Lotteries are said to be sucker bets for those who lack mathematical understanding, but some who understand systemic quirks can exploit them for huge gains.
The Boston Globe spotlights an elderly Massachusetts couple who spent a combined $614,000 to take advantage of a hitch in a state lottery game that hands out large payoffs for secondary prizes when no one hits the jackpot. An MIT statistician tells the paper that the game in question “isn’t being played as a game of chance. Some smart people have figured out how to get rich while everyone else funds their winnings.”
According to the statistician, gamblers who buy 200,000 tickets in the game during specific periods can profit somewhere between $240,000 to $1.4 million.
Operating through their gambling enterprise, the couple has already claimed more than $1 million in winnings from ticket winners that range from $802 to $24,821.
In a statement, lottery officials said “It is very important to note that their actions in no way compromised the operation or integrity of the game.”