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Kentucky Lottery keeps an eye on frequent winners

Kentucky LotteryKentucky Lottery: Kentucky Lottery keeps an eye on frequent winners
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In the last fiscal year, the Kentucky Lottery paid out $495 million, and a lot of them were repeat winners.

One man over a 12-month period cashed 25 tickets worth $77,000.

Lottery officials said one thread runs true when it comes to repeat winners.

"The last few years I've been a little lucky. It's mostly luck, I guess," said one winner, who asked only to be identified as Kevin.

Last month, WLKY's Steve Burgin met up with Kevin at lottery headquarters, where he cashed four winning Pick 3 tickets, each worth $600.

Burgin found Kevin after filing an open records request with the lottery for repeat winners over a one-year period.

The list included thousands of people. 

Kevin, who likes to play at Bowman Field Liquors, had more than 30 winning Pick 3 tickets in that year, collecting about $20,000.

"The secret to folks that win a lot, is they play a lot," said Kentucky Lottery vice president on communications Chip Polston.

Polston said players usually zero in on a particular game.

The twice daily Pick 3 and Pick 4  are among the most popular.

Polston pointed out that repeat winners don't go unnoticed.

He said people might be surprised how much data mining they do.

A single ticket includes a wealth of information.

"And with having all that data, we've got folks in our information security department that mine that data looking basically for anomalies, looking for things that are out of the ordinary," Polston said.

Data on Kevin's winning tickets showed nothing unusual, just that he plays a lot and at two different outlets.

"Probably play anywhere from $10 to $20 a day," he said.

Asked if he plays seven days a week, "Pretty much," he said. "I've come out a little ahead."

Polston said they also turn to a data base when people come in to cash winners.

"We look for back taxes that are owed, back child support, and also bad student loans," Polston said.

According to Polston, since 1992, the lottery has withheld more $2.8 million in back child support.

Through an open records request, WLKY found Friendly Food Mart and Tobacco in Pleasure Ridge Park is the third biggest seller of lottery games in the state.

"For any prize of $601 or more, we are going to give you the tax form and we are going withhold taxes as well, 25 percent federal and 6 percent state is typically what is withheld," said Polston.

The Kentucky Lottery believes the state's young people are the real winners.

Since 1999 more than $2.2 billion has gone to help Kentuckians pursue post-secondary education in the commonwealth.

Top Kentucky Lottery retailers

  • 101 Lotto — Oak Grove
  • Lotto Xpress —  Guthrie
  • Friendly Food Mart & Tobacco — Louisville
  • Dairy Mart #148 — Lexington
  • Skyline Fuel — Hopkinsville
  • Pal's of Oak Grove — Oak Grove
  • Dairy Mart #3282 — Louisville
  • Manny Mart — Radcliff
  • Jim Dandy Food Market — Louisville
  • Better Way Food Mart #4 — Louisville
  • Kroger l-327 — Louisville
  • Kroger l-385 — Louisville
  • Convenient #40 — Shelbyville

WLKY

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34 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by THRIFTY.
Page 1 of 3
haymaker's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
Egg Harbor twp.south Jersey shore
United States
Member #112968
June 29, 2011
3854 Posts
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Posted: November 21, 2014, 11:17 am - IP Logged

Chip Polston used to post on here as Chippolston2 if I remember right, hav'nt heard from him in awhile.

Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds    -- Charles Mackay  LL.D.

    LottoMetro's avatar - Lottery-024.jpg
    Happyland
    United States
    Member #146344
    September 1, 2013
    1129 Posts
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    Posted: November 21, 2014, 11:34 am - IP Logged

    Lotteries have been monitoring repeat winners for as long as I remember. Not just for security but also out of curiosity, as Chip says, "data mining."

    They can even tell when the big players play because sales will spike at certain locations in short periods of time. If someone wins frequently at a particular store and this correlates to sales at the time of the purchase, the lottery can determine how much that player is spending and how often they play.

    Based on the $20K estimate, Kevin has won around 33-34 Pick 3 straights. But whether he's spending $10 or $20 a day, his odds of winning on those ~33 tickets were still pretty significant, unless he's been playing for many other years without wins (thus the reason the lottery sees it non-anomalous). The expected number of wins based on this level of expenditure would be about 7 in a year, so even 14 hits would be stretching it statistically-speaking.

