Fortune cookies scored winners $400M in lottery: study

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Jackpot! Powerball winner based winning numbers off fortune cookie

When it comes to winning the lottery, you’re better off trusting a fortune cookie.

A recent survey by OpenFortune — a fortune cookie-based marketing and manufacturing group — has revealed that at least 146 lottery winners between 2004 and 2021 chose their lucky numbers based on the little strip of paper inside the treat.

All told, those fortunate souls reaped more than $406 million in winnings stemming from Powerball, Mega Millions, Daily Draw and scratch-off tickets from 40 states, with 93% earning more than $100,000 each.

Among the lucky set, just this past February a North Carolina resident credited his Chinese takeout dinner for also bringing him a $500,000 Powerball prize, calling his shrimp fried rice “a good investment.”

In a state-by-state analysis, more people won based on a fortune cookie in South Carolina (15 players), Pennsylvania (13 players) and Tennessee (12 players), while most other states boasted less than a few. Unfortunately for Illinois, only one person has won thanks to a fortune cookie during the 17-year period, despite some 90% of players using this tactic.

Hot tip: The luckiest numbers of all have been 4, 14, 15, 22, 26 and 28, according to OpenFortune, which distributes fortune cookies to more than 19,000 restaurants across the country. (Coincidence? Who can say?)

Chief Cookie Officer Matt Williams called the results surprising — even for a man whose livelihood is staked on good fortune cookie press.

“It’s obvious — fortune cookies instill feelings of luck and prosperity. But we were shocked by the sheer number of people who played, and actually won, using the motivation from their fortune,” he said in a statement. “That small slip of paper is powerful and [elicits] emotions that can ultimately lead people to make life-changing decisions.”

When the odds of scoring the jackpot can be one in hundreds of millions, according to a recent Mega Millions estimate, why not, as a likely consolation, get a cookie out of it?

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