Money makes people go crazy sometimes, which is why some folks spend their lottery winnings on ridiculous things. On the other hand, some people do very smart things with their winnings. That being said, here are just some of the things lottery winners buy.
12. A TV Show
Jonathan Vargas of South Carolina was just 19 years old when he won a $35.3 million Powerball in 2008. So, what did he do with his new-found fortune? He created a TV show. But it wasn’t just any show. It was a sketch comedy with scantily clad female wrestlers! Wrestlicious Takedown, as it was called, aired on MavTV in the fall of 2009 and lasted just one season. “When we pitched it, I think the show more so spoke for itself,” Vargas, a lifelong wrestling fan, told CBS News. Although it went off the air in 2010, it had already earned thousands of viewers. But, by that time Vargas was out nearly half a million dollars of his lottery winnings. “If I had to do it all over again, I would recommend people just sit on it for a year ‑- really decide what they want to do with it,” he told CBS News.
11. Surgeries for Family Members
When you’ve got a close-knit family, there’s nothing you won’t do for them, including footing the bill for their medical care. And, that’s exactly what Sarah Cockings of Morpeth, Northumberland (in northeastern England), did. In 2005, Cockings was a social work student when she won a 3 million pound ($4.2 million) lottery prize. “I’ve got a really close-knit family and my win wasn’t just for me but also for my family,” she told the Daily Record. As a result, she did the usual stuff like buying her parents a new house. Not wanting her sisters Emma and Alex to feel left out, she did something for them also. She paid for both of them to get breast augmentation surgery!
10. A Surprise Divorce
Denise Rossi of California won $1.3 million in the lottery. And, after 25 years of marriage, she decided to call it quits. According to USA Today, Rossi unexpectedly filed for a divorce from her husband, Thomas. She said she had been unhappy in her marriage for years and that winning the lottery was just what she needed to get out of it. Unfortunately for Rossi she didn’t reveal her winnings in the divorce case, and a judge ruled that she had violated state asset disclosure laws. As a result, her husband received all the winnings!
9. A Water Park
John Kutey of New York won $28.7 million in the lottery in 2011 and used his winnings on a water park. No, he didn’t spend that much money shooting down water slides or diving into swimming pools. He and his wife Linda used the money to finance a new water park in honor of both of their parents. After visiting their village hall to find out how they could use the winnings to help their community, they decided to donate $200,000 of the $28.7 million prize to construct Spray Park in Green Island, New York.
8. Another Lottery Ticket
Kimberly Morris of Wake Forest, North Carolina, bought a $4,000,000 Diamond Dazzler ticket from a Harris Teeter supermarket in 2017. Much to her surprise, she’d won $10,000! She immediately drove to the North Carolina Education Lottery headquarters in Raleigh to claim her prize. But, on her way home, she decided to do something out of the ordinary. She bought another lottery ticket. This time she stopped at a Quality Food Mart in Raleigh to buy a second $4,000,000 Diamond Dazzler ticket. And, much to her surprise she’d won again. This time the prize was $1 million! Morris immediately called her husband, John. “She was freaking out on the phone,” John told CNBC. “I couldn’t understand her, so I told her to slow down. When I realized what she was saying, I didn’t believe her at first. I had to come home and see it for myself.”
7. A Permanent Vacation
When 81-year-old Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, resident Ray Wragg won £7,649,520 in the Sheffield National Lottery on January 22, 2000, he decided to go on a permanent vacation, so to speak. The morning after he’d won, Wragg quit his job. On breaking the news to his boss, The Star reported that Wragg said, “When I told him I’d had a win, he said, “‘ That reminds me, I need to check my ticket.’ I said, ‘don’t bother Dave, I won the lot’.”
Believe it or not, not everyone who wins the lottery goes on a spending spree. Some people actually hang on to their winnings, such as is the case with Missouri lottery winner Sandra Hayes, who decided to maintain a frugal lifestyle after winning and splitting a $224 million Powerball jackpot along with 12 coworkers. “I know a lot of people who won the lottery and are broke today,” Hayes told The Associated Press. “If you’re not disciplined, you will go broke. I don’t care how much money you have.”
5. Slot Machines
According to an article published by Business Insider, New Jersey native, Evelyn Adams, won the lottery back to back in 1985 and 1986, raking in a total of $5.4 million. Feeling lucky, as anyone who’d won the lottery back to back would, Adams decided to press her luck at the tables and slot machines in Atlantic City. And, as you probably guessed, Adams pressed her luck just a little too far. As of 2016, she was, “penniless and residing in a trailer park after gambling it all away,” the article reads.
4. A Shopping Spree
Vivian Nicholson won 152,300 pounds (the equivalent of 3 million pounds today) in Britain’s football pools in 1961, and as many lottery winners do, she decided to treat herself to a shopping spree. She began ordering dresses from the famous department store Harrods. She also purchased several luxury cars and traveled all over Europe and the United States. But, the fun soon came to an end. By 2007 she living on £87 a week, and by 2016 her wallet was completely empty.
3. Political Donations
Janite Lee, a wig-maker from South Korea, won an $18 million lottery prize in 1993. She contributed huge sums of her winnings to the Democratic Party. She also donated money to other causes like education and the community. But after eight years, Lee had run through her winnings and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2001. But, it wasn’t just the charitable donations that did her in, though. Lee also had a small gambling problem and a bit of credit card debt.
2. Photography Studies
Canadian teenager Charlie Lagarde won $1,000 a week for life with the first lottery ticket she’d ever bought. It was on her 18th birthday, and she also purchased a bottle of champagne along with the ticket. But, rather than spend her winnings on frivolous things, she decided to use the money to travel and put it towards her education. “I want to study photography. One of my dreams would be to work for National Geographic,” she told the London Evening Standard.
1. A Fleet of Luxury Cars
Dean Allen was a printer in the United Kingdom when he won £14,000,000 in the lottery in 2000. Allen had a passion for luxury cars, so one of the first things he did was trade his Ford Fiesta for a Porsche. “It would be rude not to buy one,” Allen told The Telegraph. He also bought a fleet of other luxury cars, including a Ferrari 550, a Porsche GT3, a Bentley GT Speed, an Audi RS4, and a Range Rover Evoque. He’d also planned to purchase a Ducati motorcycle.
Your turn! If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you’d purchase? Let us know in the comment section below.