    If the chances of winning the jackpot are so slim, why play when the jackpot is so small? Your chances never change, but the potential payoff does.
    If a crystal ball showed you the future of the rest of your life, and in that future you will never win a jackpot, would you still play?

    2016: -48.28% (13 tickets) ||
    P&L % = Total Win($)/Total Wager($) - 1

      str8ca$hhomie's avatar - Cash

      United States
      Member #146028
      August 22, 2013
      842 Posts
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      Posted: November 21, 2014, 11:55 am - IP Logged

      Lotteries have been monitoring repeat winners for as long as I remember. Not just for security but also out of curiosity, as Chip says, "data mining."

      They can even tell when the big players play because sales will spike at certain locations in short periods of time. If someone wins frequently at a particular store and this correlates to sales at the time of the purchase, the lottery can determine how much that player is spending and how often they play.

      Based on the $20K estimate, Kevin has won around 33-34 Pick 3 straights. But whether he's spending $10 or $20 a day, his odds of winning on those ~33 tickets were still pretty significant, unless he's been playing for many other years without wins (thus the reason the lottery sees it non-anomalous). The expected number of wins based on this level of expenditure would be about 7 in a year, so even 14 hits would be stretching it statistically-speaking.

      Keith Price is a well known celebrated Pick 3 player from Kentucky. I'm sure he's on their radar and perhaps might even be conveniently disguised as "Kevin".

      Sometimes it's extremely difficult if not practically impossible to get people to disregard the smoke and mirrors.  Instead, they seem to enjoy the ride down the proverbial Garden Path....... helpless to extricate themselves from being totally deceived by known forces in their midst who would argue that they have come here for the sole purpose of helping people.......str8ca$hhomie

        LottoMetro's avatar - Lottery-024.jpg
        Happyland
        United States
        Member #146344
        September 1, 2013
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        Posted: November 21, 2014, 12:03 pm - IP Logged

        I located a video with Kevin's interview and he definitely plays a lot.

        He plays $10 per ticket (full board) and uses the same numbers on every ticket, i.e. all 111-999 for each ticket. So like many of the predictors here on LP he uses the multiplier effect, which results in higher variance between wins but also larger prize amounts when hits do come.

        The article is also ambiguous as to who stated that Kevin plays $10-$20 a day, and it turns out that Kevin is actually the one who claims this. Knowing this, and the statistical likelihood I mentioned in my first post, he is probably underestimating his daily expenditures. I recall an academic study performed a few years ago which found that frequent lottery players often underestimate how much they really spend.

        If the chances of winning the jackpot are so slim, why play when the jackpot is so small? Your chances never change, but the potential payoff does.
        If a crystal ball showed you the future of the rest of your life, and in that future you will never win a jackpot, would you still play?

        2016: -48.28% (13 tickets) ||
        P&L % = Total Win($)/Total Wager($) - 1

          dr65's avatar - black panther.jpg
          Pennsylvania
          United States
          Member #74096
          May 2, 2009
          22872 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: November 21, 2014, 12:23 pm - IP Logged

          So what. He had 30 tickets worth about $600 each in a year. There are 365 days in a year and they're
          watching him?
          They allow you to play as many tickets as you want along with as many games as you want to play
          and the scoff at repeat winners or feel the need to keep data on them? I think the state lottery has
          too many employees. If they've been keeping track of repeat winners for years is that then just a
          safety put into place to prevent them from being 'had' or ripped off? I think they need to reassess
          exactly who is ripping off who here. The monster can set the rules and the village has to abide by
          them, who is watching the monster? Nobody. Nobody who will enforce any right or wrong anyway.
          Their radar goes up when what I consider a little guy in the business wins 30 times. Who else are
          they watching - just the mid-level guys? BS.
          There are people on the PA website who have many winnings on p4 alone...10 tickets @ $5k is $50k.
          There are people who are very, very good at winning. Whether it's pure luck or hard study, I think
          they deserve to be left alone. The lottery takes in enough money. I'd be very angry to know I'm
          being watched in a game where I am dealing with rotten odds and have to rely on sheer luck alone.
          Instant tickets require a claim form over $600..so do other games. Tell me I'm being watched too,
          I guess so because I have enough forms in to raise a red flag if their red flag goes up for multiple
          wins of non-life changing amounts.
          Will someone come knocking at my door one day to question my multiple wins? They better get
          ready to have the door slammed in their face.
          An organization who is edgy about repeat winners in games where WINNING is key and over advertised
          needs to examine their books again or slash a whole lotta useless positions in their workforce.
          Watching frequent winners says something to me.....the money is so important to them that even the
          little guy that makes some money out of it is suspected in taking more than he/she deserves.
          Shouldn't that be the OTHER WAY AROUND??

