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Retiree From Rural Michigan Tells Us About The Moment He Figured Out How To Beat The State’s Lottery — And Then Bought Gold with the Winnings

“I think devaluation of the dollar is a certainty,” he said.

by Rob Wile
Business Insider

Gerald Selbee was never a big lotto guy.

The 73-year-old retired store owner from rural Michigan who still prefers paper to computers occasionally played Pick-3s and Pick-4s, and even more rarely instant games or scratch-offs.

On Friday, Selbee and a host of others were named — but absolved of any wrongdoing — in a report from the Massachusetts Inspector General’s office on how large-volume betters cracked that state’s game.

One day in 2003, while buying a soda at a convenience store, he picked up a brochure advertising Michigan’s newest lotto game, a pick-5 called Winfall.

The game was structured so that if the jackpot hit $5 million but was not claimed, the money would “roll-down” to those who’d picked five, four and three numbers correctly.

While Selbee was not a frequent lottery player, he had earned a Bachelor’s in mathematics and had started Master’s degree in the subject.

So it took him “about 4 minutes,” he told us from his home in Evart, Mich. to realize that if you bought enough tickets, the odds of taking home money became overwhelming.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said.

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