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The Man Who Tried to Buy the Irish Lottery

There have been many tales of shocking coups throughout history. However, the 1992 tale of Stefan Klincewicz and his Irish pub-grown syndicate’s ploy to literally buy out the Saturday night jackpot of £2.2 million in the Irish lottery is definitely one for the books. So, let’s see how they did it.


Who Pulled It Off & What They Knew?

The plot was devised by Stefan Klincewicz, a 45-year old half-Polish accountant born in Cork. Klincewicz began planning this sting in the smoke-filled bar room of a Dublin pub called Scruffy Murphy’s. He and his 21-person syndicate recognized a few interesting things about the National Lottery.


First, before 1992, the odds were smaller than they are now. In other words, the number of balls in the lotto machine at the time were only 36. This means that the odds were about 2 million to 1. Nowadays, the odds are around 10.7 million to 1.

Klincewicz and his syndicate planned to exploit this “weakness” in the National Lottery. They discovered a way to stack the odds of winning the jackpot in their favor.


On top of that, Klincewicz knew that National Lottery awarded £100 prizes to anyone who matched four numbers. As such, there was the added cushion of ancillary prizes to jack up their winnings.


The Plan

So here is how they did it.

First, this was no random lotto draw they picked. Klincewicz, who had been planning this sting since 1990, waited to put his plan into action until the jackpot had rolled over, making the prize amount swell.

When the prize amount rolled over to £1.7 million, Klincewicz and his syndicate jumped into action.

Three days before the draw, Klincewicz pooled together 243,474 lotto coupons and £973,896 to buy as many combinations of lotto numbers as possible.

This way they could have the highest chance of winning the jackpot. Not to mention, they could also rake in an extra hundreds and thousands of pounds simply by matching 4 numbers.


When the date arrived, Klincewicz and the syndicate hired teams of ticket buyers to spread out throughout the country and buy out large sums of lotto tickets. The trick, according to Klincewicz, was to go to machines and terminals that were out of the way of other people buying tickets.

Even though the National Lottery actually started shutting down a few terminals and even refusing to accept large sums, the syndicate managed to buy out £820,000 worth of tickets.

Now all they had to do was sit back and wait.


The Aftermath

On May 30, 1992, the results of the draw were announced on the Pat Kenny Show, and this is where the entire sting took an unexpected turn. Although Klincewicz and his syndicate had the winning ticket, so did a syndicate from Newbridge and another ticket from Dunnes Stores in Finglas.

Each winner received £568,682. Fortunately, the match 4 ancillary prizes won by their other tickets brought the prize money up to £1,166,000, £310,000 of which went to expenses.

The syndicate’s actions were declared legal, but not in the  spirit of the game. The National Lottery ended up creating a midweek draw and adding more numbers to the draw to increase the odds of the game, hoping to avoid another coup.



Although the National Lottery made strides to curb any more recurrences, the impact is still clear. As a matter of fact, Klincewicz is still working to perfect that magical big win. This might not be the story of the easiest way to win big money, but it certainly is a memorable one.