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State Officials Pooh-Pooh Tip Sheet for Lottery Players

January 8, 1985

BOSTON (AP) _ Joseph Bille claims he can help bettors win the Massachusetts Megabucks Lottery, but officials say the weekly tip sheet he sells is no better than picking birthdates or addresses as a way to beat the 1.9 million-to-1 odds.

″It’s impossible because the drawing is completely random,″ said Dave Ellis, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Lottery Commission. ″You can’t predict how any of those numbers are going to come out.″

But Bille, who has been crunching numbers for electronics companies for over 30 years, says he can help people ″play smart.″

″You’re still playing with luck, but instead of 2 million different combinations we can get it down to a few hundred thousand combinations,″ he said.

His weekly tip sheet sells for about $1 a copy.

Bille, president of Billington Associates of Norfolk, is in the ″statistical quality control business,″ predicting things such as how often electronic components will fail.

Bille said he began to dabble in lotteries as a hobby, looking for statistical probabilities among the winning numbers. He claims his studies have turned up some winning information about Megabucks, a twice-weekly game that can pay hefty winnings to bettors who pick six numbers drawn from a possible 36. The lottery picks its numbers by using 36 balls with the numbers 1 through 36 printed on them.

Bille says he won $300 in September and by refining his system pushed the winnings to $720 in November. He now offers his system to other bettors through ″Megadata,″ a direct mail information sheet that has 300 subscribers since he first started advertising it last month.

Bille has distributed subscription forms at most of the state’s lottery outlets.

″You can call it a handicap sheet if you want to, it’s the same as in horse racing,″ he said in a telephone interview.

Some of Megadata’s advice is clearcut. Bille said the number 11 has been drawn 27 times and the number 19 has been picked 25 times.

″What we’re saying is if you don’t play those numbers often enough, you’re asking to lose your money,″ he said.

Bille also noted that six odd numbers have only come up twice in the 125 drawings held since Megabucks began in 1983. He also eschews the choice of numbers 35 and 36 together.

Megadata subscribers can get that information along with weekly tips on what sequences of numbers appear the most promising and what numbers have not been drawn in recent weeks.

″We’re not picking random numbers and telling people to play them,″ said Bille, who rankles at Ellis’ suggestion that his tip sheet simply lists past winning numbers.

Ellis said Bille’s sheet is the latest in a long list of betting strategies, many that are based on less scientific information.

″Everybody’s got a system,″ he said. ″The most common system is that people pick birthdates or addresses.″

Ellis said the state lottery provides its own tout sheet, a listing of past numbers that is available to anyone who sends a stamped self-addressed envelope.

But Bille is betting that his tip sheet will attract the attention of the more than 1 million MegaBucks players.

″We’re hoping to catch 1 percent of those smart players,″ he said. ″We think if we do, we are going to produce a winner and that will take care of all the skeptics.″

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