How to Cheat the Lottery in 7 Different Ways
Let’s be honest—the odds of winning a jackpot on any lottery are tough. Regardless of how many people have won to date, attaining this incredible feat may escape many of us irrespective of how often we play. Unfortunately, it is for this reason that some people get fed up with doing things the right way and try to do something shady that results in them landing a big win. In this article, we will look at how to cheat the lottery by seeing some real-life examples of people who have managed to rip off major lotteries—at least until they got caught.
Is It Possible to Cheat the Lottery?
Before we look at a few players and the way that they managed to cheat the lottery, let us answer the question that has an obvious answer—can cheating the lottery be done? Yes, as you may have already worked out, it is possible to cheat the lottery. However, as you will see in the examples below, doing this is no walk in the park. The added fact that there is a high likelihood of you being caught is also something to consider before you start plotting any questionable actions yourself.
With that said, let’s take a look at some people who did manage to cheat the lottery and how they did it.
Jerry Selbee and the Mathematical Loophole
Back in 2003, Jerry Selbee was visiting a convenience store he used to own when he came across a new lottery game by the Michigan Lottery called Windfall. After reading up on the game, Jerry—who happened to have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics—realised that the game had a particular loophole that could easily be exploited to get significant wins.
The loophole, which was formed when the jackpot prize rolled down to the lower prize tiers that had much better odds of winning, quickly proved to be a great source of funds—and Jerry made the most of it. Sadly, the lottery eventually caught on to the loophole and stopped the game. Undeterred, Jerry soon found another game, this time in Massachusetts, named Cash Windfall. Jerry exploited this game for seven years before the lottery realised it and shut down it down—not, however, before Jerry managed to walk away with around $8 million in winnings.
Stefan Mandel and the Millions of Tickets
Stefan Mandel was a Romanian citizen back in the 1960s who was battling to make ends meet. However, being an economist who was rather gifted at mathematics, Stefan developed a formula for trying to predict the results of upcoming lottery draws (similar to what many lottery tools promise today). After four years of research, Stefan put his formula to the test and actually won a large sum of money—which he used to buy a way out of the country for him and his family.
Stefan moved to Australia where he began orchestrating his main lottery hack. By checking the number pools used in a lottery, Stefan was able to determine every single possible combination that could occur. Then, by purchasing a ticket with every combination—an incredibly complex undertaking—he guaranteed himself a win. Stefan used this method to successfully win lotteries in the UK, America, and Australia for many years. Soon, however, the governments in these countries caught on and instituted laws that prevented this type of hack from occurring again.
Eddie Tipton and the Lucky Thumb Drive
Eddie Tipton was a loyal employee (and director of information security) at the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) back in 2005. Aside from this, Eddie was also a rather skilled programmer. Clearly, working in a company that awards millions to lucky players was too much temptation for Eddie, so he began to look for a way that he could win some money.
Eddie very cleverly created a root-kit software that could be installed on the computer that hosts the random number generators of lotteries and is used during draws to determine winning numbers. This great software helped Eddie determine what the winning numbers for upcoming draws would be before neatly deleting any trace that it had ever been there. For two years, Eddie managed to use his software without getting caught. Unfortunately, after suspicion arose after a winning ticket for the Iowa Hot Lotto tried to be claimed, Eddie was caught red-handed—thumb drive and all.
Howard Walmsley and the Small White Lie
In the late 90s, Englishman Howard Walmsley found himself failing to make ends meet, being hounded by debt collectors, and in a relationship with his wife that was failing. In what he must have thought was an effort to save everything from falling apart, Howard made the mistake of telling his wife a little lie that he had won a small amount on the lottery. Sadly, this small amount soon became £8.4 million—which in those days was an even more massive sum of money.
The problem with lying about winning the lottery is that you then have to live up to the lie—which Howard did all too well. After writing endless cheques that bounced, opening many bank accounts and accruing credit based on the promise of deposited lottery winnings, and even having hidden relationships with two other women to get money, everything came crashing down. The truth came out, and Howard’s hack was over—leaving him penniless and in prison.
