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Meet the NYC men who won the lottery hundreds of times and collected millions

May 28, 2017, 6:18 pm

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New York LotteryNew York Lottery: Meet the NYC men who won the lottery hundreds of times and collected millionsRating:

Includes video report

He can barely walk. He has one eye. But Enrico Del Rio is one lucky, lucky guy.

The 94-year-old Washington Heights man has scored lottery prizes of $600 or more an astounding 376 times between 2009 and last year.

His total winnings — more than $1.4 million.

"I seem to win all the time," the ex-Navy officer said in his cramped studio apartment, filled with crates of old lotto tickets.

"My mother passed it to me. My family tells me I took all the luck."

Del Rio's winning streak may be hard to fathom, but he isn't the only New York resident to score a mind-boggling amount of prizes worth at least $600. Five players from across the state won at least 500 times during the same period — and nearly two dozen won at least 200 times, according to an analysis of lottery data.

Some buy their tickets from a select few retailers. Others, like Del Rio, have won the lottery at more than 100 locations.

Frequent wins aren't evidence of cheating. But the New York Gaming Commission launched an investigation of three repeat winners after being contacted for the data that resulted in this story. Commission spokesman Lee Park declined to identify the three and refused to explain why they were being probed.

"We do not discuss the intricacies of the Lottery's investigatory practices, other than to say they are comprehensive and thorough," he said.

Some repeat lottery winners in states like Florida and North Carolina have been found to be store clerks or retailers who have lied to customers to claim their winnings. Other prolific winners across the U.S. have been found to be using the lottery to launder ill-gotten gains. Last year, an Iowa lottery official was busted for rigging multiple jackpot drawings.

Park said the commission, which oversees the lottery, has been taking a harder look at winners in recent years.

"We have leadership that takes these issues seriously and has brought a renewed focus to them," Park said.

The top city-based repeat winners scored victories at delis and bodegas across the five boroughs. No living high-frequency winners brought in more money than Del Rio. However, no New York City players — not even Del Rio — won as many times as the late Lai Dick Fong. The Queens man won more than $1.7 million on 366 separate days from more than 530 tickets. He purchased his winners at more than 200 retailers. Fong, of Woodside, died on Jan. 27 at the age of 85.

Jerry Kubie, meanwhile, won his $1.2 million on nearly 300 separate days. He cashed in on more than 400 tickets at 130 different locations. The vast majority were in Brooklyn, where he lives. The 74-year-old, a former day trader, could afford to throw down stacks and stacks of cash on lottery games.

"I would play two, three, four, five hundred dollars a day," Kubie said outside his Bensonhurst home. "So it's not like the average person that puts down two and three dollars."

The father of six hasn't limited himself to lotto tickets. He's also spread out his wagers to casinos and the racetrack.

Why not? He certainly had the money.

"I would buy and sell a stock 10, 20 times a day. I was capable of making $5,000 a day," said Kubie, who doesn't know how much he's spent over the years on games. "If you gamble two or three hundred, it doesn't mean anything."

Kubie's biggest wins came in Quick Draw, a keno-style game that has been described by critics as "video crack." Players choose up to 10 numbers from a field of 80 — and then wait in front of video screens to see if their selections match 20 digits that pop up at random.

Kubie never bothered choosing his own numbers. He always opted for Quick Pick, allowing a computer to randomly assign his figures. But Kubie, who started gambling at age 18, said he has slowed down considerably in recent years.

"I saw I was going cold," he said. "And I wanted to spend more time with my family."

Those weren't the only reasons, he said.

"It hurt my Social Security income," Kubie said. "The more I earned, the more they took out.

"That's another reason I stopped playing. I couldn't afford to win too much anymore because I'd have no Social Security."

Not that he's complaining. Kubie's lotto prize money allowed him to purchase his two-story brick home 35 years ago for $16,500 and travel to such exotic locales as Margarita Island in the Caribbean, where "they dive for pearls."

"I'm one of the few people who can say they really made money with lotto," Kubie added. "To be frank, I was just very lucky."

A Mexican native who everyone knows as "Chico," Del Rio said he's been playing the New York Lottery for roughly 40 years — nearly as long as it's been in operation. He said he lost an eye while stationed in Vietnam — he has a glass replacement — and settled in upper Manhattan shortly afterward.

