“We look forward to the growing number of players,” Ohio Lottery Director Pat McDonald, executive director of the Mega Millions Coalition, said in a news release Wednesday. “To see the jackpot build up and reach the billion dollar mark in a matter of months is truly amazing. We encourage our customers to keep their balance and enjoy the ride.
“Someone’s going to win,” McDonald added.
But as players scramble to pick up the Mega Millions tickets and dream big — the odds of matching six numbers are roughly 1 in 303 million — another popular question is once again front and center for those who make unrealistic plans for their $1 billion jackpot. What would you do if you won the lottery?
The history of past lottery winners shows the broad spectrum of what players do with their winnings. Many paid off debt, bought houses and invested their money, while others used the money to build a water park, gamble in Atlantic City or start women’s professional wrestling organizations. Some have settled into the lifestyle of a multi-millionaire. For others, the joy and happiness of an unexpected fortune soon turned into bad choices and sadness – and ruined their lives.
“You immediately realize you’ve won, and you’re filled with joy. They say, ‘Oh, my God, this is amazing, my life is going to change,'” says Robert Pagliarini, president of California-based Pacific Wealth Advisors and who has worked with lottery winners. What am I doing? How am I handling this? My life could change and maybe not in a good way.’ “
Friday’s jackpot is just shy of last year’s record $1.05 billion for Mega Millions Japan, which was won by four members of a suburban Detroit lottery club on a single ticket. If no winning ticket is picked Friday, the Mega Millions jackpot will be close to the record $1.5 billion prize won by a South Carolina player in 2018. The player, who chose to remain anonymous, took home more than $877 million. According to the South Carolina Education Lottery Commission.
Millions of players are expected to buy $2 tickets for this week’s Mega Millions in 45 states and Washington and the US Virgin Islands. According to MegaMillions, there were more than 6.7 million winning tickets for Tuesday’s drawing across all levels, including nine tickets worth between $1 million and $3 million each.
With the $1 billion increase in demand and the increase in tickets sold, one or more people will be more likely to get a winning ticket after Friday’s drawing, said Mark Glickman, a senior lecturer in statistics at Harvard University. .
“The big difference is the bigger and bigger these jackpots are, the more people are playing, so there’s more of a chance for someone to win,” Glickman said. “This does not mean that any individual will have an improved chance. Once the pot reaches this level, there are enough people betting that someone is going to pick the correct number.
When players pick the right lottery numbers, they all want to pay off debt or buy a home for themselves or a loved one, Pagliarini said. He recalled a client who moved into a new home in Malibu overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Some have honed their wealth through investments and non-traditional purchases or donations. In the year In 2011, John Cutie and his wife, Linda, used a portion of $28.7 million from their winning $319 million Mega Millions ticket to build a water park in Green Island, NY, to celebrate with their co-workers. Parents, according to the Albany Times Union. Louise White She won more than $336 million in the Powerball jackpot in Rhode Island after buying Rainbow Sherbet in 2012, and her family started a trust named after the dessert, the “Rainbow Sherbet Trust,” ABC News reported.
Just this month, Crystal Dunn took her small winnings of more than $146,000 from an online game of the Kentucky Lottery and gave some of it away in $100 grocery store gift cards to strangers.
She won the lottery. Then she shared the state of the wind with strangers.
But for every feel-good story of an unlikely lottery win, Pagliarini said, there are other experiences that underscore why it’s important to have a financial advisor and attorney to help someone win big.
“There are so many stories of these lottery winners making less money than when they started,” he said. “The big question and concern is, ‘Am I going to blow it all?’ And you can still blow them all.
After Evelyn Adams unexpectedly won the New Jersey Lottery in 1985 and 1986, she forfeited all of her winnings in 2012, totaling more than $5.4 million, because of Atlantic City gambling and investment mistakes. In the year In 2008, 19-year-old South Carolina native Jonathan Vargas won the $35.3 million Powerball prize for Wrestlicious, a women’s professional wrestling promotion. According to CBS News, the show, which featured a cast of costumed actors, ran for one season and cost Vargas $500,000.
In the year “If I had it to do over again, I would recommend people sit down for a year,” he said in 2016.
While lottery luck stories have been well-documented over the years, the endings of those tales have varied.
He won $314 million in Powerball jackpots. It ruined his life.
In the year In 1988, shortly after William “Bud” Post won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery, his brother was arrested for hiring someone to kill his inheritance. Post was later successfully sued by an ex-girlfriend for a share of the winnings and owed $1 million at the time of his death in 2006.
In the year “Everybody dreams of winning money,” he said in 1993, “but nobody realizes the nightmares or problems that come out of the woodwork.”
In Ronnie Music Jr’s case, $3 million of his 2015 Georgia Lottery scratch-off winnings were used to purchase and distribute crystal meth. In the year In 2016, he pleaded guilty to investing in a drug ring and was sentenced to 21 years in prison.
Despite the unlikely possibility of this week’s $1 billion Japanese jackpot, and the story of some of the winners who cashed in, people are asking, “What if?” He didn’t make them think that. Pagliarini plans to go to the store to get two tickets for him and his daughter, while Glickman, the Harvard professor, continues to use his method of randomly selecting Mega Millions numbers.
If he wins, Glickman said he would like to buy a vacation home in La Jolla, Calif., where he has just returned from vacation. But Glickman is honest in realizing the game’s history means he, like millions of others, will have to hold onto his lottery dreams a little longer.
“When I played last week, I had one ticket that I think went in for $10 — and that’s the highest I’ve ever won,” he said. “I know very well that luck will not shine on me.”