Biggest Lottery Wins and Their Lifestyle Changes
Every single one of us have dreamt of hitting that big jackpot and changing our lives forever. From a regular Joe to Joe ‘Big Bucks’ Malone is a journey we all dream of. And a few of us have actually managed to hit that big one. But surprise, we are human, after all, and big bucks don’t always translate into a happily ever after story.
Here we list for you stories of some of the biggest lottery wins and what happened to the lives of the people who won them. Some of these are feel-good stories, of people who won big and remained themselves, and then there are stories of those who won and lost their way.
Andrew ‘Jack’ Whittaker Jr: The Man Who Won and Lost It All
The story of Andrew ‘Jack’ Whittaker is one that makes your heart go slow. Andrew had it all even before he won the lottery: he had a construction company that was valued at over $17 million. Life seemed to just keep getting better, because he then also ended up winning the Powerball Lottery, worth a whopping $314.9 million. It seemed like nothing could go wrong for him, and for a while it didn’t.
Its quite unimaginable that you can lose this much cash
He gave 10% of his lottery winnings to charity and being the generous man he was, also bought a house and a car for the shop assistant from whom he had bought his lottery ticket. And then things started going wrong, dreadfully. He succumbed to the lure of money and got hooked on gambling and drinking. And with it came bad luck too: $500,000 that he had carelessly left in his car got stolen.
Things got worse when his bank account got cleaned up: someone used the oldest trick in the book – forged checks to do this. He hit the depths when his house, which was uninsured, burnt down in 2016. By the time the smoke and haze had cleared from his life, in 4 years, he went from being the magic story to someone with no money and a casino debt of 1.5 million.
This leads us onto the many people who have also made life changing wins at casinos around the world. The biggest winners at casinos online have also had life changing wins, going from nothing to carefree in seconds, some without even making a deposit.
Brad Duke: The Man Who Kept it All
Another man who was already doing well when he won his lottery ticket was Brad Duke from Idaho. But his story is different from Whitaker’s, simply because he kept his head on his shoulders and made much more out of what he won.
Brad Duke didn’t need a lottery ticket to change his fortunes – he had a decent amount by way of earnings anyway thanks to the 5 Gold Gym fitness centers he was the franchise owner of. His big lottery win came when he won the Idaho Powerball in May, 2005. His goal at the time of the win was simple: raise $1 billion and help those that needed it.
He didn’t get carried away by the win, probably because he was used to money anyway. He invested his winnings in real estate and bonds and over time managed to increase his winnings more. And all the while he still ran his gyms and also engaged in charity work.
Karl Crompton: The Rollover Romeo Who Steadied His Ship
Another interesting story is that of Karl Crompton from the UK. Crompton was good-looking and so when he won the National Lottery in 1996, he was an instant hit with the paparazzi. And for good reason too – he had managed to hit the ball out of the park for a cool £11 million. He went on a partying and spending spree, buying expensive stuff and throwing wild parties for all. The media was quick to latch on to the story and gave him the moniker ‘Rollover Romeo’.
Binge spending and partying are never a good combination, and this seemed to be another story spiraling towards tragedy, when somehow good sense prevailed. Having spent some of his winnings, he managed to get his act together and invest the rest in good old real estate. That was the trigger for the good times to come calling again. He managed to not only earn back what he lost and more, but also ended up marrying his former classmate, with whom he now lives.
David Ashcroft: The Secret Millionaire
The story of David Ashcroft is worth reading, and many times over. This was a man who didn’t for a second let his new-found wealth and fame get to him. He won the lottery in Britain in 1997, and a pretty packet it was too – all of £12 million. But there are some people who don’t let money affect their nature, and David was one of them.
He kept going as usual, no new fancy stuff to show off his new-found status as the rich kid in the block. He continued on as a furniture restorer; all he bought himself was a truck for work and a Mitsubishi sedan. Other purchases were true to his nature as well – a sedan for his folks and some money spent on repairing his veranda.
