Winning an international lotto jackpot is a dream that each and every one of us strives to make a reality. Week after week, we continue to play our lucky numbers, determined in the hopes that this time around, the numbers will be successful! The reward for those who pit themselves up against the notorious odds offered by some of the biggest lottery games known to mankind can best be described as life-changing – with jackpot prizes which could easily climb up into the upper nine-digit wins, these games have the ability to make you rich; seriously rich!
Winning a jackpot is only the beginning, though. What do you do with all your cash, once the elation and euphoria surrounding your win has subsided? After all, you’ll probably have more than what you could shake a stick at – although we’re all silently hoping that you won’t find “creative” ways of spending your winnings, like these lotto winners did. Here’s our Top 5 list of weird and wonderful ways in which some of the biggest lottery winners elected to spend their winnings:
#5: Robert Erb - $25 million Lotto Max win
It seems almost fated that Mr Erb’s surname was, in fact, Erb. When he won a $25 million jackpot prize in November 2012, this seasonal construction worker with a famously generous streak put it to good use – in more ways than one, according to him. Within the first year of his lotto win, Erb estimates about $8 million was spent on charitable donations and gifts! Amongst these donations and gifts were a reported ten cars which were purchased for people in need, $300,000 worth of dental care for those who couldn’t afford it, as well as an amazing $10,000 tip at a restaurant after Erb heard that the owner’s daughter had been diagnosed with cancer. One of the more “interesting” endeavours in which Erb opted to spend his winnings was supporting the legalizing of marijuana – of which he is an avid smoker, reportedly smoking up to 15 joints daily. He made the decision to donate $1,000,000 towards the bid to have it legalized, likening his use of the “herb” to that of taking multivitamins as a preventative health measure.
#4: Jonathan Vargas - $35 million Powerball win
“A fool and his money are soon parted” – isn’t there a saying that goes something like that? We can’t think of a more appropriate story to which that line could be applied. Young Jonathan Vargas was a mere 19 years old when he happened upon a $35 million US Powerball win. While his initial plans following his win were to quit his job as a construction worker and buy his mother a house, those plans changed… Somewhat. Vargas thought it would be a great idea to merge his love for wrestling with his even-bigger love for scantily-clad women tackling each other; so, instead of hiring a few strippers to play out any fantasy he chose (we all know he could afford it), young Vargas instead kicked it up a notch – he became the owner of his very own television show, Wrestlicious. The premise for the show was a comedy/wrestling mash up series where women in revealing costumes would wrestle each other in a pink ring. Naturally, the show only lasted for a single season before being taken off the air. When asked if his substantial investment had been a good one, this is what Vargas had to say: “I think so; time will tell. It certainly has been an awesome learning experience. Best case scenario? We have a huge hit on our hands. Worst case? I have a tax write-off.”
#3: John Kutey - $28.7 million US Mega Millions win
John Kutey was one of seven IT specialists who formed a syndicate which played in the popular US Mega Millions game – and won. The syndicate scored big-time with a $319 million Mega Millions win in 2011, and John’s share equated to $28.7 million. Instead of retiring early and living a life of leisure, John and his wife instead opted for the path of nobility and righteousness. They approached their local village hall, and asked the city what they could do to give back to the community in which they were raised. The result of this endeavour was the local wading pool being demolished, and the area totally reconstructed with a $250,000 water park – of which the Kuteys personally donated $200,000 to help cover costs. Even though they moved out of the area after their jackpot windfall, they still made time in their millionaire’s schedule to visit the water park for its grand opening.
#2: Gloria MacKenzie - $590.5 million Powerball win
With probably the biggest single-ticket payout – ever – Gloria MacKenzie’s name has certainly been emblazoned in the international lottery hall of fame, thanks to her massive US Powerball win. The jackpot win totally transformed her life; from living in a trailer park to moving to a shabby home with a tin roof, to finally upgrading to a posh home in a gated community in Jacksonville after her lotto win – she’s been through it all. Her new home may have cost her $1.2 million, but Mrs MacKenzie spent more on her old hometown high school than she did on her own living space! In a charitable gesture, she gifted $2,000,000 to Schenck High School in Maine to carry out repairs to a leaking roof which had been quoted at $1.8 million to replace. MacKenzie attended Schenck High, and her daughter currently teaches Biology there. The donation offered the school a much-needed helpline; the superintendent’s own thoughts were that, without the donation, the school would have surely shut down. Well done to you, Mrs MacKenzie!
#1: Tom Crist - $40 million Lotto Max win
This one simply has to be an all-time chart topper. When Tom Crist received a call from the Western Canada Lottery to inform him that he had won the $40 million Lotto Max jackpot prize, what was his response? Not even as much as a flinch. He finished his lunch, and went back to a game of golf he was enjoying with friends. Mr Crist kept his lottery win an absolute secret for an entire seven months – not even his own family and children knew of his multimillionaire status – while he contemplated on how to deal with his sudden windfall. As much as possible, he wanted to avoid the media attention surrounding the win. When he realized that it was pretty much unavoidable, he then instead opted to hold a press conference and publicly state what he wished to do with his winnings: Donate it all to charity. Not a portion; everything in its entirety. What could possibly motivate somebody to hand over their lottery winnings? To Tom Crist, the answer was simple. He had lost his wife of 33 years to cancer early in February 2012. As an honour to her memory, he decided to put the money in a family trust fund, which could then be handed out to charities that he and his children saw fit to offer assistance to. In his own words: “I’ve been fortunate enough to spend my career working for the same company – 44 years in total. During the course of my career, I’ve done well for myself. Well enough to look after myself, my kids, and their future as well. In all honesty, I don’t need that money.” So what did he do instead? He chose to give his winnings to those who really needed it. What a selfless and commendable act!
As a winner of an international lotto jackpot, what would your first big move with your winnings be? Would you donate a portion of it to charity, or help friends and family that may be in need? Or would you go on a crazy shopping spree, marking off numerous entries on your ‘bucket list’ in the process? Whatever you decide to do with your winnings is entirely up to you – but what you should be doing, however, is to play your favourite international lotto game online with PlayHugeLottos.com; one of the world’s biggest and most reputable online lotto ticket vendors. It is through this portal that you can gain verified entry into some of the world’s biggest and most lucrative lottery brands; the types that can pay out well in excess of $100 million. Play the US Powerball online with PlayHugeLottos, and you too could score a massive jackpot win like Gloria MacKenzie!