7 Craziest Purchases of Lottery Winners
What do people do if millions of dollars suddenly came pouring in? I guess we’ve all passed a few idle minutes day-dreaming about just what we’d do if we hit a (multi-) million dollar jackpot, but the reality can be a little bit different. Here are some of the crazy real-life purchases made by lottery winners who just couldn’t believe their luck:
Number 1: Million Dollar Fan
Hospital porter John McGuinness thought he was set up for life when he won £10 million (CAD$17.7M) on the UK lottery in 1997. His initial spending spree included a house, apartment, a fleet of super-cars, holidays and jewellery as well as gifts to friends. A standard lottery winner’s shopping list! The trouble really started when he invested £4 million in lower division Scottish soccer team Livingston FC. When the club went into debt so did John, and his lottery fortune disappeared.
Number 2: Demolition Derby
No list of epic expenditures could be complete without a mention of Michael Carroll, another £10 million winner from the UK whose fortune didn’t last long. The obligatory mansion with swimming pool, Jacuzzi and fancy cars in the drive is pretty standard. Building a race track in your back yard for demolition derbies less so, but that is what the teenage lottery winner decided to do. Within 8 years his fortune was gone, frittered away on drugs, alcohol and prostitutes.
Number 3: Unwise Investments
William Post III won over $16 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988, but a string of poor decisions was to leave him right back where he started before too long. A restaurant, used car lot and a plane all proved less than rewarding, and he lost more money through fruitless investments in family businesses. Having filed for bankruptcy William was back where he started from when he passed away aged 66.
Number 4: Dancing for Joy
Not every lottery win ends badly though, as Tony and Greta Dodd from Merseyside proved. They spend a chunk of their £2 million (CAD$3.4M) win in an unusual manner, treating each other to new sets of knees! Greta, 67, had always been a big line-dancing fan but had been forced to give up due to enduring severe joint problems. Treating themselves to four replacement knees meant that she could put on her dancing shoes again and both could enjoy a more active lifestyle.
Number 5: Shooting for the Moon
David Copeland won £1 million (CAD$1.7M) from the UK lottery, and his first purchase was a perfectly understandable investment in champagne to celebrate with friends. A nice car and a series of ocean cruises followed, but his more unusual investments were a little further afield. David elected to invest some of his money on an acre of property on the moon, and purchased more land on Venus and Mars. Then entire investment only cost a few hundred pounds, so perhaps he was wise to purchase this type of real estate with an eye to the future, even if that future is hundreds of years from now!
Number 6: Living the Rock Star Dream
A couple from the North of England won £1.8 million (CAD$3.2M) but couldn’t hold onto it for long. Luxury cars, a lavish house and a series of expensive 5 star holidays ate up a lot of the cash. Husband Roger also made the possibly ill-advised decision to spend £30K reforming his old college band and releasing a record with them, which failed to set the charts alight. When a major investment in wife Lara’s beauty salon went south, the couple’s winnings were gone and unfortunately divorce was to follow shortly afterwards.
Number 7: Whisky Galore!
Irishman Peter Lavery lived up to the national stereotype with the way he spent a large chunk of his £10 million (CAD$17.7M) win. After the obligatory early spending spree on a series of cars and property, Peter decided to invest £5 million in a whiskey distillery to be housed in a disused jail in Belfast. Unlike a number of lottery winners, Peter’s investments in rental properties and the distillery have proved to be extremely lucrative, demonstrating that some lottery winners do get to enjoy a happy ending!
Of course, for every story of blown fortunes there are 5 more lottery winners who have discreetly gotten on with their lives, secure in the knowledge that financial worries are a thing of the past. However, it’s the stories of wild and wacky lottery winners that tend to make for more entertaining reading!