Before his knee gave out a few years ago, Del Rio bought scratch-off cards, lotto tickets and other chance games all over the city. He racked up 177 wins in the Bronx, 176 in Manhattan, 10 in Brooklyn and six in Queens. He's also scored big in Long Island, Mount Vernon, Yonkers and White Plains.

"I seem to win all the time," Del Rio said. "You got people here who never win and they play every day."

By Del Rio's telling, his lottery luck even extends beyond the U.S.

"I hit Mexico. I hit Costa Rica, Panama, Puerto Rico," he added. "I hit numbers everywhere."

Del Rio was stunned to hear that he's won more than $1.4 million. He doesn't know how much he's spent to win that money, but said he plays up to $300 a day, an estimate confirmed by a deli clerk.

"He spends a lot of money," said Suzie Ortiz, from behind the counter at Villa Fundacion Deli and Grocery on Amsterdam Ave. "Sometimes, hundreds every time he comes."

Del Rio said he used to devote a portion of his winnings to travel.

"I know Jamaica better than the Jamaicans," he boasted.

But he said he gives away most of it to his friends, family, neighbors — and almost anyone else, it seems.

"I give to people that sell me tickets," he said. "I give to distant relatives."

He then looked a reporter in the eye: "I may give you $50 or $500," he said.

Del Rio's most profitable game has been WIN-4, which he's won 306 times for a total of $1.1 million.

He plays several $4 combo tickets — selecting four numbers that can result in winners no matter the order of the digits. Now that he's immobile, Del Rio says he gives neighbors a list of numbers to play for him, typically starting with his lucky "5-0-0-0."

He says the numbers come to him "in his dreams." He also relies on "dream books" that purport to reveal winning numbers based in part on calculations of past winners. One of his favorites is "Lottery Vibrations," produced by the New Jersey-based Double Red Publishing. The company combines horoscopic and spiritual predictions with statistical analysis to tailor monthly recommendations for each player, according to owner Ben DeSomma.

"It's 30-plus years of gathering information, so that's a lot there," DeSomma said.

The Gaming Commission spokesman declined to comment on Double Red's methods, but asserted that the winning numbers are randomly selected. The spokesman also noted that one $133 million winner, who Double Red has touted as benefiting from its recommendations, actually played a computer-selected Quick Pick.

What's not disputable is that Del Rio has often won big.

More than 300 of Del Rio's Win-4 prizes totaled $2,500 or $5,000. The odds for winning those amounts range from 417-to-1 to 10,000-to-1, depending on the type of Win-4 played.

His victories span more than 230 days, and his biggest win over the eight-year period was $200,000 in a 2013 Double Trip CashWord game, state data shows.

Del Rio may have won big multiple times, but he certainly isn't living large. There's nothing fancy about his tiny, cluttered apartment, located on the 18th floor of a public housing complex.

Del Rio was circumspect on how he affords his lotto habit. He abruptly asked reporters to stop contacting him after welcoming initial interviews. Before clamming up, he claimed to be the son of legendary Mexican actress Dolores Del Rio.

"I told you who my mother is so you know where my money comes from," he said.

At the same time, Del Rio vehemently denied there was anything nefarious behind his incredible luck.

"How could someone have something crooked going if they've been doing it for 40 years?" he said. "I'm not cheating. I'm just a lucky man when it comes to money."

VIDEO: Watch the report

d8e9crq1h7UMeet the NYC man who spends a lot — and wins a lot — in the lotteryHe can barely walk. He has one eye. But Enrico Del Rio is one lucky, lucky guy.PT02M04Shttps://img.youtube.com/vi/d8e9crq1h7U/hqdefault.jpghttps://youtu.be/d8e9crq1h7U2017-05-28T18:10:00-05:00

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

Daily News, Lottery Post Staff

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34 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by Sunglasses.
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Avatar
100
New York, NY
United States
Member #140630
March 23, 2013
10648 Posts
Offline

How can he live in public housing with income that high? That's my first question. Second I'll say Congrats on the double triple cash word win. I only won $500 once on that. Third wow that's a lot of money to spend. I know there's some people that believe in karma, such as give someone $5 every day and it will come back to you in droves. Wow, I guess that really does work.