Nick Perry and the Lottery Rig
Back in 1980, Nick Perry (aka Nicholas Katsafanas) was a popular television host that seemed to have it all. However, on the inside, Nick was brewing a genius plan that he could not wait to try and execute—a plan to rig the lottery and ensure a win. Nick quickly contacted two brothers that he was friends with and who worked in the vending machine market. His plan was simple—make exact replicas of the balls used in the lottery draw that weighed less so that only certain balls would be light enough to be picked.
The brothers quickly agreed to the plan, and Joseph Brock—a fellow employee of Nick’s—was tasked with getting a duplicate set of balls ready and delivered. He achieved this feat quickly and handed the rigged balls to Nick, who soon recruited a stagehand called Fred Luman. Fred was tasked with switching the balls before the draw and then switching them back after the draw. While the whole plan went off without a hitch, the lottery soon became suspicious and discovered what was happening, resulting in jail time for everyone.
Mohan Srivastava and the Secret Code of Scratchers
In June 2003, Mohan Srivastava was a geological statistician who one day became curious about how scratch tickets were made. Looking closely at a tic-tac-toe game he had only won $3 on, he realized the tickets weren’t quite as random as the lottery organizations would have us all believe. In fact, he found that certain numbers that were visible on the games before they were ever scratched reflected what he would eventually call a “secret code”. Understanding this code allowed him to predict which cards were winners about 90% of the time.
While he could’ve kept this information to himself and made a solid side income by exploiting this flaw, Srivastava already earned a good salary from his day job and decided to tell the Ontario Lottery and Gambling Commission what he found. When they saw that he was right, they immediately pulled several games and made sure future games were free of the same design flaw.
The Chung Family and the Unknowing Customer
While most of the aforementioned people were quite brilliant in how they cheated the lottery, the Chung family were nothing of the sort. Instead, they resorted to a simple and time-proven method: theft. Specifically, it was Jun-Chul Chung, the father of the family, who decided to steal a winning lottery ticket worth CA$12.5 million from a customer by the name of Daniel Campbell. In December 2003, Campbell had come into the store, which was managed by Jun-Chul’s son, to check if the ticket was a winner. Sensing an opportunity, Jun-Chul told Campbell that all the ticket won was five free plays and, having no reason to doubt him, Campbell accepted the news and left.
Shortly after, Jun-Chul’s daughter claimed the prize and the family started living large, buying two mansions, luxury vehicles, and much more. Years later, however, the Ontario Lottery and Gambling Commission investigated the matter and eventually figured out what happened. The family had to surrender all of their assets, and the father and daughter ended up behind bars. Fortunately for Campbell, he received his full jackpot—plus interest.
Edward Putnam and the Forged Ticket
Back in 2009, Edward Putman, one part mastermind and several parts scumbag, hatched a daring plan to scam the UK National Lottery. This plan consisted of enlisting the help of a friend named Giles Knibbs who had formerly worked for Camelot, the lottery organization behind all of the UK region's games, to produce for him a forged winning ticket. Since Knibbs's job had been in detecting fraudulent claims, he was definitely the right man for the job. After Knibbs provided Putman with the ticket, Putman was to cash it and they would split the £2.5 million prize 50/50.
Unfortunately, while Putman succeeded in fooling the lottery that he was in fact the rightful winner, he didn't stick to his word and only ended up paying Knibbs a total of about £330,000. The tension that this created resulted in Knibbs tragically taking his own life and Putman eventually being brought to trial for the scam—an incredible 10 years after collecting his winnings.
As you can see above, people have found many creative ways to hack different lotteries. However, each time a hack was discovered, laws surrounding lotteries and the security that each lottery employs to ensure its fairness strengthen—making it almost impossible for the same hack to occur twice.
As such, if you are looking to hack the lottery as a way to get rich quick, we recommend that you instead try out a more appropriate way of bettering your odds of winning by employing one of the many lottery strategies or playing as part of a lottery syndicate.