Was $967,000 The Highest Amount A Player Has Spent On Lottery Tickets? No.

The secrets of a high rolling Massachusetts Lottery game loophole revealed here. Video: abc news

Americans love playing the lottery, spending more than $70 billion a year on tickets. That's more than any other entertainment purchase.

So what's the most an individual player has spent on a single game? And did it bring them the jackpot? Here's three high-roller spends that will truly shock you.

The lottery takes up the bulk of the leisure spend of all Americans. Chart: CNN Money

SPENT $600,000

Gerald Selbee (pictured) and wife Marjorie, both in their early 70s, each bought approximately $300,000 worth of $2 tickets in 2011 for the tiny Massachusetts Cash WinFall lottery to guarantee a jackpot win. 

In this game players such as the Selbees could

virtually guarantee

a profitable win by spending $500,000. MIT-educated statistician Mohan Srivastava said that a player who bought 200,000 tickets during a special four-week period would make between $240,000 to $1.4 million in profit.

SPENT $967,000

A 46-year-old Shanghai man spent his entire life savings on lottery tickets, spending $3,200 a day at one point. The man, known only as Xiao, sold his four apartments, four cars and watches worth 6 million yuan (US$958,000) to fuel his buying habit. He won 400,000 yuan (US$64,000) at one point, but eventually lost it all.


Joan Ginther in a rare photo, left, in the 1969 University of Texas yearbook. At right is the cashier who sold Ginther two of her four million-dollar winning tickets. Photo: philly.com

Basic Vegas gambling principles - like card counting in blackjack, money management in poker, and timing in progressive slots - may have inspired Las Vegas resident Joan Ginther to buy a huge number of $20 to $50 scratch-off tickets.

Ginther was thought to have bought a total of 80,000 tickets worth $2.5 million or more.

She won a total of $20.4 million between 1993 and 2010:

  • $5.4 million in a 1993 Lotto Texas drawing,
  • $2 million in Holiday Millionaire in 2006,
  • $3 million in Millions & Millions in 2008,
  • $10 million in $140,000,000 Extreme Payoff in 2010.