          246 ~~ 485 ~~ 369 ~~ 890 ~~ 705 ~~ 357 ~~ 129 ~~ 165 ~  007 ~ 225 ~ 818 ~ 440 ~  7775 5557

            Freedom777's avatar - Lottery-031.jpg
            Virginia
            United States
            Member #133410
            September 29, 2012
            163 Posts
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            Posted: November 21, 2014, 12:49 pm - IP Logged

            I like your post dr65. It's crazy....Why can't the lottery just admit some people are really lucky.

            Also, what they don't realize is, many of us study hard. We spend hours coming up with numbers. If that results in a win, we EARNED it.

            I dream of the day I'm winning constantly. I have been putting in my time for years studying and hopes it pays off.

            $$ provides more freedom, options and choices.

              ThatScaryChick's avatar - x1MqPuM
              Idaho
              United States
              Member #56506
              November 21, 2007
              6537 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: November 21, 2014, 1:06 pm - IP Logged

              So what. He had 30 tickets worth about $600 each in a year. There are 365 days in a year and they're
              watching him?
              They allow you to play as many tickets as you want along with as many games as you want to play
              and the scoff at repeat winners or feel the need to keep data on them? I think the state lottery has
              too many employees. If they've been keeping track of repeat winners for years is that then just a
              safety put into place to prevent them from being 'had' or ripped off? I think they need to reassess
              exactly who is ripping off who here. The monster can set the rules and the village has to abide by
              them, who is watching the monster? Nobody. Nobody who will enforce any right or wrong anyway.
              Their radar goes up when what I consider a little guy in the business wins 30 times. Who else are
              they watching - just the mid-level guys? BS.
              There are people on the PA website who have many winnings on p4 alone...10 tickets @ $5k is $50k.
              There are people who are very, very good at winning. Whether it's pure luck or hard study, I think
              they deserve to be left alone. The lottery takes in enough money. I'd be very angry to know I'm
              being watched in a game where I am dealing with rotten odds and have to rely on sheer luck alone.
              Instant tickets require a claim form over $600..so do other games. Tell me I'm being watched too,
              I guess so because I have enough forms in to raise a red flag if their red flag goes up for multiple
              wins of non-life changing amounts.
              Will someone come knocking at my door one day to question my multiple wins? They better get
              ready to have the door slammed in their face.
              An organization who is edgy about repeat winners in games where WINNING is key and over advertised
              needs to examine their books again or slash a whole lotta useless positions in their workforce.
              Watching frequent winners says something to me.....the money is so important to them that even the
              little guy that makes some money out of it is suspected in taking more than he/she deserves.
              Shouldn't that be the OTHER WAY AROUND??

              I agree. There are some people who will win more because they drop more money on the games. It doesn't mean they are shady. Now, if a store clerk were to come into a lot of winning tickets maybe I could see them keeping an eye on them because they might be stealing tickets from people who don't realize they have winners or buying other peoples winning tickets or something.

              "No one remembers the person who almost climbed the mountain, only the person who eventually gets to the top."

                LottoMetro's avatar - Lottery-024.jpg
                Happyland
                United States
                Member #146344
                September 1, 2013
                1129 Posts
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                Posted: November 21, 2014, 1:35 pm - IP Logged

                They watch everybody. It has nothing to do with monitoring paranoid system players, more to do with identifying fraudsters. When it comes to the lottery, probability is king. If Bill works for the lottery vendor and his sister's grandson has collecting a bunch of prizes without spending very much, that raises red flags.

