Caught Stealing

And it’s all perfectly legal, because it’s all in the math.

A game with a windfall for a knowing few

Billy’s Beer and Wine sold exactly $47 worth of lottery tickets the day before Marjorie Selbee arrived, just another sleepy day for the liquor store in this tiny Western Massachusetts town. But from the moment the 70-something woman from Michigan entered the store early July 12, Billy’s wasn’t sleepy anymore.

Over the next three days, Selbee bought $307,000 worth of $2 tickets for a relatively obscure game called Cash WinFall, tying up the machine that spits out the pink tickets for hours at a time. Down the road at Jerry’s Place, a coffee shop in South Deerfield, Selbee’s husband, Gerald, was also spending $307,000 on Cash WinFall. Together, the couple bought more than 300,000 tickets for a game whose biggest prize – about $2 million – has been claimed exactly once in the game’s seven-year history.

But the Selbees, who run a gambling company called GS Investment Strategies, know a secret about the Massachusetts State Lottery: For a few days about every three months, Cash WinFall may be the most reliably lucrative lottery game in the country. Because of a quirk in the rules, when the jackpot reaches roughly $2 million and no one wins, payoffs for smaller prizes swell dramatically, which statisticians say practically assures a profit to anyone who buys at least $100,000 worth of tickets.

During these brief periods – “rolldown weeks’’ in gambling parlance – a tiny group of savvy bettors, among them highly trained computer scientists from MIT and Northeastern University, virtually take over the game. Just three groups, including the Selbees, claimed 1,105 of the 1,605 winning Cash WinFall tickets statewide after the rolldown week in May, according to lottery records. They also appear to have purchased about half the tickets, based on reports from the stores that the top gamblers frequent most.

See also:
Elderly Couple Games Lottery, Wins Millions
Elderly Couple Finds Loophole In Massachusetts Lottery
How to Win the Lottery: Couple Profited From Quirk in Massachusetts Cash WinFall Game
Beating the System: Couple Spends $600,000 to Win Lottery Millions
Talk about making your own luck! Elderly couple who spent $600,000 on lottery tickets to win millions in prizes
Massachusetts Lottery Loophole Virtually Guaranteed a Profit
Massachusetts Lottery Players Exploit Game for Profit
How three groups collected almost 70% of lottery winnings
Gamblers find loophole in Mass. lottery game
Lottery scheme appears to cause trouble for area outlets
Massachusetts restricts lottery ticket sales after couple cracks secret to winning millions
Lottery restricts high-level players
Broken Lotteries

How stupid is Massachusetts for not catching this after the first time? Limiting the amount of tickets an outlet can sell in a day now is a lot like closing the barn door after the horse is long gone.

/oh well, all good things must come to an end and the Selbees are laughing all the way to the bank

Don’t Let The Bedbugs Bite

Bedbugs, once virtually eradicated in the United States, are making a comeback, thanks EPA!.

EPA to Blame for Bedbug Problems?

How long until we see a bedbugs horror movie on the big screen? With the nasty critters invading everything from movie theaters in Times Square to lingerie stores and hotels, there’s a damn near panic brewing over the tiny blood-suckers.

With bedbug infestations up 71 percent since 2001 at hotels and cases popping up across the country, people are starting to wonder: just how did this happen? Considering that the bugs have come back in part because of their increased resistance to available pesticides and a general cluelessness on how to effectively get rid of them because of their long absence, it’s hard to say.

But one target of the welt-covered masses is an unlikely suspect: the Environmental Protection Agency. It seems that some scientists and victims believe that after eradicating the nasty critters between World War II and the mid-1990s, bedbugs have staged a huge comeback after the Clinton-era Congress passed a major new pesticides law in 1996 that banned a number of chemicals that had been reliable bed bug killers.

Though the long-banned DDT is not a culprit – since the bugs had already developed a tolerance for that nasty chemical – the banning of such pesticides as Malathion and Propoxur may have contributed to the new wave of infestations. Now, leaders such as Ohio governor Ted Strickland are trying to get a waiver from the EPA to use the compounds to combat one of the country’s worst outbreaks in cities such as Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio.

See also:
Why Is an Epidemic of Blood-Sucking Bed Bugs Sweeping the Nation?
US grapples with bedbugs, misuse of pesticides
Bedbugs staging dramatic comeback in the United States
Bedbugs Bite Their Way Across the Country
Battling bedbugs
Terminix Releases List of Top 15 Cities Favored by Bedbugs
Minneapolis Makes the List of Most Bedbug-Infested Cities
Twin Cities Bed Bug Problem Reaches Motel Rooms
Bedbug

Oh boy, Minneapolis is 15th on the infestation list.

/I’m glad there’s a river between Minneapolis and Saint Paul, I hope the little blood suckers can’t swim