Wednesday 26 October 2016

Kim Bielenberg: The mystery of the unclaimed €79 million lottery ticket – Is winning worth the hassle?

Published 06/12/2012 | 17:55

PERHAPS the holder of the winning ticket could not be bothered with all the hassle.

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The news that the owner of a winning EuroMillions ticket has lost out on a €79 million prize caused many to scratch their heads in bewilderment. How could it happen?

The ticket was bought in Hertfordshire in England, but was never claimed, and the deadline has just expired.

One can only hope that the winner does not find the ticket down behind a sofa, at the bottom of a shopping bag, or lurking in a glove compartment, in the next few days.

The chances are the holder of the ticket does not even know that he or she could have won €79 million. Perhaps they had other things on their mind and were momentarily distracted: they gave birth to a child maybe, fell in love, or their cat had kittens.

Previously, ticket buyers have discovered that their numbers have come up and scoured municipal rubbish dumps and rifled through bins in order to find the ticket.

Last year, a Spaniard, Ignacio Gonzalez found winning tickets worth a total of €9 million in his neighbourhood rubbish bin when he could not find them at his home. He was able to claim the winnings on time.

There is a faint possibility – and it must be very faint – that the owner of the ticket knew that he had won and did not want to go through with the hullabaloo of dealing with all the cash.

Dolores McNamara from Limerick has had to spend a large amount on security for her family to prevent abductions since won a staggering €115,436,126 in 2005. She goes to great lengths to protect her privacy.

The history of lotteries is littered with stories of winners whose lives took a dramatic turn for the worse after they won a jackpot.

No reversal of fortune has so been so spectacular as that of Jack Whittaker, who won €242 million in the American Powerball a decade ago. Since then, two members of his family have died tragically, he has been robbed several times, sued for bouncing cheques in a casino, and has had to go into rehab after a drunk driving arrest.

Did the holder of the latest €79 million ticket read about his plight, and decide that it is better to be a loser?

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