Gambling

Texas Lottery Player Won $95M Jackpot by Buying 26M Tickets

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Posted on: April 23, 2024, 10:46h. 

Last updated on: April 23, 2024, 10:57h.

The mystery winner, or winners, of a $95 million jackpot on the Texas Lottery 12 months ago appear to have scooped the top prize because they purchased every possible combination of winning numbers, The Houston Chronicle has learned.

Texas Lottery, Rook TX
As the Texas Lottery jackpot swelled to $95 million last year, it became mathematically exploitable, which is when the unknown player or players struck. (Image: KHOU)

That means they bought 25.8 million tickets at a dollar each. The same winner also won 289 second prizes for matching five of six numbers. It’s almost certain they also won all the lower prizes, too, although the Texas Lottery doesn’t keep track of these smaller wins. These prizes would add another $2.5 million to the total haul. In short, they beat the system.

Each Texas Lottery draw sells between 1 million to 2 million tickets. Records from the Texas Lottery Commission seen by the Chronicle show that for this particular draw, just over 28 million Lotto Texas tickets were sold.

Mathematically Exploitable

The April 22, 2023 draw was one of those rare occasions when the lottery becomes mathematically exploitable, albeit only to someone with enough capital to buy up every possible combination.

After 93 rollovers, the jackpot had swelled to $95 million. So the winner was ultimately investing $25.8 million to win a $95 million jackpot, which is actually more like $57.8 million after state and federal taxes are removed. Nevertheless, it’s still a fairly low-risk proposition.

Even if the jackpot is shared with one other winner, the mystery player would still make a small profit (as well as all those secondary prizes). A three-way split would have been a disaster, but this was considerably unlikely.

The Chronicle has calculated that because of the large jackpot and relatively low number of players in comparison with the number of tickets the mystery player purchased, there was a better than 90% chance of walking away with the full jackpot.

Little did they know it, but everyone else who entered the draw only had a shot at half the big prize.

Who’s Behind Rook TX?

So, who was behind this dastardly but perfectly legal scheme? The jackpot was claimed on June 27 by a limited partnership called Rook TX, based in Scotch Plains, NJ. The organization had apparently been established purely to collect the jackpot.

It’s not uncommon for lottery winners to form such entities so they can remain anonymous when claiming large prizes. Since 2015, winners of prizes greater than $1 million have been permitted to remain anonymous in Texas.

The only question that remains is how do you go about buying 25.8 million tickets in a week when the Texas Lottery typically only sells up to 2 million?

Records show that most of the tickets for the draw were sold by just four businesses. The winning ticket was purchased in person at a strip mall unit in Colleyville whose signage didn’t suggest that it sold lottery tickets, according to The Chronicle. But it was licensed by the state to do so.

The business, Lottery Now, sold 11 million of the tickets purchased for the draw and must have been printing around the clock to fulfill the order.

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