National lottery jackpots in Northern Europe

What would you do if you won a massive jackpot in the lottery? Would you invest it? Or spend it? And what happens to the lucky few whose dreams of wealth are realized?

European lotteries, such as the Euro jackpot, feature several cash prize levels and can climb to high amounts before a winner surfaces. In this lotto a group of yellow balls featuring numbers on their surface are drawn. Players have to pick a series of numbers or use a quick pick feature that automatically chooses for them.

People routinely win lotteries in Europe, but what they do with their prizes can vary greatly. Some use the winnings wisely and go on to accomplish great things. Others see the money as a way to enhance a lifestyle for themselves, their family and other worthy causes. Others find that the lottery win can ruin their lives, as they embark on major spending sprees, often finding themselves worse off than before the win.

Famous winners

For Peter Lavery from Northern Ireland, his lottery win in 1996 only led to greater riches. At first it didn’t seem like this would happen. After his giant £10.2 million win, he went through a phase of buying cars and going on exotic holidays. Not to mention a mock Tudor house purchased in a classy part of Belfast.

Few would have predicted at this point that he would go on to triple his winnings, especially if they also took into account his self-confessed heavy drinking and inability to read, not to mention that he immediately took an extended 6-month leave from his bus driver job.

However, it wasn’t long before he felt a void in his life and decided to change his attitude towards his winnings. He has given away much of his wealth to worthy causes – although he won’t say how much or what they are – and has discovered in himself a propensity for smart business decisions. Today he rents out a series of properties. His most astonishing triumph is a whiskey distillery set up in Belfast’s jail, which turns out a great profit. “I’ve been lucky all of my life,” he modestly says about his achievements.

Roger Griffiths, on the other hand, a 2005 winner from Harrogate, went on a luxury-spending spree after winning £1.8 million that seemingly had no limits. He and his wife bought a Porsche and a Lexus and went on a series of posh holidays around the world. They quit their jobs. Then, as the money started to run out, they began to blame each other for overspending.

Now, their marriage has broken down, and the couple has no money left. Roger lives alone, looks much older than his age, and claims to have only £7 left in the bank. It is a long way from their former middle class life, before the lottery win.

Winning the jackpot is undoubtedly a great dream that is wished for by many, and the popularity of lotteries is only increasing. But when you win, what you do with it is vital. If you want the joy of the win to last a lifetime, it is probably best to retain some sense of higher purpose alongside the fun of spending.


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