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Retired couple have won 23m after 'cracking code' to win lottery

Anish Vij

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Retired couple have won 23m after 'cracking code' to win lottery

A retired couple have totalled a whopping £23 million in lottery earnings after casually finding a legal loophole allowing them to win regularly.

Jerry and Marge Selbee from small town Evart in Michigan sold their corner store business back in 2003 and had planned to retire in their 60s.

However, in 2003, when Jerry decided to pop into his old store for a look, he spotted a new state lottery game and the father-of-six, who has a bachelor's degree in the mathematics, noticed a 'special feature' called a 'Rolldown'.

A retired couple have totalled a whopping £23 million in lottery earnings after casually finding a legal loophole allowing them to win regularly. Credit: CBS
A retired couple have totalled a whopping £23 million in lottery earnings after casually finding a legal loophole allowing them to win regularly. Credit: CBS

Different from the usual rule where the jackpot keeps building until someone hits all six numbers - if the jackpot reached $5 million, and no one matched all six numbers, all the money 'rolled down' to the lower-tier prize winners, who matched five, four or three numbers.

Within 'three minutes' Jerry managed to crack the code.

His exploits have become the subject of a feature film named Jerry & Marge Go Large - which was released this year and stars Bryan Cranston.

Now Jerry has explained just how he did it. Bare with us as it definitely gets a bit confusing.

He told CBS: "Here's what I said. I said if I played $1,100 mathematically I'd have one 4-number winner, that's 1,000 bucks. 

"I divided 1,100 by six instead of 57 because I did a mental quick dirty and I come up with 18.

"So I knew I'd have either 18 or 19 3-number winners and that's 50 bucks each.

"At 18 I got $1,000 for a 4-number winner, and I got 18 3-number winners worth $50 each, so that's 900 bucks.

"So I got $1,100 invested and I've got a $1,900 return."

Michigan would suddenly shut down the game in 2005. Credit: CBS
Michigan would suddenly shut down the game in 2005. Credit: CBS

It didn't take long for Jerry and Marge Selbee to start playing for thousands as Jerry said: "We played $515,000 and we got back $853,000."

Michigan would suddenly shut down the game in 2005.

However, as one door closes another one opens and the couple managed to find an almost identical game in Massachusetts called Cash Winfall and were able to earn even more.

The couple would drive 900 miles to Massachusetts every time there was a 'Rolldown' and would buy hundreds of thousands of tickets at two local shops.

They said they would play 10 hours a day, 10 days straight, with over ' $600,000 per play. Seven plays a year'.

Jerry said: "We played $515,000 and we got back $853,000." Credit: CBS
Jerry said: "We played $515,000 and we got back $853,000." Credit: CBS

Jerry added: “Our first play was $80,000 with 40,000 tickets, and our last play was $712,000 with 366,000 tickets.

“We did spend 11 to 14 nights at the motel in South Deerfield and it was something we looked forward to.

“It was something different and it was profitable and it was able to help our family and help our friends out with a little financial boost.”

The Massachusetts state treasurer eventually shut down the Cash Winfall game.

Featured Image Credit: CBS

Topics: National Lottery, US News

Anish Vij
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