Europe’s Luckiest Lottery Winners

The thing about lotteries is that with one single win, you can have more than enough money to spend the rest of your life in luxury. The modern lotteries award cash prizes with which you could probably own your own island. Consider this: The Spanish Christmas Lottery doles out €720 million as its main prize.

Do People Actually Win?

One common concern is that the mega lottery prizes announcements are more for show than anything else. The fact is that, over the years, some of the lucky ones have indeed struck the proverbial gold with their lottery wins. These people became multi-millionaires overnight. And all they had to do was to purchase a single lottery ticket. Their luck did the rest.

We have compiled a list of some of the biggest winners in Europe:

  • Colin and Chris Weir

Their story has been well documented and has gone on to become a modern day fairy tale. Colin Weir worked as a studio manger for a local TV station, doubling up as a cameraman when required. Chris was employed in a hospital as a psychiatric nurse. The two of them had been married for three decades with two children. A single lottery ticket changed their lives forever when the couple won an astounding £161 million. They became minor celebrities by holding the record for the biggest ever win in continental Europe.

  • Adrian and Gillian Bayford

Adrian is one of those live life to the fullest types while Gillian is the more reserved, quieter type. The two had professions that matched their personalities as well ‒ Adrian was a record seller and Gillian was a paediatric nurse. Life was moving along expected lines when the two struck it rich with a lottery ticket. The single ticket was worth £148 million, making the Bayfords the second biggest winners in Europe. When Adrian was asked what he planned to do with the money, he replied, true to his style, that he would splurge on exotic foreign vacations and fancy cars. Can we blame him?

  • Neil Trotter

There are those who are confident, there are those who are lucky, and then there are those who are so confident about their luck that they predict winning the jackpot. Neil Trotter foretold his amazing win a day before; the audience was the staff at his father’s workplace. Neil ran his own garage called Chameleon Coachworks, and he always wanted to pursue his passion for racing. With a £108 million cash prize, he was given many opportunities to follow that dream.

  • Dave and Angela Dawes

Most of us have heard about being third time lucky. That’s exactly what happened with Dave and Angela Dawes. Some of us buy lottery tickets for many years and still don’t win. Mr. and Mrs. Dawes needed only three attempts to pocket a cool £101 million. Dave worked as a shift supervisor for Premier Foods while Angela volunteered for the British Heart Foundation. The couple had only tried the lottery twice before their colossal win.

Record Winners in United States

The U.S.A has more gambling culture than other country because it is home to gambling cities, such as Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and many other gambling towns.

The multi-billion USA casino industry has changed the life of many lucky players. Everyone who goes to a casino is in an optimistic state of mind. The promise that they can walk out a winner is great and the player usually persuades themselves that it could happen to them. Conversely, countless players leave as losers because every game is arithmetically calculated to have a house advantage. Several people knew this and were determined to play and change the trend. Whether it was through wit and cleverness, or by just cheating, they were not ready to walk out of casinos without a big win.

Here are some of the biggest casino winners of all time in the U.S.A:

  • Archie Karas

Archie Karas famously turned 50 dollars into 40 million dollars. Never afraid of losing, he would gamble in one throw of the dice what many players might wait to win in a lifetime. He won plenty of money while playing high-stakes card games in Los Angeles.

  • Elmer Sherwin

In 1989, Elmer Sherwin won 4.6 million dollars at the Cannery Casino in Vegas on a Megabucks slot machine. He outdid the odds twice on the same slot machine. After Sherwin had won 4.6 million dollars, he continued playing on the same slot machine until he won 2.1 million dollars in 2005 at the age of 92.

  • Billy Walter

In a three-year period, from 1986 to 1989, Billy Walter’s roulette group won an average of 5 million dollars in Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos by playing biased-wheels Charlie Wells – Roulette.

  • William Darnborough

William Darnborough lived in Illinois. He played roulette and won a half a million dollars at a Monte Carlo casino in a seven-year span from 1904 to 1911, which would be a huge sum in today’s casino market.

  • Ashley Revell

Around 2003, Ashley Revell sold his house and assets in London and departed for Las Vegas with about 135,000 dollars. Revell risked it by gambling the entire amount on a roulette wheel at the Plaza Casino in Las Vegas. He quickly doubled his money and left.

  • Kerry Packer

Kerry Packer was a billionaire and, as such, would have had enough money to place large bets. In a 1995 spree to Las Vegas, he won approximately 20 million and 40 million dollars at baccarat and blackjack.

  • Cynthia Jay-Brennan

In 2000 at the Desert Inn, Cynthia Jay-Brennan, a Las Vegas waitress, collected 34.9 million dollars on a Megabucks machine.

  • Johanna Huendl

In 2002 at the Bally Hotel, 74 year-old Johanna Huendl from Covina, California, was going for breakfast and stopped to play at a Megabucks machine. She spent about 170 dollars and won 22.6 million dollars.

  • Los Angeles engineer

In 2003 at the Excalibur, a 25 year-old Los Angeles engineer walked away with 39.7 million dollars after spending 100 dollars on the Megabucks machine, which was the biggest jackpot in Las Vegas at the time.

Unlucky Lottery Winners

Who would ever imagine that winning a lottery can spell doom and gloom on the person who wins it? For most of us, getting our hands on a multi-million-dollar cash prize is like a dream coming true. We could buy all the things we wanted and never worry about money again. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

The lottery universe is filled with stories of people who won big but later lost out on life due to misfortune or bad decisions. There are two stories that we would like to profile in this piece. The stories are about two winners who got it all in an instant and then went on to lose it all as well.

The Keith Gough Story

Here was a man who had a picture perfect life. He had a loving wife and ran a small but successful bakery. And then it all changed in an instant.

It was his wife, Louise Gough, who won the multi-million-dollar cash prize in 2005. The couple were, as expected, ecstatic and over the moon. It was as if their already good life had only become better. The win amounted to $14 million.

Now the couple did not just blow through the entire amount, like in some other cases. Everything was fine in the beginning. They upgraded their home from a small, cosy house to a million-dollar mansion replete with a gardener. They also hired a chauffeur to drive their new luxury car around. Keith Gough was a lifetime fan of the football club, Aston Villa, and rented a VIP box worth $560,000 to watch his team. The real trouble started a couple of years down the line.

Keith had quit running his bakery. With all the free time at hand, he began to indulge in a drink or two. This led to marital discord and his wife walking out on the marriage in 2007. Keith then went to rehab to put his life back together. There he met James Prince, the man who later swindled a million dollars from Keith.

In 2010, Keith Gough passed away due to a heart attack. He still had more than a million dollars left in the bank.

The Janite Lee Story

Janite Lee’s story is a bit different from the routine. She didn’t go bust because of greed or bad decisions. In fact, she is one of the few Powerball winners who donated her winnings to charity.

Janite Lee won an $18 million lottery in 1993. The first thing she did was move her family to a gated community in St. Louis, Illinois. Next, she spent a good amount of money on philanthropic efforts, political and educational contributions. Her donations earned her a chance to dine with Bill Clinton and Al Gore. In spite of all the good will she generated, Janite Lee had to file for bankruptcy in 2001.

There were a number of factors bringing Lee to insolvency, including investments that turned sour and gambling losses. She also sold her annual payments for a one-time pay-out. At the end of it all, she only had $700 left in the bank.