Welcome Guest
Log In | Register )
The time is now 6:14 am
You last visited September 22, 2014, 6:09 am
All times shown are
Eastern Time (GMT-5:00)

Fortune cookie bet made Powerball lottery players rich

PowerballPowerball: Fortune cookie bet made Powerball lottery players rich

Powerball lottery officials suspected fraud: how could 110 players in the March 30 drawing get five of the six numbers right? That made them all second-prize winners, and considering the number of tickets sold in the 29 states where the game is played, there should have been only four or five.

Many different brands of fortune cookies come from Wonton Food's Long Island City factory.

But from state after state they kept coming in, the one-in-three-million combination of 22, 28, 32, 33, 39.

It took some time before they had their answer: the players got their numbers inside fortune cookies, and all the cookies came from the same factory in Long Island City, Queens.

Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs Powerball, said on Monday that the panic began at 11:30 p.m. March 30 when he got a call from a worried staff member.

The second-place winners were due $100,000 to $500,000 each, depending on how much they had bet, so paying all 110 meant almost $19 million in unexpected payouts, Mr. Strutt said. (The lottery keeps a $25 million reserve for odd situations.)

Many different brands of fortune cookies come from Wonton Food's Long Island City factory.Of course, it could have been worse. The 110 had picked the wrong sixth number - 40, not 42 - and would have been first-place winners if they did.

"We didn't sleep a lot that night," Mr. Strutt said. "Is there someone trying to cheat the system?"

He added: "We had to look at everything to do with humans: television shows, pattern plays, lottery columns."

Earlier that month, an ABC television show, "Lost," included a sequence of winning lottery numbers. The combination didn't match the Powerball numbers, though hundreds of people had played it: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42. Numbers on a Powerball ticket in a recent episode of a soap opera, "The Young and the Restless," didn't match, either. Nor did the winning numbers form a pattern on the lottery grid, like a cross or a diagonal. Then the winners started arriving at lottery offices.

"Our first winner came in and said it was a fortune cookie," said Rebecca Paul, chief executive of the Tennessee Lottery. "The second winner came in and said it was a fortune cookie. The third winner came in and said it was a fortune cookie."

Investigators visited dozens of Chinese restaurants, takeouts and buffets. Then they called fortune cookie distributors and learned that many different brands of fortune cookies come from the same Long Island City factory, which is owned by Wonton Food and churns out four million a day.

"That's ours," said Derrick Wong, of Wonton Food, when shown a picture of a winner's cookie slip. "That's very nice, 110 people won the lottery from the numbers."

The same number combinations go out in thousands of cookies a day. The workers put numbers in a bowl and pick them. "We are not going to do the bowl anymore; we are going to have a computer," Mr. Wong said. "It's more efficient."

New York Times

We'd love to see your comments here!  Register for a FREE membership — it takes just a few moments — and you'll be able to post comments here and on any of our forums. If you're already a member, you can Log In to post a comment.

11 comments. Last comment 9 years ago by CASH Only.
Page 1 of 1
Avatar
Greenwich, CT
United States
Member #4793
May 24, 2004
1822 Posts
Offline
Posted: May 11, 2005, 11:45 am - IP Logged

I think maybe the workers enjoy picking the numbers...and will hate going to computerized draws

The sixth number being 40 instead of 42 would've been better,  saving Powerball $19 million since everyone would've split the $25 million jackpot.  $76,000 post-tax cash for 111 winners.

    Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
    Chief Bottle Washer
    New Jersey
    United States
    Member #1
    May 31, 2000
    21534 Posts
    Online
    Posted: May 11, 2005, 12:06 pm - IP Logged



    I think maybe the workers enjoy picking the numbers...and will hate going to computerized draws

    The sixth number being 40 instead of 42 would've been better,  saving Powerball $19 million since everyone would've split the $25 million jackpot.  $76,000 post-tax cash for 111 winners.



    That's a really good point about the states saving money.  They must have been hating life after seeing all those 5+0 winners!  I don't think they mind as much seeing a jackpot winner, because that comes out of the shared jackpot pool, rather than out of the individual state funds.

