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Won the lottery reddit

When he offered $10,000 to improve the city’s water park so that it was more handicap accessible, locals complained that he spent more money at the strip club.

Poor guy. Humans can be real nasty 🙁

The hounding sounds awful but he made some poor choices.

-He stayed in the small town. -He left huge sums in his car (had 500k and 200k stolen in separate occasions). -Pulled out 50k at a strip club and slammed on the bar

Also, he had the problem of being one of the first. We just had a 1.5 billion earlier this year, another one just happened at 1.6. powerball tonight is at 620 and no one seems to care.

>Whittaker’s car was twice broken into, by trusted acquaintances who watched him leave large amounts of cash in it. $500,000 and $200,000 were stolen in two separate instances.

The more I read lottery winning stories, the more it becomes clear that you need to move (pref to another country) and change your name on the social level.

As for the handouts and beggers, it seems like it’d be better to incinerate all of the mail and make several anonymous donations to hospitals and programs (e.g. Make a Wish) in smaller amounts ($50k – $100k.)

It also seems prudent to have a few financial managers who are basically quarantined and unaware of the total sum of your net worth.

While it would be tempting to give money to family and friends, I don’t think you can go down this route with friends. I think helping family out by paying off their mortgage is fine, but I believe that most financial exchanges between friends spoils the relationship. This also applies for treating people to fancy dinners and stuff. I think you’d have to suck it up and split cheques like the pre-lotto days.

Anyway, thinking about this is a fun mental exercise, but I don’t doubt that I’d wind up with a knife in my spine, found days later on my personal yacht (not the one I entertain on.)

But yeah, I totally agree with the top subcomment: consult an attorney. Have that attorney help you with everything, like literally everything. In fact, it might be worth getting two so they make sure the other doesn’t take advantage of you and so you’ll have backup in case one attorney is unavailable. Your attorney should be able to hook you up with a good financial advisor, insurance (you’ll want umbrella insurance along with a bunch of other insurance you probably never knew you might need).

Won the lottery reddit When he offered $10,000 to improve the city’s water park so that it was more handicap accessible, locals complained that he spent more money at the strip club. Poor

IAmA Employee of a state lottery with intimate knowledge of the industry. AMA.

I’ve worked for a large state lottery for the past seven years primarily as a programmer, system security expert, and general “go-to” person for anything system related.

I can tell you anything you’ve ever wanted to know about the world of lottery tickets – from the high level questions down to technical details. Nothing is out of bounds. There are only a handful of people like me out there, so this is a chance for Reddit to really dig deep into the details!

EDIT: Jesus, this got popular. I’m doing my best to answer every question. It may take me a while – but rest assured that I will answer everything thrown my way!

EDIT 2: Alright, I’ve got to get some sleep. This blew up far bigger than I ever expected. I’ll get back on answering questions at some point tomorrow!

EDIT 3: I finally have time to sit down and answer more questions. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed, though. I just need to take them one at a time, I guess!

Comments: 1920 • Responses: 54 • Date: 2012-03-11 22:26:24 UTC source

pl303 492 karma 2012-03-11 23:01:06 UTC

The biggest weakness in a safe or a lock is that it’s meant to be opened. If you know how the insides work, it makes it easier to open. Is this true of the lottery? Is there such a thing as “inside trading” among lottery corporate? You guys know more about the system then anybody else. How easy would it be for you to ensure a winning ticket for a friend, etc. If a lotto insider wanted to, would he/she be able to successfully generate a winning ticket after the numbers are drawn?

yourluckynumbers 532 karma 2012-03-11 23:45:33 UTC

I love this question. Thank you for asking it. The lottery industry operates like Las Vegas. In other words, the whole thing is governed by an extreme separation of duties and access controls. Every lottery has a security division that exists for the sole purpose of catching crooks – both internal and external. It’s virtually impossible to “rig” a drawing or generate a winning wager post-draw without collusion on the part of at least five or six people. And even then, it would take a miracle to get past audits, system checks, etc.

