Luckiest alive, problem gamblers, or rigged draw? Meet New York’s Biggest Lotto Winners Ever
How amazing would it be? Coming home, checking your lotto numbers. Seeing a big winner. Waking up the next morning and jetting off to a tropical beach somewhere. Warm waves gently lapping your toes. Work, and responsibilities a distant memory. It sounds too good to be true, right? Well, for many it is. Statistically, the chances of winning the lotto are slim. Most people pick up the occasional low prize. They’d feel lucky if they managed to take down a three-figure sum at least once in their lifetime. Others never even get to experience the joy of taking that winning ticket down to the store, and demanding a few bills in return. For some, however, it’s a regular occurrence.
A Knack For Winning?
Meet Enrico Del Rio. He’s 94 years old, from Washington Heights, New York and he’s managed to bag himself lotto prizes of over $600 a staggering 276 times in just seven years. That’s over $1.4 million. “My family tells me I took all the luck”, he told one publication, “I seem to win all the time”. Del Rio has no idea how much he’s spent on the lotto over the years but a clerk at a deli he frequents claims he can go through upwards of $300 daily.
“He spends a lot of money. Sometimes hundreds every time he comes.”
The most lucrative game for him has been WIN-4. He’s bagged prizes an impressive 306 times for a total of $1.1 million. So, what does he spend his winnings on? “I know Jamaica better than the Jamaicans,” he laughed.
When asked about how he decides which numbers to play, he claims they come to him via dreams. He also uses “dream books” that reveal winning numbers based on past lotto draws. Double Red Publishing offer one such book “Lottery Vibrations”. Combining horoscopic predictions with some number crunching, tailored monthly recommendations for each player are draw up.
“It’s 30-plus years of gathering information, so that’s a lot there,” Ben DeSomma of Double Red Publishing says.
Del Rio isn’t the only one to who seems to have an unfair knack for the numbers though. A puzzling twenty-four players from New York state have won at least 200 times during the years 2009 and 2017, with five extra-lucky players receiving payment over 500 times in the same years.
If you’re currently scratching your head in bemusement, you’re not the only one. The New York Gaming Commission are equally intrigued by the players’ seemingly impossible victories. In fact, at the time of writing, they are currently investigated three of the winners but have declined to identify them, or explain the reason for their selection.
Spokesman for the commission, Lee Park, said, “we do not discuss the intricacies of the Lottery’s investigatory practices, other than to say they are comprehensive and thorough.”
In the past, crooked store clerks in states like Florida and North Carolia have lied to customers to defraud them of their lottery tickets when they come to collect a win. By telling them that their ticket is worthless, the workers have scooped up the prizes themselves, thus explains some repeat winners in those areas. However, the New York Lotto appears different. Many of the repeat winners in New York, Del Rio included, claim to have bought their tickets from over 100 distinct locations.
Of those winning, the most prolific is Randal Stier from Central Square near Syracuse. He’s won more than $600 on over 1,400 separate occasions. The total runs at over $1.5 million. Whilst Steir admits that every win bar two have been from just a pair of locations, retailers there do vouch for his insatiable gambling habit and his propensity to spend vast amounts of cash in efforts to satisfy his habit – reckoning the total cost to be well into the millions of dollars.
Until recently, however. Stier wasn’t the most impressive of the New York repeat lotto winners club. Lai Dick Fong from Queens unfortunately passed away on Jan 27th of this year, at the ripe old age of 85. He won over $1.7 million from 530 tickets, purchased on 366 different days. These tickets we bought from over 200 retailers too. Another elderly gent, Jerry Kubie, won over $1.2 million over 400 tickets from 130 locations around the Brooklyn area. Being a former day trader, however, he had plenty of cash to throw at the lottery.
“It’s not like the average person that puts down two and three dollars,” he said, “I would play two, three, four, five hundred dollars a day.”
Playing the Volume Game
One thing that these lotto players all seem to have in common is they are huge volume players. They have trouble estimating how much they’ve spent in total, which suggests that the figure is high. Mathematically speaking, of course they’re going to win the lotto more often than a person who plays one or two tickets every two weeks. The odds are certainly long but if you grab enough tickets, you significantly shorten them. Of course, for many plowing millions of dollars into state lotteries is downright foolish but they’d still like the chance of winning big. For them, playing slots for free online is ideal. You can play for free but win real money. Check out sites like Nodepositfriend.com, where you can learn everything there is to know about using free offers to play slots.
A Gambler’s Mindset
A gambler in the truest sense, Kubie’s line of work prepared him both mentally, and financially for betting big.
“I would buy and sell a stock 10, 20 times a day. I was capable of making $5,000 a day. If you gamble two or three hundred, it doesn’t mean anything.”
In addition to playing the stock market and lottery, he’d also frequent casinos and racetracks. His biggest wins, however came from a casino game that’s like keno. Known as Quick Draw, some have used the term “video crack” when describing the game – referring, of course, to its addictive qualities.
Whereas players choose their own numbers in Quick Draw, Kubie never bothered with such frivolities when playing the lottery. He opted instead for Quick Pick, letting a computer decide which selections he’d be backing. When constantly surrounded by numbers in “game of chance” style settings, you quickly lose any sentimentality attached to specific digits. You therefore might as well speed the process up a tad by getting computer science to randomly throw out the numbers for you.
Today, Kubie doesn’t bet quite as much as he once did. Unfortunately for him, his social security checks would force him to curb his habits.
“The more I earned, the more they took out. That’s another reason I stopped playing. I couldn’t afford to win too much anymore because I’d have no Social Security.” He added, “I saw I was going cold. I wanted to spend more time with my family.”
When asked about his good fortune Kubie says, “I’m one of the few people who can say they really made money with lotto. To be frank, I was just very lucky.”