Interesting Ways Lottery Winners Spent Their Money

We all dream about winning the lottery. The idea of receiving millions in your bank account overnight without any work is pretty cool. And what would we do if we won a jackpot? Buy property, sports cars, travel to exotic places, designer clothing? Most lottery winners seem to go this route and try to keep a sizable portion as a nest egg. However, there are some lottery winners that spend their prize way differently, if not always wisely. With a €100 million EuroMillions Super Draw jackpot up for grabs on November 6th 2015, it’s time we review some of these stories:


Matt Myles and his £72,000 Liquor Bill

Matt Myles was just 27 when he won £1 million by matching the UK Millionaire Maker raffle code in April 2014. The raffle is part of EuroMillions UK and guarantees at least one £1 million winner each draw.

When Myles won the life-changing sum, he was working late nights at a menial job in a Hereford factory. He decided to save half his £1 million prize and take the rest of the money for play. And play he did!

Most lottery winners do spend some of their money on travel, but Myles took it to a whole other level. Myles took his brother and three of his friends on a 22-country pub crawl with stops that included Thailand, Brazil, Indonesia, Ibiza, Spain, the US and much more.

On the eight-month trip, he estimated that he and his travel buddies spent an incredible £72,000 on liquor alone! He also bought a Porsche for £45,000 and a £9,000 Omega watch. After his trip, he settled down back in Hereford and bought a house for £150,000.

A fireworks display with a lottery twist

Patrick Nowlin

It might have seemed like an April Fool’s Day gag, but Patrick Nowlin did indeed win the $41 million Powerball jackpot on 1 April 2007. After taxes, that left him with approximately $19 million to spend.

At first he wanted to keep his lottery win a secret from his small Wisconsin town, but the town had fallen on tough times and he decided to spend some of his winnings on the town’s July 4th fireworks display – so everyone would be able to enjoy the holiday.

His spirit of generosity didn’t end with that celebration, however. He and his wife went on to donate $2 million in grant money for University of Wisconsin’s Children’s Diabetes Wing. While charity is wonderful, Nowlin has been put in the awkward position many lottery winners find themselves in – being hounded by strangers for money. He says that he collects all the letters from people demanding hand-outs in a shoe box called the Lottery File. Well, you can’t please everybody.

A lottery winner makes a €50 million donation

In a world where bad news and terrible acts perpetrated by humans is an everyday occurrence, it’s nice to get surprised by a tremendous act of kindness every once and again. A large percentage of lottery winners give to charity, but no one expected one winner to donate €50 million!

One man from Haute-Garonne in southwestern France won a €72 million EuroMillions jackpot. Out of that sum, the unmarried man in his 50s donated €50 million to various NGOs. Smartly, he added that the organisations would have to tell him how the money was to be used.

Other notable and charitable EuroMillions winners include Chris and Colin Weir who won £161 million in 2011 and since then have set up a charitable trust to help several Scottish-based community groups.

Chris and Colin Weir


Buying your own television show is a terrible idea

Jonathan Vargas

File this one under people too young to win the lottery. Jonathan Vargas was just 19 years old when he won a $35 million Powerball jackpot in 2008. Now some teenagers are able to make sensible financial choices, but Vargas wasn’t one of them.

Vargas decided that investing his fortune in a television show called Wrestlicious was a superb idea. Wrestlicious produced 13 episodes featuring all-female fake wrestling and sketch comedy. Vargas himself made appearances on the show, using the stage name of JV Rich.

Unsurprisingly (if the below trailer is anything to go by), the show was a huge flop and a complete waste of $35 million.

Vargas wasn’t the only 19-year-old lottery winner to lose his fortune over stupid things. Michael Carroll won £9.7 million in the UK National Lottery in 2002 at age 19. Without wasting any time thinking about intelligent ways to spend his winnings or plan for his future, Carroll immediately began spending his millions on drugs, gambling, and hookers.

He was bankrupt by February 2010, went on benefits, and eventually started a job at a biscuit factory for £204 a week.

Michael Carroll
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