I’m not saying that people haven’t tried, regardless. I’m not even going to say that it hasn’t happened. I will say it’s a one-way ticket to federal prison, though.

mondo_trails 146 karma 2012-03-12 01:07:35 UTC

do you know of any situation like this that has happened?

yourluckynumbers 308 karma 2012-03-12 02:37:19 UTC

I know of one situation in another state where an employee got caught trying to rig orders on instant tickets by working with a friend who was a night shift clerk at a convenience store.

They got caught and did two years apiece.

Swampfoot 304 karma 2012-03-12 04:04:05 UTC

Extreme hypothetical here.

Let’s say someone has figured out a way to transmit information into the past from the future. They bide their time, wait for a big win to come along, perhaps in Canada where no tax is taken off the winnings.

Then they get greedy and try to take two wins, maybe three or four. Maybe hand guaranteed winning numbers to family. I assume the extreme improbability of such an event would get someone’s attention.

I guess what I’m working up to, is there any sort of protocol in place to attempt to deal with information gained from the future, or for dealing with a time traveler? Would it even be illegal?

yourluckynumbers 167 karma 2012-03-12 05:16:25 UTC

No. There is no protocol for this – legal or otherwise. If you figure it out, you’re in the clear.

EarlJayHickey 384 karma 2012-03-12 04:55:09 UTC

I once hit it big with an instant scratch off. I won 100,000 dollars, but lost the ticket when I was hit by a car. You know the kind of guy who does nothing but bad things and then wonders why his life sucks? Well, that was me: every time something good happened to me, something bad was always waitin’ around the corner. Karma. That’s when I realized I had to change. So, I made a list of everything bad I’ve ever done, and one by one I’m gonna make up for all my mistakes. I’m just tryin’ to be a better person. My name is Earl.

yourluckynumbers 156 karma 2012-03-12 05:44:49 UTC

I feel like I just got Bel-Aired. You win the thread, sir.

BoldDog 165 karma 2012-03-11 22:40:14 UTC

Are you allowed to buy lottery tickets?

Is the lottery just a tax on poor/stupid people?

yourluckynumbers 244 karma 2012-03-11 23:39:50 UTC

No. I don’t know of a single state that allows lottery employees to buy tickets.

As far as being a tax on poor/stupid people, I hear that argument all the time. The truth is that people from all walks of life play lottery games. If anything, the most frequent players are older retired folks who don’t have anything else to spend their money on – not poor people.

lavakeese 110 karma 2012-03-12 02:35:18 UTC

I would say there are better ways to spend money if you have nothing else to spend it on, charities and whatnot, but my state lottery paid for my college education. So I’m damn happy about it.

EDIT: I just realised this could be confusing, I didn’t win it, I don’t play. It’s a scholarship with set requirements. If you make the GPA/ACT cutoff and you go to an school in state, you get money every semester as long as you don’t fuck up.

yourluckynumbers 110 karma 2012-03-12 02:38:04 UTC

I agree. There are better things to spend your money on.

But then again, you can’t win if you don’t play. If you want a chance to win, you’ve got to buy a ticket.

Penroze 162 karma 2012-03-12 01:05:12 UTC

Any interesting stories of fraud you can tell us about?

yourluckynumbers 310 karma 2012-03-12 01:21:03 UTC

You’d be shocked at how often retailers steal tickets from players by telling them that their ticket isn’t a winner. A few states have even gone so far as to set up an undercover team that specializes in catching these people. What they do is present retailers who players have complained about with “marked” tickets and then have them arrested when the retailer comes in to claim the prize. It’s a big program in California. They’ve caught a lot of people.

I’ve also seen several cases where a retailer is mass producing draw game wagers and re-selling them overseas on the Internet for huge mark-up – sometimes as much as 1000% of face value. That’s a quick path to prison, too.

