Lotteries are supposed to be random. If there were a pattern behind them, surely some whizzbang genius would have figured it out by now. One couple now claims that they have. The retirees have $26 million to back up their claims. That staggering number represents the couple’s winnings over just six years.
Jerry and Marge Selbee have been playing numerous state lotteries from their home in Evart, Michigan. They ran a convenience store for years, but sold it with Jerry made a major discovery.
Selbee majored in math at Western Michigan. When he saw the advertisement for a new game–Winfall–he almost instantly realized how it worked.
“The unique feature he cracked was the ‘roll down’, which was when no one won the $5 million jackpot and the money was then spread across those who matched five, four and three numbers,” Daily Mail writes.
“Lottery bosses announced when this was happening and it meant Jerry knew when to buy thousands of tickets, working out he would get a certain amount of five, four and three matches if he bought enough tickets.”
Selbee knew that if he bought $1,100 worth of tickets, he would end up with one four-number winner worth $1,000.
The same batch would yield 18 or 19 three-number winners. Those are worth $50. So $1,100 would return $1,900. Not bad.
He tested it once with $3,600. This ended up with a $6,300 return. He ran this again and again, and was successful each time. After the unbelievable scheme took off, he “then set up a corporation called G.S. Investment Strategies and invited family and friends to buy shares for $500 each.”
Michigan eventually closed down their game. Other states, though, were still running similar games.
“It is actually just basic arithmetic,” Selbee told reporters. “It gave you the satisfaction of being successful at something that was worthwhile to not only us personally but to our friends and our family.”
“The only thing I found really remarkable is nobody else really seemed to grasp it.”
After all of the winnings were discovered, lottery officials in Michigan opened an investigation. It seems they didn’t understand how this scheme was possible, either. After looking into it, though, they didn’t find any corruption.
Now the Selbees are winning again. They’ve sold the film rights to the story to Hollywood.