How to Win the Lottery with Data Analytics

It’s becoming increasingly clear that data analytics can help your company add value, remain competitive and identify new business opportunities.  However, did you know that it can even help you win the lottery – at least in the case of the elderly Massachusetts couple Marjorie and Gerald Selbee.

The couple each bought $307,000 in the Massachusetts Cash WinFall lottery on July 12th. They stand to add a couple million more to their lottery winnings for this year.

Yes, you read that right. This couple has developed a method for winning the lottery based on analytics and loopholes. According to a report in the Boston Globe, the Selbees’ company GS Investment Strategies games the system.

Through some crafty buying – more than $100K in tickets – gamblers can gain a huge advantage during the period after the jackpot hits $2 million with no winners. The way the rules are written, smaller prizes go up much higher in value, reports the Globe.


Data analysts and statisticians are finding that if the right amount of money is invested at the right time, a large purse can be expected.

Mohan Srivastava, a statistician who studied at MIT who became famous for predicting winners 9 out of 10 times in a Canadian scratch ticket game, told the Globe that Cash WinFall “is not being played as a game of chance.”

Here’s how the Selbees and other gamblers win the high dollars with investments of other people’s money:

  1. The way to win the jackpots is to have the ticket that matches six randomly selected balls. This has only happened once in the game’s seven-year history.
  2. The jackpot grows over time like all lotteries and caps out at between $500K and $2.5 million.
  3. When the jackpot is maxed out and no winner is selected, the lottery organizers spread the jackpot across ticket holders with three, four or five matches.

Boston University math and statistics professor Mark Kon says that if you buy $100K in tickets, you have a 74 percent chance of winning during this window of jackpot distribution time. The more you purchase, the better your chances of winning. Kon told the Globe that this is how big buyers like the Selbees have nearly zero risk in losing money.


And for the question you’ve all been waiting for – is this legal and fair? Yes and yes. Cash WinBall executive director Paul Sternburg told the Globe that “it’s a niche game for a different audience.” He says that the lottery has gained $11.8 million in profits this year.


Such unconventional uses are will likely increase as data becomes more prevalent and statistics software packages become easier to use.  What are your thoughts on using analytics to win the lottery? Any takers?