Sometimes you do the right thing just because it’s right.


    United States
    Member #164721
    March 12, 2015
    3507 Posts
    Offline

    How can he live in public housing with income that high? That's my first question. Second I'll say Congrats on the double triple cash word win. I only won $500 once on that. Third wow that's a lot of money to spend. I know there's some people that believe in karma, such as give someone $5 every day and it will come back to you in droves. Wow, I guess that really does work.

    He says in the article that he spends about 300 bucks a day, and gives money away like candy. Out of that 1.2 million, he probably netted about a third or less after taxes, expenditures and giveaways.

      zephbe's avatar - animal butterfly.jpg
      South Carolina
      United States
      Member #77165
      July 15, 2009
      897 Posts
      Offline

      These are elderly, vulnerable people.  Hope they stay safe after this article was published.

      Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up.-Rocky Balboa

      “Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of going after yours.” – Zig Ziglar

        Avatar
        east orange
        United States
        Member #181108
        April 8, 2017
        84 Posts
        Offline

        i wonder what he did for living DAM..300 a day is crazy

          music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
          USN United States Navy
          Fresno, California
          United States
          Member #157851
          August 2, 2014
          3959 Posts
          Offline

           Good for them!  I am happy that they are enjoying their latter stages of life. No Pity!

           "We are all in this together!" 

            Dd2160's avatar - Lottery-016.jpg
            USA USA
            United States
            Member #134249
            October 22, 2012
            9778 Posts
            Offline

            i wonder what he did for living DAM..300 a day is crazy

            Im betting they are service men!!

            420 216 1420 0216 9998 3323 1991

              Dd2160's avatar - Lottery-016.jpg
              USA USA
              United States
              Member #134249
              October 22, 2012
              9778 Posts
              Offline

              I use to have that book im getting it back.

              420 216 1420 0216 9998 3323 1991

                Dd2160's avatar - Lottery-016.jpg
                USA USA
                United States
                Member #134249
                October 22, 2012
                9778 Posts
                Offline

                Congrats to them both!!

                420 216 1420 0216 9998 3323 1991

                  eddessaknight's avatar - nw paladin.jpg
                  LAS VEGAS
                  United States
                  Member #47728
                  November 22, 2006
                  7166 Posts
                  Offline

                  Congrats to them both!!

                  That's a great story proving again that it can be done & is being won.Hurray!

                  ~Be willing and Luck will find you!

                  CODICIL:

                  Game providers don't care if winners has a halo, they will all react negatively against anyone wins consistently and or change the rules/odds -                                   they are called advantage players

                   

                   

                  Eddessa_Knight with lucky Light Sun Smiley

                    Avatar
                    Kentucky
                    United States
                    Member #32651
                    February 14, 2006
                    8965 Posts
                    Offline

                    Includes video report

                    He can barely walk. He has one eye. But Enrico Del Rio is one lucky, lucky guy.

                    The 94-year-old Washington Heights man has scored lottery prizes of $600 or more an astounding 376 times between 2009 and last year.

                    His total winnings — more than $1.4 million.

                    "I seem to win all the time," the ex-Navy officer said in his cramped studio apartment, filled with crates of old lotto tickets.

                    "My mother passed it to me. My family tells me I took all the luck."

                    Del Rio's winning streak may be hard to fathom, but he isn't the only New York resident to score a mind-boggling amount of prizes worth at least $600. Five players from across the state won at least 500 times during the same period — and nearly two dozen won at least 200 times, according to an analysis of lottery data.

                    Some buy their tickets from a select few retailers. Others, like Del Rio, have won the lottery at more than 100 locations.

                    Frequent wins aren't evidence of cheating. But the New York Gaming Commission launched an investigation of three repeat winners after being contacted for the data that resulted in this story. Commission spokesman Lee Park declined to identify the three and refused to explain why they were being probed.

                    "We do not discuss the intricacies of the Lottery's investigatory practices, other than to say they are comprehensive and thorough," he said.

                    Some repeat lottery winners in states like Florida and North Carolina have been found to be store clerks or retailers who have lied to customers to claim their winnings. Other prolific winners across the U.S. have been found to be using the lottery to launder ill-gotten gains. Last year, an Iowa lottery official was busted for rigging multiple jackpot drawings.

