Many people don’t play the lottery because they don’t believe they have any chance of winning the jackpot. But if you play often you can increase your chances of winning. To give you inspiration I’ve created an article about the most famous lottery winners from around the world.
These winners won millions of dollars. Was it by chance or did they work on a strategy to win? I’d like to go in-depth on some of these lottery players to see how the lottery changed their lives. After this article, you may want to start playing the lottery frequently so you too can increase your chances of becoming a famous winner.
- 1. Richard Lustig
- 2. Mavis Wanczyk
- 3. Stefan Mandel
- 4. Marie Holmes
- 5. Bill Morgan
- 6. Lerynne West
- 7. Shane Missler
- 8. Colin and Christine Weir
- 9. Gloria Mackenzie
- 10. Manuel Franco
- 11. Robert Bailey
- 12. Ira Curry
- 13. Steve Tran
- 14. Neil Trotter
- 15. Marvin and Mae Acosta
- 16. Lisa and John Robinson
- 17. David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith
- 18. James and Bob Stocklas
- 19. Gillian and Adrian Bayford
- 20. Callie Rogers and Tracey Maki
- 21. Cindy and Mark Hill
- 22. Merle and Patricia Butler
- 23. Frances and Patrick Connolly
- 24. Dave and Angela Dawes
- 25. Ocean’s 16
- Lottery Winners Who Lost It All
- What Happens to Lottery Winners?
- In short; Record-breaking Jackpots
- Our Final Thoughts
Here are some of the most famous lottery winners and their amazing stories, learn about how the lotto changed their lives, and where they are today.
1. Richard Lustig
Richard Lustig is a famous lottery player that hasn’t won a jackpot of over a million dollars. However, he has won several lotteries that accumulated at least $1.5 million excluding taxes. Lustig won his first lottery in 1993 and won several state-sponsored lotteries after that until 2010.
Here’s a timeline of Lustig’s winnings:
- He won $10,000 in Jan 1993 from a scratch-off ticket
- Won $13,696.03 on Aug 1997 from the Florida Fantasy 5
- Wheel of Fortune Holiday trip to Los Angeles in June 2000 to the value of $3,594.66 and a scratch-off ticket “2nd chance drawing”
- Elvis Holiday trip to Memphis in Oct 2001 to the value of $4,966 and scratch-off ticket “2nd chance drawing”
- Won $842,152.91 in Jan 2002 from the Florida Mega Money lottery
- Won $73,658.06 on Nov 25th 2008 from the Florida Fantasy 5 lottery
- Won $98,992.92 on Aug 9th 2010 from the Florida Fantasy 5 lottery
His experience inspired him to write and publish his own book called Learn How To Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery. This book inspired millions of people to start playing the lottery. Unfortunately, Richard Lustig passed away in 2018
2. Mavis Wanczyk
In 2017 Mavis Wanczyk was the lucky winner of $758 million dollars. She played the US Powerball and became the second biggest US Powerball winner. She was the only ticket holder for the jackpot prize so she took away $336,350,655 after she was taxed.
Mavis bought her ticket four days before the US Powerball draw. After the draw, she was told by a friend that she had won the lottery. When she received her winnings Mavis quit her job at the Mercy Medical Center where she was an employee for 32 years.
She currently lives in a two-bedroom apartment in Massachusetts.
3. Stefan Mandel
Stefan Mandel is a Romanian mathematician and is another famous lottery player who won the lottery 14 times! Mandel simply purchased all lottery combinations every time he wanted to play. He has an interesting history of outsmarting the lottery using his formula.
In 1992 Stefan and his team purchased 6 million tickets from the Virginia Lottery and won a $27 million jackpot and prizes from some of the other tiers. This gave him a total of $30 million. That was only one of the lotteries he played.
The famous lottery winner has since retired from his winning streak with the lottery and stays in a beach house in Vanuatu.
4. Marie Holmes
Marie Holmes is another big time winner of the US Powerball. She won a massive jackpot of $188 million. Before winning the lottery Marie worked in the hospitality industry in restaurants and supermarkets. She’s also one of the largest jackpot winners in North Carolina history.
With her winnings, she bought her mother a house and donated some of her winnings to a church.
Currently, Marie is going through a lawsuit as her ex fiance has sued her. He claims that Holmes gave away some of his personal possessions. She currently lives in an undisclosed location with her children.