And he did something even more staggering as well – he bought himself a Ferrari that he actually gave away to his relatives. All of this earned him the title he is known by – The Secret Millionaire. And no, he hasn’t changed his ways one bit.
Jane Park: The Young and the Restless
Jane Park was the youngest winner of a big lottery ticket in the history of lottery wins. She won the EuroMillions when she was all of 17. And she won pretty big too – a cool £1 million. And Jane did what probably every young girl who won big would do – went on a spending spree.
But things spiraled from there: she received lot of hate from people around and actually went to the extent of hiring personal bodyguards for her protection. She was so impacted by it all that she actually contemplates suing the lottery company for the distress that she had to experience. She has actually publicly gone on record saying that her life would have been much better if she had actually not won.
So Money is Not Always the Answer
These are examples of how having all the money in the world cannot buy you happiness. However, I think many of us are willing to take that risk!
Stories of some of the biggest lottery wins and what happened to the lives of the people who won them. Some of these are feel-good stories
Brad Duke and the lottery
Note: In a recent story about the bad luck that winning the lottery brought some winners, we talked about an exception to the rule, one Brad Duke. Today we take a little closer look at Brad Duke, and see how he has been doing since he won the lottery.
With the PowerBall Lottery reaching above the Billion Dollar mark, there seems to be a great deal of interest in this form of gambling, by an increasingly large number of players. The odds of an individual winning this grand prize have been calculated to be in the range of 1 in 292 million — very slim indeed.
On the other hand, an individual winner would have a very good chance, 6 out of 10, to end up taking bankruptcy within five years. Yet, recently, three individuals, in three states did win the power ball lottery and will split winnings of $1.5 Billion. It goes without saying that every player feels that he/she would be the exception to that statistic of winners going broke, and feels that his/her life would be permanently changed (for the good) if he/she should win. Good Luck!
Anyway, in the midst of the power-ball mania, this seems to be a good time to look again at Brad Duke, a fellow who appears to have the lottery and its consequences figured out, and see how he’s doing today, after winning his “measly” $220 Million jackpot in 2005 — a paltry sum compared to present day jackpots, but never-the-less, enough to change his life forever.
To review Brad Duke’s story: Duke was intrigued by the lottery, from the time he was a small boy, long before he was old enough to participate. Over the years he was a regular player, but never invested large sums. He had devised a system, of sorts, which he never has divulged, for picking his numbers. His aim was always to shoot for the modest prizes — $500, or $1,000, never thinking much about the big purses.
In 2005 Duke was a 33-year old bachelor, a mid-level manager and bicycling instructor in five Idaho gym locations. He earned $60,000 a year and worked 60 hours a week. His ultimate goal was to someday accumulate $1 million in assets. In the meantime, he was pleased with his progress on his career path and his life in general. He certainly did not need great wealth to be happy.
On his way to a bicycle race (his passion) on May 28, 2005, Duke stopped at a convenience store for a few protein bars and water — and he picked up a few lottery tickets, just for the fun of it. He enjoyed his day of racing, but it was a few days later before he bothered to check out his power ball tickets for a possible winner. During that time he fantasized a bit over what he would do if he won $10,000 or $20,000. (Because cycling was so important to him, he had decided that he would buy a really high end mountain bike if he won.)
Duke was pleased, but not overly surprised — he was always basically optimistic — when his winning ticket turned out to represent a prize of some $220 Million. The girls at the quick shop, where he checked his ticket were far more excited to see that winning ticket than was he.
For some days after he had won, Duke kept the news to himself (with just a phone call to his dad). He pondered his good fortune, and made plans for his future. If he was going to do something great he could not go off half-cocked on a spending spree. He was determined not to waste the gift that had been handed him. He knew he needed to keep his feet on the ground. He tried to keep his life just the same. He kept his job. He kept his three year old car. He kept his modest house. He needed time to formulate his plans, and he needed time to grow his fortune.
