How retired 81 -year-old exploited a lottery loophole to win $26M. Now Hollywood comes calling


The story of a retired couple and their $26 million lottery win is so incredible that there are plans to make a movie about it.

Katherine Davis, who produced a 60 Minutes documentary on the Selbees, said the couple sold the rights to their story which is now in the early stages of development.

Jerry Selbee and wife Marge were high school sweethearts who married in the 1960s, and lived a quiet life in Evart, Michigan, population 1,900.

Together they raised six kids and ran a local convenience store on Main Street, reports 60 Minutes.

This animated version sets out the Selbee’s path to riches and gives details on their methods.

But their happy life changed one day in 2003 when Jerry discovered a new Michigan Lottery game called Winfall, since closed.

RELATED: Math Whizz Played Over 7 Million Tickets In A Single Lottery Game. The Result Left Everyone Speechless

As the holder of a bachelor's degree in math from nearby Western Michigan University, in only a matter of minutes, he realized that this was a unique game. He discovered a loophole (see at bottom).


The Corner Store in Main Street where the Selbees started their financial windfall. PHOTO: Huffington Post

Their homegrown company, G.S. Investment Strategies, grossed more than $26 million from nine years of playing the lottery.

And they made nearly $8 million in profit before taxes.

The Selbees put their winnings to practical use, renovating their home and helping their six kids, 14 grandkids and 10 great-grandchildren pay for their education.

Jerry and Marge Selbee enjoy retirement. PHOTO: 60 Minutes

According to 60 Minutes they still get together with members of their lottery group.

But millions of dollars in Winfall tickets is long gone, having been replaced by nickel and dime poker night, and Marge makes everyone chicken pot pie.

And maybe their story will live on the shape of a Hollywood hit film.

The interview where Jerry and Marge Selbee revealed their secret to a lottery fortune. VIDEO: 60 Minutes


Here’s how the Winfall loophole worked, according to the 60 Minutes transcript:

That loophole was called a "Rolldown", and the lottery announced when it was coming. Unlike the Mega Millions games you've probably heard of where the jackpot keeps building until someone hits all six numbers and wins the big prize, in Winfall, if the jackpot reached $5 million, and no one matched all six numbers, all the money 'rolled down' to the lower-tier prize winners, dramatically boosting the payouts of those who matched five, four or three numbers.

Jerry explains more: “I said if I played $1,100 mathematically I'd have one 4-number winner, that's 1,000 bucks. I divided 1,100 by six instead of 57 because I did a mental quick dirty and I come up with 18. So I knew I'd have either 18 or 19 3-number winners and that's 50 bucks each. At 18 I got $1,000 for a 4-number winner, and I got 18 3-number winners worth $50 each, so that's 900 bucks. So I got $1,100 invested and I've got a $1,900 return.”