Tong is the only person to have ever won it outright, and he is also part of a gambling company called Tong’s Fortunelot Limited Partnership. In fact, there are several companies in existence that look for lottery loopholes and experts suggest that they make up more than half of the money won each year.

Despite the fact that Cash WinFall has been solved, Paul Sternburg, the lottery’s executive director, has no plans to pull the game from the market, citing a profit of $11.8 million so far this year.



over 10 years ago

They will probably get sued for it later.


over 10 years ago

This isn't "solving" the lottery. "Solving it" implies executing a winning strategy independent of the prize amounts. This is a loophole. One that the govt has already shut down, or rather, made more difficult, by limiting the number of tickets each store can sell per day.