And then, of course, we get idiots who do everything they can to make losing tickets look like winners hoping to get an idiot convenience store clerk to “sight validate” the ticket instead of scanning it in the system to see if it’s a win. We discourage the hell out of that behavior. Clerks should never pay out based on a ticket they THINK is a winner. I will never understand why they don’t just scan the damn things.

AcousticHockey 369 karma 2012-03-12 02:23:34 UTC

It’s funny that you wrote about this tonight. Not sure if you caught Dateline NBC but Chris Hansen did a special where he had an undercover crew go into retailers, present 3 tickets (2 losers and 1 winner say $7500) and see what the retailer would do. Some of them would tell them that they won a big prize, others would say “All losers” or “You won $5!” then they would turn around and try to claim the prize for themselves. Needless to say Chris Hansen would walk in and say “Why don’t you have a seat right there. ” It was a great special to watch, did you catch it?

yourluckynumbers 291 karma 2012-03-12 02:41:06 UTC

That special is part of the reason I started this thread. It was actually the second time Hansen has done a piece on retailer scams. The first one sent a shockwave through the industry and caused several lotteries to create programs due to outcry from players following the revelation that people steal things.

keith7812 125 karma 2012-03-12 03:57:40 UTC

Clerks should never pay out based on a ticket they THINK is a winner. I will never understand why they don’t just scan the damn things.

As a former clerk who sold lottery tickets, I would guess that the reason why “sight” payments is an issue is because the lottery machines (like any other machine in your average convenience store) are down ALL THE DAMN TIME.

The official policy is, of course, to tell the customer with a winning ticket that you are sorry that you cannot cash the ticket at that point in time and to come back at some random point in the future when, hopefully, the machine is working. However, if you work in a store that heavily emphasizes customer service, the customer is a regular customer, you have a long line, and/or you simply don’t feel like getting into an argument at that point in time, the pressure is certainly on to just give them their $3 based on your own analysis of the ticket.

Obviously, this isn’t the best practice, and I never saw this happen with a winning ticket of over $5. However, the reality is that in an environment that employs (typically) people making minimum wage with a high school level education, mistakes and variations from store policy are going to happen. I’ve worked many different jobs at many different levels, and low-level retail in a busy store is easily the most high-pressure of the bunch.

TL;DR – Clerks pay out a ticket they THINK is a winner because they trust themselves and the lottery machine is always down.

yourluckynumbers 83 karma 2012-03-12 05:21:27 UTC

I totally understand that. And you’re right. The terminals go down far too often. But you’re taking on an incredible liability (read: potential job loss or lawsuit) by sight validating.

AllTerrainRikshaw 92 karma 2012-03-12 04:10:43 UTC

I worked at a small grocer that sold lotto tickets and our machines made these stupid sounds whenever a winning ticket was processed. I asked my boss if we could turn it down, but he said their lotto ticket license could be revoked because it could aid ticket stealing. Is this common?

yourluckynumbers 121 karma 2012-03-12 05:21:53 UTC

Yes. This is very common, in fact. That sound is loud and obnoxious for a reason. 🙂

zpmorgan 138 karma 2012-03-11 22:44:34 UTC

Until recently I worked at a convenience store, where I sold tickets to compulsive gamblers. They seemed to think there was somehow a conspiracy where the winning numbers are fixed in advance. They still played for some reason, and sometimes I argued with them about randomness & statistics.

Here’s my question: WTF? This “game” ruins peoples’ lives, and many with mental illness seem particularly vulnerable. I don’t see how it’s even remotely beneficial.

Also, what software platform do you use?

yourluckynumbers 112 karma 2012-03-11 23:41:09 UTC

There are definitely a lot of people out there with gambling problems. I won’t argue that point with you. I will say that the vast majority of the population seems to have a handle on their play, though.

