Friday 28 October 2016

5 Crazy Ways To Spend Your Lottery Winnings

Published 24/08/2016 | 12:58

What's your lottery dream? Making sure the numbers match? Standing there with a silly novelty cheque? Shaking hands with officials? Hardly! It's all about what happens next. Our lottery dreams are all about those distant possibilities, the impossible made possible.

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Most lottery stories share a similar pattern; the winners chat about the circumstances of their win, attempt to convey how they feel about it and are then encouraged to speculate on plans for the future. It's an evergreen story, told week after week, with little variation. 

Of course not everyone can fit into this basic template. Some people, for better or for worse, are just born to make headlines.

Breaking Broke

Other than a new car what else do lottery winners dream of having? A new home, travel, property, investments – these are just some of the more common ways winners spend their money. Of course not everyone follows convention. Having won $3 million on a scratchcard, Ronnie Music Jr., from the US state of Georgia, decided he wasn't going to retire from his profession. Instead he was going to double-down and take his career to the next level. He was going to invest in imported crystal – but not the Swarovski kind, rather the Heisenberg kind.

In a move reminiscent of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, Music, who already had previous convictions for drug dealing, decided to go all-in with his investment purchasing huge quantities of methamphetamine from Mexico which he hoped to resell at a large profit. But his co-conspirators weren't up to the task and soon the authorities got wise.

They set up undercover stings and patiently waited for the right moment before swooping in and seizing over $1 million worth of drugs, $600,000 in cash plus a considerable armoury of illegal guns and ammo. Following the raid U.S. Attorney Ed Tarver gave a stern warning to the press; “Music decided to test his luck by sinking millions of dollars of lottery winnings into the purchase and sale of crystal meth.

As a result of his unsound investment strategy, Music now faces decades in a federal prison.” An official statement from the Georgia state government in July 2016 read that "Music faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison" – not exactly the fate one generally associates with lottery winners.

His win should have meant a new chance to start over, but, instead of being $3 million richer he let greed destroy his life and the lives of those around him.

Gone Gaga

Having won the biggest ever EuroMillions jackpot of all time, Englishman Adrian Bradford's life changed rapidly and completely. His subsequent marital breakup became regular tabloid fodder, though Bayford was also forced to bid farewell to the other love of his life, his second-hand music shop.

Instead of chatting about music and general banter with his regulars, Bayford was plagued by mobs of strangers looking for hand-outs. He soon realised things could never go back to how they used to be. With a heavy heart he closed his shop, but his passion for music remained as constant as ever.

So, after being divorced from his wife and run through the tabloid ringer, Bayford decided to change his tune, launching a brand new music shop. The shop which, incidentally, also happens to house the largest collection of Lady Gaga memorabilia in the world, including old costumes and shoes, plus a veritable treasure trove of vinyl records, Star Wars merchandise and other pop culture memorabilia.

Injecting a bit of millionaire flair into the reopening, it was planned that a high profile performer would make an appearance. Unfortunately for Bayford, Lady Gaga herself wasn't available, but it was rumoured that Rod Stewart might do the honours instead.

King of the Road

Getting rid of the aul banger and buying a flash new set of wheels is a top dream of many a lad when winning the lottery. A Merc, a Beamer, a Lambo or maybe a Maserati… But a Transit van? Probably not.

Yet that's exactly what Mayo man Gerry Murphy decided to buy. According to the jackpot winner bought himself a humble Ford Transit, the vehicle of choice for delivery drivers, fleet operators and tradesmen, following his €3.6 million lottery win.

Sure, it probably won't turn that many heads down in Puerto Banús, but the diesel-powered workhorse will ensure that fuel costs are kept low – isn't that right Gerry?

Snake Eyes

Addiction of another kind ruined the life of Evelyn Adams, the first ever two-time winner of the New Jersey state lottery. Beating the odds and winning the lottery is no easy task, doing it twice in the space of a year takes astronomical luck though that didn't mean her supply of luck was limitless.

Firstly, Adams found it difficult to adjust to her newfound celebrity status, "I was known and I couldn't go anywhere without being recognized." Evelyn first won in 1985, and then again in 1986, winning around $5.4 million in total. When adjusted for inflation that comes to around $11.86, or €10.5 million.

Her insecurity and vulnerability meant she was easy prey for people looking for hand-outs and she also got conned into making several dodgy investments. When life got her down she also tended to embark on epic spending sprees in order to boost her mood.

More worrying, however, was that the former convenience store worker also had an untreated gambling addiction. Following her twin wins Evelyn might have done well to leave New Jersey and retire to the sun. Instead, feeling overwhelmed yet invincible, she made her way to Atlantic City where her winning streak came to an abrupt and dramatic end.

Fast forward twenty years and Evelyn is virtually penniless and living in a trailer. "Everybody wanted my money", she told the press, "Everybody had their hand out. I never learned one simple word in the English language – no! I wish I had the chance to do it all over again. I'd be much smarter about it now."

Splashing The Cash

Many lottery winners, thrilled by their good fortune, decide to give something back to the community. John Kutey and his wife Linda decided to do just that, but in a rather unique way. When asked by the New York lottery officials what they intended to do with their winnings John Kutey replied, "My wife and I are going to every Disney Park there is!"

It may have been seen as a glib remark but, in retrospect, his answer hinted at the couple's future plans. Kutey was one of the "Albany 7", a work syndicate who shared in a massive $319 million MegaMillions jackpot back in 2011.

Kutey's share came to $28.7 million, and, of that, he donated $200,000 to their hometown of Green Island, NY, to build "Spray Park", a water park, in their home town. The Kuteys dedicated the park to their parents which is certain to bring joy to generations of children in the town of Green Island.

So, how would you spend your winnings?

So what would you spend your winnings on – and would it be as crazy as what these guys done? We all have our own story to tell – and our own unique lottery dreams to dream. Best of all you can now triple your chances of winning the jackpot with our exclusive 3-for-1 EuroMillions deal!

Sponsored by: Ulster Bank

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