                On the other hand, as Chip says about Kevin, those who spend a lot are expected to win a lot. But just because you win a lot doesn't mean you're luckier than the average joe. After all, I can spend $1000 and guarantee a Pick 3 win, but that doesn't change the fact I spent $2 to make $1 back. People like to think optimistically, that they are ahead, but in the long run this usually turns out false. I used to think I was coming out ahead until I actually started tracking my play. I am ahead this year in the lottery, but I wasn't ahead last year (or the year prior) so am I really ahead? Nope. You can't really come out ahead in a negative expectancy proposition.

                If the chances of winning the jackpot are so slim, why play when the jackpot is so small? Your chances never change, but the potential payoff does.
                If a crystal ball showed you the future of the rest of your life, and in that future you will never win a jackpot, would you still play?

                2016: -48.28% (13 tickets) ||
                P&L % = Total Win($)/Total Wager($) - 1

                  Avatar

                  United States
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                  October 25, 2014
                  101 Posts
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                  Posted: November 21, 2014, 1:45 pm - IP Logged

                  I don't get how he cashed 4 tickets worth $600ea. and they knew it was him. It states they don't have to make a claim form unless it is over $601. I thought those "smaller" hits helped us stay under the radar.

                    Avatar

                    United States
                    Member #122691
                    February 6, 2012
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                    Posted: November 21, 2014, 1:53 pm - IP Logged

                    I don't get how he cashed 4 tickets worth $600ea. and they knew it was him. It states they don't have to make a claim form unless it is over $601. I thought those "smaller" hits helped us stay under the radar.

                    Anywhere I have ever played $500 is the threshold and even if it was $600, that would be the amount you would have to come in to the office to cash a ticket, not $601, that's not how it works.

                      Avatar

                      United States
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                      Posted: November 21, 2014, 2:04 pm - IP Logged

                      Ok then the other question would be, for a seasoned player such as this guy why not play as such you don't have a $600 win on one ticket. Break up your numbers on 2 tickets. $300 on ea.  Avoid the claim form as much as possible.

                        LottoMetro's avatar - Lottery-024.jpg
                        Happyland
                        United States
                        Member #146344
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                        Posted: November 21, 2014, 2:10 pm - IP Logged

                        Ok then the other question would be, for a seasoned player such as this guy why not play as such you don't have a $600 win on one ticket. Break up your numbers on 2 tickets. $300 on ea.  Avoid the claim form as much as possible.

                        Since he plays straights, this would require filing out twice as many playslips (in order to bet 50 cents each and still end up with $600 per hit). Based on his frequency of play I imagine he would get pretty tired of filing out that many slips even with advance play. Maybe Kevin just likes playing fewer tickets and taking them all at once to cash them.

                        He redeems his tickets at the claim center. The lottery issues a check. That is how they track him. So even if they weren't required to withhold taxes from his winnings, he is still logged into the system.

                        If the chances of winning the jackpot are so slim, why play when the jackpot is so small? Your chances never change, but the potential payoff does.
                        If a crystal ball showed you the future of the rest of your life, and in that future you will never win a jackpot, would you still play?

                        2016: -48.28% (13 tickets) ||
                        P&L % = Total Win($)/Total Wager($) - 1

                          Avatar

                          United States
                          Member #160355
                          October 25, 2014
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                          Posted: November 21, 2014, 2:13 pm - IP Logged

                          Anywhere I have ever played $500 is the threshold and even if it was $600, that would be the amount you would have to come in to the office to cash a ticket, not $601, that's not how it works.

                          I don't know then...a direct quote from the article reads as follows:

                           

                          "For any prize of $601 or more, we are going to give you the tax form and we are going to 

                          withhold taxes as well, 25 percent federal and 6 percent state is typically withheld," said Polston.

                           

                          what am I missing then??

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                            United States
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                            Posted: November 21, 2014, 2:16 pm - IP Logged

                            Maybe. But if you are trying to skirt some tax issues filling out some extra slips is worth it I would think.