Can you be more specific about your question regarding software platform?

zpmorgan 56 karma 2012-03-12 00:40:59 UTC

You mentioned that you work as a programmer. I’m curious about what sorts of software & hardware systems the lottery uses.

yourluckynumbers 108 karma 2012-03-12 02:25:08 UTC

It varies wildly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that we don’t really have “industry standards” for internal operations.

For hardware, we use a LOT of Dell, Cisco, etc. Nothing out of the ordinary for a big IT operation. Software-wise, we’re a Microsoft shop pretty much top to bottom. (For what we do, they’re by far the best.)

nurani 798 karma 2012-03-12 04:49:27 UTC

generating random results is pretty much Microsoft’s schtick.

yourluckynumbers 179 karma 2012-03-12 05:19:16 UTC

Bra-fucking-vo. I haven’t laughed out loud so hard in a LONG time.

RichR11511 39 karma 2012-03-12 03:28:28 UTC

Not sure which state you are from, but South Carolina lottery terminals are Linux based now.

yourluckynumbers 75 karma 2012-03-12 03:58:13 UTC

Well, if we’re talking about field equipment, then yes – the standard out there is Linux.

nthitz 7 karma 2012-03-12 05:30:47 UTC

What distro? Custom I assume, but must be based on something

yourluckynumbers 13 karma 2012-03-12 06:50:10 UTC

Custom build on top of Red Hat.

skalex 121 karma 2012-03-12 02:37:49 UTC

Has anyone ever won a high tier prize and not ever come to claim it? Do you get to see people claiming their money/ their reactions? How did you even get into this industry in the first place? Do you play the lottery yourself?

yourluckynumbers 196 karma 2012-03-12 02:58:09 UTC

Yes. It happens all the goddamn time. You wouldn’t believe how often, actually.

Yes, I get to see people claiming money on occasion. I’ve seen it all: poker face, tears, hysterics. and one guy who busted out in a full-on dance routine that would have shamed even Michael Jackson.

I fell into my job. Seriously. It was an accident. I was in the right place at the right time.

I used to buy instant tickets on occasion. I can’t play as an employee. I will probably play occasionally again if I ever leave the industry.

pHreaksYcle 17 karma 2012-03-12 03:30:06 UTC

To this about just for know then two our be when one. This say first time than most make new and what. Think if as their now no most well. Do or so work year people our.

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yourluckynumbers 35 karma 2012-03-12 04:15:20 UTC

Nothing, really. I’m sure this has happened. But if you get caught benefiting from a win like that. bad news.

Sammarco7 115 karma 2012-03-12 03:30:06 UTC

I’ve noticed a new fade in lottery payouts that are “win x amount every week for life” but in small print it will always say “a guaranteed payout of at least x amount” If i win one of those, will the state pay me until i die, or do they have some legal loophole to get out of it after they hit that minimum. The difference between a 20 year old winning and an 80 year old winning one of these is enormous if they actually pay out.

yourluckynumbers 95 karma 2012-03-12 05:23:13 UTC

Always read the fine print. Some games are truly “for life”. Others are not.

hello_moto 44 karma 2012-03-12 06:56:13 UTC

Really?! I don’t understand how any game can afford to payout $10K (or more) per week, for life. I do read the fine print, but I always just assumed there must be something I wasn’t seeing.

yourluckynumbers 76 karma 2012-03-12 07:05:01 UTC

It all comes down to how many people are buying tickets trying to win that $10,000/week for life.

AcousticHockey 103 karma 2012-03-11 22:36:57 UTC

When a scratch ticket claims that there are “win for life winners” or there are “10 $2 million prizes” do they actually have those already printed? I always think that they will wait until the last second to print those then distribute them. I mean it would be bad for business if all grand prizes were won at the start. Also, do they continue to print tickets as they go along or all tickets for a game printed at once, distributed and that’s that?

yourluckynumbers 167 karma 2012-03-11 23:33:46 UTC

Alright, here’s the basic rundown on a scratch (also referred to as instant) game at a typical lottery:

The lottery usually has a designated liaison or a team of some kind that works with the jurisdiction’s instant ticket vendor to come up with the art, prize structure, etc. (Lotteries don’t print the games themselves. This is done at a high security location owned and operated by an outside vendor. That’s a world all on its own.) The game is printed all at once. It isn’t done in phases and a game’s prize structure doesn’t change once it’s set. In other words, it is possible for the top prizes from a game to be claimed within the first few weeks after a game ships.

