ORLANDO, Fla. - Richard Lustig is a legend in the lottery world. He has won seven lottery jackpots so far, which has allowed him to buy a nice home, drive a Jaguar and even invest in a small business.
Some might call him pretty lucky, but he disagrees.
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"I hate the word luck. Luck has nothing to do with this," Lustig said during an interview at one of his favorite lotto-buying stops in Orlando. "People who rely on luck are fooling themselves."
Lustig said he wasn't always an expert at playing the ultimate game of chance.
"I was like just everybody else when the lottery came to Florida," Lustig said. "I was just buying tickets like everybody else. And, unfortunately, like everybody else, I was losing all the time."
Lustig said that's when he started brainstorming. He wondered what he could do to improve his odds of winning. So, he said, he started keeping track of what worked and what didn't. Before he knew it, he came up with a winning system.
"As that list got longer, my results got better," Lustig said. "I started winning $5, $50, $500 even $5,000."
He said during his time studying lottery odds, he came up with a method that has won him, and dozens of others, several Lotto jackpots.
"I'm playing and I'm playing and I won my first grand prize," Lustig said, smiling as he remembered the moment. "I was thrilled and excited and I have to admit, I thought like everybody else thought, 'I am a really lucky guy. I won a jackpot. I won a grand prize.'"
That win would not be his last.
"I won my second grand prize, my third grand prize. When I won my fourth grand prize, that was when the light finally lit up inside my head," Lustig said.
And that light led to a book: "Learn How to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery" and a website :www.winninglotterymethod.com, where Lustig shares his tips on how to increase your chances of winning the lottery, based on his tried-and-true methods.
"I really didn't think anyone was going to pay me for it," Lustig said.
But they did, and now he has countless testimonials from other people who have won big because of his technique.
"I have already made several people millionaires who have followed my method," Lustig said.
Lustig carries a leather briefcase with him, and inside are just some of the methods he uses when he plays the lottery.
Believe it or not, he said, there is a very simple strategy that he follows religiously, especially when playing the popular scratch-off games available at every convenience store that carries the lottery.
Here is his strategy:
1) Set a budget of how much you are willing to spend and don't go over it, ever.
2) Do your research. Check the lottery website for how many people have already won the scratch-off jackpots. Only play the scratch-off games at locations where there are still unclaimed prizes.
3) Never buy fewer than 10 tickets and always buy them from the same roll. That alone can increase your odds a lot.
So News 6 decided to put Richard's system to the test. We all put in $20 and bought a dozen $5 tickets. Then we started scratching. In the end, we won our money back plus $5 dollars. And who knows? The next time we decide to play, we may hit one of the big-ticket items.
After all, Lustig has.
"You want to treat this like a job. Anything worth having, you have to put work into it," Lustig said. "I'm not guaranteeing you will win a grand prize. What I am saying is that I will teach you how to increase your chances of winning."
Lustig also has tips on increasing your odds with the weekly drawings. First of all, he said, don't limit your number choices to just your birthday or birth month or anniversary date.
"All of their numbers are between 1 and 31. You're not even playing numbers 32-59," Lustig said.
He encourages people not to just play the Powerball. He encourages people to play the smaller jackpot Lotto games, since the odds of winning them are a lot better.
"Your odds of winning Powerball are 1 in 300 million. Your odds of winning the Florida Lotto are 1 in 24 million. Quite a difference, isn't it?" Lustig said. "Lucky Money starts out at a half a million dollars, and the odds are only 1 in 3 million. A half a million will change your life, too."
The Florida Lottery would not comment on Lustig's methods. The state agency said it has a winner showcase online, but states there is no way of knowing how many winning tickets are on a scratch-off roll.
According to the Florida Lottery website, scratch-off games make up 68 percent of its ticket sales, and generated more than $784 million for the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund in fiscal year 2016-17.
The Florida Lottery is responsible for contributing more than $32 billion to education. The agency said, as a result, more than 775,000 students have gone to college through the Bright Futures Scholarship Program.
The Florida Lottery states it reinvests 98 percent of its revenue into Florida's economy through prize payouts and commissions to more than 13,000 Florida retailers and through its contributions to education. Since 1988, Florida Lottery games have paid more than $56.3 billion in prizes and made more than 2,000 people millionaires.
The Florida Lottery just announced a man from Hawthorne claimed the second of six top prizes in the $10,000 A WEEK FOR LIFE Scratch-Off game at Florida Lottery Headquarters in Tallahassee on March 20. He will receive the winnings in annual payments of $520,000 for the next 20 years.
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