It was easier than you could’ve imagined.
All it took was a little bit of basic math.
Jerry and Marge Selbee of Evart, Michigan, were so successful at winning various state lotteries, that they set up a syndicate to help friends and family to do the same thing.
The Selbees made $26 million over just six years. In 2003, when Mr. Selbee made the life-changing discovery, the couple sold the convenience store that they had been running for 17 years and focussed on the state lotteries.
He has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Western Michigan University and when he saw a brochure for a new lottery called Winfall, he realized within minutes how to beat the odds.
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.
Mr. Selbee had worked out that if he played $1,100 worth of tickets, he would have one 4-number win, which paid out $1000 as well as 18 or 19 3-number wins, which paid out $50 each, which would mean $900 for a total payout of $1,900.
His first attempt had him double his money. He purchased $3,600 worth of tickets and won $6,300. He then played $8,000 worth of tickets and doubled his money again. It just escalated from there. Mr. Selbee then set up a corporation called G.S. Investment Strategies and sold shares for $500 each to friends and family. For six years, the group of 25 members of the G.S. Investment Group dominated the Cash WinFall lottery ‘rolldown weeks’.
Hollywood has now bought the rights to the Selbees story and it may be made into a movie.
The couple would sit in a Red Roof Inn, sorting through the tickets by hand for 10 hours a day for 10 days in a row, putting over $600,000 on per play, seven times a year.
The Selbee’s kept all the losing tickets, which amounted to around 18 million, in 65 plastic buckets in their barn.
Mr Selbee told CBS News: ‘It is actually just basic arithmetic. 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.’
The Selbees weren’t the only ones that found a way to beat the odds. A group of students at MIT who were math majors were also buying tickets in large volume. The Boston Globe investigated in 2011 and found not only the MIT syndicate but the Selbees as well.
Between $17 and $18 million was bet by the MIT syndicate over a seven-year period, earning at least $3.5 million in profits.
As a result the Massachusetts state treasurer shut down the Cash Winfall game and called for an investigation, with fears the game was rigged.
But the investigation found none of the odds of winning were affected by the high-volume of betting.
Their corporation made a total of $26 million and the Selbees came away with nearly $8 million profit before taxes.
The Selbees used the money to renovate their home and help their six children, 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren pay for education.
Source: Daily Mail
The kicker is that the Selbees did it all legally. All they did was figure out the lottery odds.
Watch the 60 Minutes report on the Selbees:
That’s so awesome!
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