Speaking of shipping, scratch games are almost always shipped from the vendor to some sort of distribution facility owned by the lottery for which the game was printed. Tickets are shipped out to lottery retailers from there.

Every instant ticket game has a set expiration date (usually printed right on the ticket) and some states have laws requiring that the lottery to post information about which prizes have already been claimed on their website and/or at their office(s). Most people never think to check this, though, and they just keep buying even after all “top tier” prizes have been claimed.

Most lotteries have a set monthly or quarterly schedule for new instant games. That’s all relative to the size of the state and how popular instant tickets are there.

There are only a handful of companies in the world that print instant tickets both because it’s incredibly expensive to do and because trust is paramount in the lottery industry. The two largest and most trusted printing operations are owned by Scientific Games and GTECH, which also happen to be two of the most popular draw game vendors.

TheOpus 36 karma 2012-03-12 02:52:19 UTC

What about distribution? Does someone know where the top tier winning tickets will end up? How do they spread them out so that all of the best ones don’t end up at the same liquor store on the corner?

yourluckynumbers 84 karma 2012-03-12 04:46:23 UTC

No. The vendor knows which packs contain the high tier winners. The lottery doesn’t. And vice versa for where the packs are shipped. As long as that balance is preserved, everything is kosher.

ichuckle 28 karma 2012-03-12 02:53:12 UTC

am I being a complete boob when I play these?

yourluckynumbers 102 karma 2012-03-12 04:13:13 UTC

Chances are, yes. But then again, you could pop a $1,000,000 winner one day when you least expect it. I just had a chat with a guy a few weeks ago who stopped to buy a newspaper at a gas station, decided to get an instant while he was at it, and ended up walking away with $500,000. Paid off his house, car, and credit cards.

Hedgefunddude 89 karma 2012-03-12 02:23:53 UTC

Did you hear about that guy who cracked that scatch game in Canada.

yourluckynumbers 139 karma 2012-03-12 02:29:19 UTC

Yep. Ontario. Bunch of total morons running that shop. People who have worked for the Ontario Lottery don’t even list it on their resume if they can avoid it. I know two former employees of that lottery. Poor bastards had some of the most incompetent leadership in the history of the industry.

Hedgefunddude 57 karma 2012-03-12 04:10:39 UTC

Care to explain more about why they’re so incompetent?

yourluckynumbers 85 karma 2012-03-12 05:24:59 UTC

They got blown to bits in an audit. They were told to fix their operation. They categorically failed to do so and as a result other lotteries across the country have had to deal with intense public relations fallout.

ta1ntdude 85 karma 2012-03-11 22:34:40 UTC

What is the best strategy to win the lottery? Or am I better off just not playing at all? Do you know what happens to most lottery winners? Do they go crazy and spend it irresponsibly or do most of them end up being smart?

yourluckynumbers 155 karma 2012-03-11 23:36:41 UTC

It all comes down to odds. In my state, for example, we have several daily draw games that have relatively low set jackpot amounts but the chance of winning is exponentially higher than the rolling jackpot games.

As far as scratch (also known as instant) games go, stay away from $1 and $5 games. Everyone buys them, so the chance of winning a top tier prize is low, and the top tier prizes are normally not enough to warrant playing. You’ve got a good chance of winning big on $10 games if your state sells them. Nobody buys those. I don’t even know why some states even bother with them, honestly.

IAmA Employee of a state lottery with intimate knowledge of the industry. AMA. I’ve worked for a large state lottery for the past seven years primarily as a programmer, system security expert, ]]>