He decided that he would really like to make a difference to the world with his philanthropy, and to do this he really needed more than the $74 million that he would end up with after paying his taxes on the $220 million. He needed a billion dollars, and to grow his $74 million into that kind of money he needed help. He needed a team of people around him that knew more than he did — about a lot of things. He needed that team to be people he could trust.
Over the next weeks Duke hired a personal assistant, a corporate tax attorney, and a banker, the core of his team of about 20 people — accountants, a publicist, sales people and investment consultants. Said Duke, “You really have to define what is important to you. Then develop a plan around that. Get good people to help you do what you’re not good at doing.” Most of the people of this original team were still with Duke 10 years later. One thing that Duke insisted upon was that his team members attend his 6:30 am cycling class at the gym — both to build comradery among the members, and to improve their fitness level for years to come.
Initially, the bulk of Duke’s $65 million went into a mixture of conservative investments, while he concentrated on managing, then later, promoting bicycle races. He expanded the fitness consulting business that he had begun before that fateful day.
Duke did keep his job — for about 2 Ѕ years, until the distractions became more than he could handle — people were constantly coming to the gym, bringing him new ideas for new products, new projects that just needed a bit of money to really take off. He lost some of his former friends when he refused their pleas and ideas on how he should be spending his money.
His used car, he finally gave to a nephew, and replaced it with a car that was two years older — because it fit his bicycle carrier better. He stayed in his modest home, even though people began camping out on his lawn, hoping to be able to talk with him about their ideas.
He did take his close bicycling buddies on some great trips in the first couple of years, and was able to give family members annual cash gifts in the $12,000 range, but overall, the money he spent on himself and his family was less than $1 Million, while the money he was able to give to charities that he thought were worthwhile (mostly in Idaho) exceeded $2 Million.
Maybe Duke’s largest expenditure for himself has been bicycles. He continues to buy high end mountain bikes for himself (10 plus), and has given bikes to just about every member of his extended family. He still rides his mountain bikes regularly, if not competitively. A bad spill a couple of years ago left him with broken bones. It kept him from riding for an entire season — very difficult for him to take, and he feels more than ever that bikes are a part of his way of life. (Balancing time between the Board Room and the mountain bike trails has been a chore for Duke. He enjoys both and he is constantly learning from both. Both activities take great concentration. (Maybe that is why there are not a lot of multi-millionaire bikers.)
At first Duke attempted to pick out the people who should get his gifts by himself, but he soon found that he was not good at picking the people and causes by himself, after getting burned by people and causes that sounded good, but turned out to be bogus or less than desirable. He was able to solve this problem by setting up the Duke Family Foundation and appointing some of his family members to screen the appeals, and merely consult him on their choices.
In spite of the pitfalls of suddenly having so much money, Duke is pleased with the life his fortune has taken him. He has strong ties with his family, and says that his long-time relationships have never been stronger. He still has his same girl-friend, but he is very very strict about keeping her privacy, and out of the spotlight. Duke has never lost sight of his goal — to grow his fortune to $1 Billion or more in his lifetime, which he feels should keep his charitable work going for years to come.
Duke spends much of his time and energy these days on developing his two main companies. Synergy Fitness Group is his health club consulting company, which he started even before he hit the lottery. The Duke Speed Academy helps kids become better athletes.
By 2016 (most current update) Duke and his team had grown his $65 million prize to over $100 million. This, despite periodic setbacks in the housing market and the stock market, and Brad Duke seems to be right on track to achieve his billion dollar goal, and more. We wish him well, and hope that future lottery winners look to him as their inspiration and do the same.
In an interview Duke said that his real goal in life is to enjoy life and follow the philosophy, “Life is what you make of it.” He didn’t need to win the lottery to live like that.
(Oh, yes, one thing more. Does Duke still play the lottery game? He was asked recently if he had bought a ticket for the $1.5 Billion Power Ball Lottery. His answer, “Of course. How could I not?” — Why not indeed!)
Brad Duke and the lottery Note: In a recent story about the bad luck that winning the lottery brought some winners, we talked about an exception to the rule, one Brad Duke. Today we take a little