pen sitting on lottery ticket
Mayukh Saha
Mayukh Saha
June 15, 2023 ·  3 min read

Man uses simple math formula to win the lottery 14 times

Winning the lottery is a big deal for a lot of people. In fact, some people do away with their lives savings, hoping for that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But the chances of an individual winning a major lottery are around 1 in 14 million. As it stands, most of us would never win a lottery in our lives. Yet, for Stefan Mandel, a mathematician, it was quite simple to win the lottery 14 times during his heyday, something that he did without taking recourse to anything illegal. The Australian citizen, who was born in Romania, utilized his skill with numbers, as well as his wit, in order to create the perfect formula that helped him crack into the system. 

Former Romanian Economist Uses Wit and Math To Win The Lottery 14 Times

Initially, Mr. Mandel worked as an economist in Romania, where he tested his formula and hoped for a second-prize win by using only five numbers that were provided by his formula- while he simply guessed the sixth digit. Luck was with him, as he ended up winning the big prize and left Romania to settle comfortably in Australia. Yet, the desire to win big never left him. After arriving in Australia, Stefan Mandel decided to fine-tune his formula so that he could win the lottery in this country. Since the probable and possible combinations in the Australian lottery are quite an instance, Mr. Mandel started looking for investors who would help him scoop us as many tickets from every major draw. 

Mathematician Stefan Mandel in an interview.

Stefan’s formula had some merit, as it helped him calculate five out of the six numbers. Hence, the number of combinations became finite, and Mr. Mandel started focusing on the big prizes which offered more money than any of the other possible combinations. With that money, he decided to purchase even more tickets, so there would be more chances of winning the lottery. As it turns out, he managed to win 12 times, and the authorities in the country started realizing that they were being fed.

But, there was nothing illegal about Mandel’s formula. So they had to initiate a series of laws that were devised to block him. They understood that his mathematical genius was not in the spirit of the game. The new law made it illegal for a single person to purchase every single ticket of the lottery. In order to find a loophole, Mr. Mandel found five separate business partners. Then, the authorities decided to enact another law that made it illegal for groups to purchase all the tickets in a draw.

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Even If The Government Didn’t Like It, It Was Not Illegal

Here, Mr. Mandel then created a lottery firm to exploit yet another loophole. But, as it goes with governmental interference, the more he went through one hurdle, the government decided to put out one more. Before long, Stefan grew pretty tired of the cat-and-mouse game and started looking at the greater market. When he was scouting some of the countries that offered a lot through their lotteries, he realized that the USA had not yet brought in the laws that Australia had. 

So, he immediately started working on the American system, with a special focus on the lottery in Virginia. During this period, the pool had around 7.1 million possible number combinations. Furthermore, the tickets had a price of $1 each. Mr. Mandel managed to convince over 2000 people to pool around $25000 each. After a couple of years, in 1992, the jackpot reached a sum of $27 million, and the team purchased every single ticket. Speaking to Planet Money, the great gambler mentioned, “I knew that I would win one first prize, 6 second prizes, 132 third prizes, and thousands of minor prizes.” His total profits went beyond $30 million. 

Mr. Mandel’s exploits in winning the lottery resulted in a legal battle for over four years. This also saw the syndicate being investigated by the FBI and the CIA. However, the suspicions went completely unfounded. Yet, as happened with Australia, the laws had to be changed in order to outlaw the technique displayed by Mr. Mandel. Sadly, by 1995, the former economist had to file for bankruptcy. 

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H/t: Daily Mail