     

    Check the State Lottery Report Card
    What grade did your lottery earn?

     

    Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
    Help eliminate computerized drawings!

      Avatar
      Wisconsin
      United States
      Member #1610
      June 3, 2003
      668 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: May 11, 2005, 3:20 pm - IP Logged

      [...The workers put numbers in a bowl and pick them. "We are not going to do the bowl anymore; we are going to have a computer," Mr. Wong said. "It's more efficient."...]

      With all due respect, Mr. Wong, The bowl method worked!

      ...the fortune cookie company should keep the bowl and forget the computers.

      ... the lottery never fails to surprise!
        Avatar
        Coastal Georgia
        United States
        Member #2653
        October 30, 2003
        1866 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: May 11, 2005, 3:31 pm - IP Logged

          Waah !!

        The states were crying..... They had to pay more than expected on that draw.

         

        Whatever !!!

         

                                       

                      

         

         

          lottolady24's avatar - scene sunovermountains.jpg
          New Member
          West Palm Beach, Florida
          United States
          Member #14811
          May 3, 2005
          17 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: May 11, 2005, 5:02 pm - IP Logged

          Okay, so they pick the numbers out of a bowl and it hits.  The logical thing to do next is to do a computer drawing so it will completely scramble the odds and sensibility of a system that worked well in the first place.  Yeah! 

                   

          Someone needs to refer Mr. Wong to the forums on this site.  Does anyone in the outside world know about this computerized drawing scandal??!! 

            time*treat's avatar - radar

            United States
            Member #13130
            March 30, 2005
            2171 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: May 12, 2005, 6:27 am - IP Logged

            Sometimes people say in public what they, in private, are TOLD to say.



                 

            If Mr. Wong "don't want no extra visits from the health inspector, building inspector" etc, he'll

               go to "computerized drawings" like everyone else.  

            In neo-conned Amerika, bank robs you.
            Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms should be the name of a convenience store, not a govnoment agency.

              RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
              mid-Ohio
              United States
              Member #9
              March 24, 2001
              17881 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: May 12, 2005, 11:31 am - IP Logged

              With all the lottery software on the market that claim to pick the winning numbers a good percent of the time, one would think the same thing would have happened with a group of players using the same lottery software.  I suspect that most lottery software have no strategy to pick any particular combinations or this would have happened by now.  If the those fortune cookie makers ever wanted to start selling their cookies as lottery software, they will have some good testimonials from some actual winners.

              RJOh

              * you don't need more tickets, just the right ticket * 
              * your best chance at winning a lottery jackpot is to buy a ticket * 
                   Wink 

                whodeani's avatar - lightening

                United States
                Member #2484
                October 9, 2003
                212 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: May 12, 2005, 4:20 pm - IP Logged

                I'm going to take this in a bit of a different direction. I saw this story posted on msn.com today. This story is big news?????? This happened a month and a half ago. This another illustration of how far behind the ball the main stream media is.

                As for the the fortune cookie method. I don't think it would be too smart for people to out and start playing fortune cookie numbers. I think it would be extremely odd for another fortune cookie number to hit again anytime soon.

                  LOTTOMIKE's avatar - cash money.jpg
                  Tennessee
                  United States
                  Member #7853
                  October 15, 2004
                  11334 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: May 12, 2005, 5:35 pm - IP Logged

                  shame on wong......SIGN THE PETITION to eliminate computerized drawings.

                    Avatar
                    Morrison, IL
                    United States
                    Member #4657
                    May 13, 2004
                    1867 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: May 15, 2005, 3:59 pm - IP Logged



                    I think maybe the workers enjoy picking the numbers...and will hate going to computerized draws

                    The sixth number being 40 instead of 42 would've been better,  saving Powerball $19 million since everyone would've split the $25 million jackpot.  $76,000 post-tax cash for 111 winners.



                      Oh man, if the sixth number had been 40 instead of 42, people would have rioted in the streets!


                      United States
                      Member #379
                      June 5, 2002
                      11296 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: May 16, 2005, 11:42 am - IP Logged

                      Not much better.