                    Park said the commission, which oversees the lottery, has been taking a harder look at winners in recent years.

                    "We have leadership that takes these issues seriously and has brought a renewed focus to them," Park said.

                    The top city-based repeat winners scored victories at delis and bodegas across the five boroughs. No living high-frequency winners brought in more money than Del Rio. However, no New York City players — not even Del Rio — won as many times as the late Lai Dick Fong. The Queens man won more than $1.7 million on 366 separate days from more than 530 tickets. He purchased his winners at more than 200 retailers. Fong, of Woodside, died on Jan. 27 at the age of 85.

                    Jerry Kubie, meanwhile, won his $1.2 million on nearly 300 separate days. He cashed in on more than 400 tickets at 130 different locations. The vast majority were in Brooklyn, where he lives. The 74-year-old, a former day trader, could afford to throw down stacks and stacks of cash on lottery games.

                    "I would play two, three, four, five hundred dollars a day," Kubie said outside his Bensonhurst home. "So it's not like the average person that puts down two and three dollars."

                    The father of six hasn't limited himself to lotto tickets. He's also spread out his wagers to casinos and the racetrack.

                    Why not? He certainly had the money.

                    "I would buy and sell a stock 10, 20 times a day. I was capable of making $5,000 a day," said Kubie, who doesn't know how much he's spent over the years on games. "If you gamble two or three hundred, it doesn't mean anything."

                    Kubie's biggest wins came in Quick Draw, a keno-style game that has been described by critics as "video crack." Players choose up to 10 numbers from a field of 80 — and then wait in front of video screens to see if their selections match 20 digits that pop up at random.

                    Kubie never bothered choosing his own numbers. He always opted for Quick Pick, allowing a computer to randomly assign his figures. But Kubie, who started gambling at age 18, said he has slowed down considerably in recent years.

                    "I saw I was going cold," he said. "And I wanted to spend more time with my family."

                    Those weren't the only reasons, he said.

                    "It hurt my Social Security income," Kubie said. "The more I earned, the more they took out.

                    "That's another reason I stopped playing. I couldn't afford to win too much anymore because I'd have no Social Security."

                    Not that he's complaining. Kubie's lotto prize money allowed him to purchase his two-story brick home 35 years ago for $16,500 and travel to such exotic locales as Margarita Island in the Caribbean, where "they dive for pearls."

                    "I'm one of the few people who can say they really made money with lotto," Kubie added. "To be frank, I was just very lucky."

                    A Mexican native who everyone knows as "Chico," Del Rio said he's been playing the New York Lottery for roughly 40 years — nearly as long as it's been in operation. He said he lost an eye while stationed in Vietnam — he has a glass replacement — and settled in upper Manhattan shortly afterward.

                    Before his knee gave out a few years ago, Del Rio bought scratch-off cards, lotto tickets and other chance games all over the city. He racked up 177 wins in the Bronx, 176 in Manhattan, 10 in Brooklyn and six in Queens. He's also scored big in Long Island, Mount Vernon, Yonkers and White Plains.

                    "I seem to win all the time," Del Rio said. "You got people here who never win and they play every day."

                    By Del Rio's telling, his lottery luck even extends beyond the U.S.

                    "I hit Mexico. I hit Costa Rica, Panama, Puerto Rico," he added. "I hit numbers everywhere."

                    Del Rio was stunned to hear that he's won more than $1.4 million. He doesn't know how much he's spent to win that money, but said he plays up to $300 a day, an estimate confirmed by a deli clerk.

                    "He spends a lot of money," said Suzie Ortiz, from behind the counter at Villa Fundacion Deli and Grocery on Amsterdam Ave. "Sometimes, hundreds every time he comes."

                    Del Rio said he used to devote a portion of his winnings to travel.

                    "I know Jamaica better than the Jamaicans," he boasted.

                    But he said he gives away most of it to his friends, family, neighbors — and almost anyone else, it seems.

                    "I give to people that sell me tickets," he said. "I give to distant relatives."

                    He then looked a reporter in the eye: "I may give you $50 or $500," he said.

                    Del Rio's most profitable game has been WIN-4, which he's won 306 times for a total of $1.1 million.

