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How British professional gambler took aim at $25.8M Lotto jackpot in Connecticut

Jon Lender, The Hartford Courant on

Published in News & Features

HARTFORD, Conn. -- "Good afternoon, Pete. Just letting you know that we have been monitoring the sales of an individual who is spending an enormous amount of money on the lotto game."

That's what Mark Walerysiak, the security director at the Connecticut Lottery Corp. (CLC), wrote in an email on Oct. 28 to Peter Hsieh, the gaming division director for the state Department of Consumer Protection (DCP).

The email was the beginning of an intriguing yarn about a professional gambler who traveled from Great Britain to Stamford in recent weeks with an audacious plan -- to spend as much as $2 million buying "Quick Pick" Lotto tickets by the hundreds of thousands at local convenience stores in hopes of winning the Nov. 1 near-record Connecticut Lotto jackpot of $25.8 million.

"Mr. Bernard Marantelli of the United Kingdom is in Connecticut and is planning to spend as much as $1-2 million on tickets," Walerysiak continued in the email. "He is currently staying in the Stamford area and has already spent about $200,000 since last Wednesday. ... I spoke to Marantelli last week on the phone. He is the current CEO of Colossus Bets in the UK, a sports betting agency, and he is also a professional gambler/mathematician.

"He told me that he is planning on winning the lotto jackpot."

Marantelli, co-founder of Colossus, which focuses on pool betting on sports and horse racing, teamed up with a half-dozen or so associates to buy Lotto tickets for hours on end at several small outlets in Stamford.

 

And -- what do you know? -- on the night of Nov. 1, for the first time since January 2018, the six numbers drawn (1-9-10-15-41-43) were on a single winning ticket that a customer bought at a Stop & Shop supermarket in Danbury on Lake Avenue Extension.

No winner has yet come forward with that ticket to claim the top prize -- he or she has 180 days from Nov. 1 to do so -- but things don't look so good for Marantelli because he and his helpers were only known to be buying their tickets in Stamford, where they had hotel lodgings, not in Danbury.

Marantelli wasn't available for comment on that; three Courant inquiries to his Colossus Bets email went unanswered.

But no matter who turns up as the winner, the Englishman's unusual-but-lawful effort colorfully illustrates the realities of the Lotto game's long odds (a 1 in 7,059,052 chance to win the jackpot) and the efforts of security officials to make sure everything's on the up-and-up.

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