Was $614,000 the most money a player has ever spent on lottery tickets? [Nope]


Jerry Dagrosa knows the secrets of a high rolling Massachusetts Lottery game loophole. PHOTO: Greenfield Recorder

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 four 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 $614,000


Jerry Dagrosa, pictured above, helped buy $614,000 worth of $2 Cash Winfall tickets for Gerald Selbee and wife Marjorie, both in their early 70s.

They each bought approximately $300,000 worth of the two dollar 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.

READ MORE: Retiree From Rural Michigan Tells The Moment He Figured Out How To Beat The State's Lottery


SPENT $958,000

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 top right is Sun Bae, the owner-cashier who sold Ginther two of her 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 90,000 tickets worth $3.3 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.


Stefan Mandel founded an international betting syndicate in 1992 so that he could raise funds to buy every possible number combination in a lottery. He was able to find 25 investors for his pool who chipped in the needed amount.

Then he looked around the world for lotteries that had rollover jackpots that were more than 3x the cost of every number combination. In 1992 he saw that the Virginia State Lottery was suitable. It had seven million number combinations. Each ticket cost $1, and the jackpot had reached $27M.

The syndicate won the $27 Million first prize along with 135,000 secondary prizes.

Mandel retired from playing after being investigated by many authorities, but they could prove nothing wrong. He was last seen living on a tropical island in the Pacific

READ MORE: The Extraordinary Story Of A $27 Million Winner Who Won Playing An Obvious Strategy