                    He plays several $4 combo tickets — selecting four numbers that can result in winners no matter the order of the digits. Now that he's immobile, Del Rio says he gives neighbors a list of numbers to play for him, typically starting with his lucky "5-0-0-0."

                    He says the numbers come to him "in his dreams." He also relies on "dream books" that purport to reveal winning numbers based in part on calculations of past winners. One of his favorites is "Lottery Vibrations," produced by the New Jersey-based Double Red Publishing. The company combines horoscopic and spiritual predictions with statistical analysis to tailor monthly recommendations for each player, according to owner Ben DeSomma.

                    "It's 30-plus years of gathering information, so that's a lot there," DeSomma said.

                    The Gaming Commission spokesman declined to comment on Double Red's methods, but asserted that the winning numbers are randomly selected. The spokesman also noted that one $133 million winner, who Double Red has touted as benefiting from its recommendations, actually played a computer-selected Quick Pick.

                    What's not disputable is that Del Rio has often won big.

                    More than 300 of Del Rio's Win-4 prizes totaled $2,500 or $5,000. The odds for winning those amounts range from 417-to-1 to 10,000-to-1, depending on the type of Win-4 played.

                    His victories span more than 230 days, and his biggest win over the eight-year period was $200,000 in a 2013 Double Trip CashWord game, state data shows.

                    Del Rio may have won big multiple times, but he certainly isn't living large. There's nothing fancy about his tiny, cluttered apartment, located on the 18th floor of a public housing complex.

                    Del Rio was circumspect on how he affords his lotto habit. He abruptly asked reporters to stop contacting him after welcoming initial interviews. Before clamming up, he claimed to be the son of legendary Mexican actress Dolores Del Rio.

                    "I told you who my mother is so you know where my money comes from," he said.

                    At the same time, Del Rio vehemently denied there was anything nefarious behind his incredible luck.

                    "How could someone have something crooked going if they've been doing it for 40 years?" he said. "I'm not cheating. I'm just a lucky man when it comes to money."

                    VIDEO: Watch the report

                    d8e9crq1h7UMeet the NYC man who spends a lot — and wins a lot — in the lotteryHe can barely walk. He has one eye. But Enrico Del Rio is one lucky, lucky guy.PT02M04Shttps://img.youtube.com/vi/d8e9crq1h7U/hqdefault.jpghttps://youtu.be/d8e9crq1h7U2017-05-28T18:10:00-05:00

                    News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

                    News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

                    News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

                    News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

                    "and nearly two dozen won at least 200 times, according to an analysis of lottery data."

                    Somebody got the data from the lottery yet lots of people here think they can remain anonymous by claiming using a trust. Just because some state lotteries won't publish the winners names doesn't mean that info can be found and investigated.


                      United States
                      Member #164721
                      March 12, 2015
                      3507 Posts
                      Offline

                      "and nearly two dozen won at least 200 times, according to an analysis of lottery data."

                      Somebody got the data from the lottery yet lots of people here think they can remain anonymous by claiming using a trust. Just because some state lotteries won't publish the winners names doesn't mean that info can be found and investigated.

                      Must be the Clintons...

                        Avatar
                        Chasing $ Millions.
                        White Shores- California
                        United States
                        Member #136473
                        December 12, 2012
                        6312 Posts
                        Offline

                        Why are they posting these elderly folks faces, is what l would like to know?

                         * Voice of Reason *   

                         

                        People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

                          reddog's avatar - rickyavatar4
                          Durham, North Carolina
                          United States
                          Member #1616
                          June 5, 2003
                          2868 Posts
                          Offline

                          Im betting they are service men!!

                          The 74 year old was a former day trader.

                          Taking it one drawing at a time.


                            Germany
                            Member #164597
                            March 8, 2015
                            803 Posts
                            Offline

                            "and nearly two dozen won at least 200 times, according to an analysis of lottery data."

                            Somebody got the data from the lottery yet lots of people here think they can remain anonymous by claiming using a trust. Just because some state lotteries won't publish the winners names doesn't mean that info can be found and investigated.

                            "Commission spokesman Lee Park declined to identify the three and refused to explain why they were being probed."

                             

                            Seems pretty anonymous to me.