With the jackpot at €35 million ($45 million) - the third biggest ever - Germany is being gripped by lottery fever and even senior ministers, it seems, are unable to resist a punt.
Steinbrück was caught on camera checking his lottery ticket during a debate in parliament about eradicating poverty - a picture that appeared on the front page of both mass-market daily Bild and business paper Handelsblatt.
"It was a present," Steinbrück said when asked about it on German television. "I hope nobody knows which numbers I chose."
Unfortunately, even if he scoops the big prize - at odds of 14 million to one - the cash would make only the merest dent in the new borrowing Germany has taken on to fight the what's expect to be the worst recession in 60 years.
Borrowing a massive €36 billion this year, Steinbrück would need to hit the jackpot more than 1,000 times to pay off the new public debt. But the minister is more likely to pocket any gains himself, it seems. "It's a purely private matter," a spokesman told AFP.