It's called Broadway News, but the Money Store might be a better name. New York State Lottery money falls like thousand-dollar bills from heaven at the newsstand at 352 Broadway in Newburgh.
Since 2002, 154 people have won $1,000 or more at the store. That's nearly twice as many as the next store with the most winners in Ulster, Sullivan and Orange counties, a Sunday Record analysis found.
The Quick Mart at 515 Broadway sells nearly as many tickets but had just 81 winners in the same time. Some stores with more ticket sales than Broadway News have had barely more than a third as many big winners.
Lottery officials say they believe the large number of winners is linked to the kinds of tickets the store sells. Broadway News isn't the busiest store in the region, but it does sell more "numbers" tickets — games like Take 5 — sometimes twice as many as its competitors.
One of the most popular numbers games is Win 4, which has better odds for a big payoff than most scratch-off tickets.
The odds of winning $5,000 on a Win 4 24-way combination, for example, are 417 to 1. Spend that same dollar on a Beginner's Luck scratch-off ticket, though, and the odds of winning $1,000 are 504,000 to 1.
"I would guess it's sales mix," Lottery deputy director Gardner Gurney said. "The way a game is structured has a lot to do with whether you're going to see a lot of $1,000 winners."
The integrity of the lottery is based entirely on statistical chance. If winning tickets don't follow the laws of random probability, it's possible for someone to game the system.
Paul Velleman, professor of statistics at Cornell University, analyzed several years of lottery data at the request of the Sunday Record. He found that nearly every lottery outlet in the mid-Hudson conforms with the laws of probability.
The more tickets a store sells, the more winners it has, and stores with the most sales are most likely to fall in line with average payouts.
The payouts are different for different types of games, but overall, 50 cents of every dollar is supposed to go to winning players. Nine cents goes to overhead, 35 cents to schools and 6 cents to the retailer, who doesn't get a cut when someone hits the jackpot.
Broadway News, while meeting the state statutes for total money paid out, seems to be a little luckier than most.
"There could be an innocent explanation," Velleman said. "(But) it's not something we would expect to happen by chance."
Owner Manu Patel said his store's great service keeps people coming back. One of the busiest outlets in the region, Broadway News has sold about $6 million in lottery tickets in the last five years.
"It's our main business," Patel said. "We have a lot of people who come every day and they win."
One of those people is Assemblyman Thomas Kirwan, R-Newburgh, who spends $3 a day, mostly on Win 4. He picks the same numbers until he wins. Right now it's 2858. Last Tuesday, the winning numbers were 2886 and 5838.
"These are absolute sucker bets," Kirwan said. "Anyone who plays these things isn't someone you want to trust with your life savings."
But Kirwan has been luckier than most. He and his wife have won at least $5,000 four times in the last few years. In 2006, he hit for $100,000, the store's biggest winner over the last decade.
"I think I'm doing better on the stock market," he said.