5. Bill Morgan
Bill Morgan’s year didn’t start off well in 1998. He had a car accident and then suffered a major heart attack and was clinically dead for 14 minutes and then revived. Bill was in a coma for two weeks but then he woke up and made a miraculous recovery.
Morgan’s luck soon began to change. A year after his ordeal, Bill scratched a lottery ticket and won a brand new car worth $17,000. A TV broadcasting station was interested in his story and wanted to interview him. They asked him to reenact the day he scratched his ticket. Bill agreed, and as the cameras were rolling he scratched his card and won $250,000 (Australian dollars).
Bill continued to scratch cards but hasn’t won any more prizes. He decided to give up scratching cards and now lives happily in Australia with his wife.
6. Lerynne West
Lerynne West was living in Dexter, Iowa when she won a whopping $343.9 million from the US Powerball. Before winning the lottery, West supported her daughters by working during the day and attending school in the evenings. When she had extra money she would play the lottery.
When she played the US Powerball in 2018, West almost lost her chance of getting her jackpot. She couldn’t find her lottery ticket in her purse but fortunately her sister had the ticket. She entered the numbers she had into the lottery website and low and behold she had the winning numbers!
West chose to get her payout in one lump sum but was determined to spend her winnings responsibly. She stated that she would do good with her winnings and set money aside to send her grandchildren to college. She also founded a charity and focuses her time on organizations that assist with child education, animals and veterans.
7. Shane Missler
Shane Missler was only 20 years old when he won the MegaMillions jackpot in 2018. He simply bought seven quick pick lottery tickets and one of them had all six winning numbers. Shane then became the sole winner of the $451 million MegaMillions jackpot and was the sixth biggest winner from this lottery. Missier went for the lump sum option and cleared about $282 million after taxes.
On the other hand, Missier wanted fame and was eager to tell everyone about his new fortune. Going public with his win attracted plenty of scammers on Twitter who created fake accounts saying that Shane was giving away some of his fortune.
Shane is quite active on Twitter and Instagram where you can witness his new adventures as a millionaire as he travels and hangs out with sports celebrities.
8. Colin and Christine Weir
Colin and Christine Weir found out about the large EuroMillions jackpot of £161.6 million and decided to buy five Lucky Dips (quick picks). Sure enough the Weirs were the winners of the biggest jackpot in EuroMillions history. The couple went public with their win to avoid hiding the news from loved ones.
Colin and Christine used their winnings to purchase their two children a house and car each. They then spent money on renovating their home. The couple also created a charity called The Weir Charitable Trust to give back to their community.
Unfortunately, the couple got divorced in May 2019 but separated amicably. Colin passed away at the age of 71 in December 2019 and Christine currently lives in a beach house in an undisclosed location.
9. Gloria Mackenzie
Gloria Mackenzie was 83 years old when she became one of the biggest lottery winners in US history. She took home $278 million after taxes from a $590 million US Powerball jackpot. She only bought one lottery ticket at a supermarket back in 2013 and that ticket had the winning numbers.
Only five years later Gloria filed a lawsuit against her Son Scott Mackenzie who was her caretaker and had control over her fortune. Her son and his investment manager lived off of Gloria’s winnings and managed the money poorly.
There are no reports on whether the lawsuit was settled and if Gloria won her case. However, she currently lives in Pennsylvania and Scott bought another home worth $1.2 million.
10. Manuel Franco
Manual Franco was 24 years old in 2019 when he won $768.4 million from the US Powerball. He won the third largest lottery amount in US history. All Manual did was buy $10 worth of Powerball tickets and one of the tickets had the winning numbers.
Franco purchased his first lottery ticket when he was 18 years old and has been playing ever since.
He accepted the lump sum from US Powerball and received $326 million after taxes. Unfortunately, Manual, like many other lottery winners, has experienced problems with scammers claiming to be him to gain people’s personal details online.
On the other hand, Manual stated that he doesn’t know what the future holds but would like to use his fortune for good.
11. Robert Bailey
Robert Bailey played the same lottery numbers for 25 years. Those same lottery numbers won him $343.9 million in 2018. It was the largest jackpot win in New York Lottery history. Bailey was 67 years old at the time and a retired postal worker.
He split the winnings with another winner and decided to take the lump sum payout that granted him $125,396,690 after taxes. There hasn’t been any news reports on how Robert is spending his fortune but I bet he is living a comfortable life.
12. Ira Curry
Ira Curry won her MegaMillions jackpot back in 2012 and was 57 at the time. She was one of two winners of the $648 million jackpot and got a prize of $120 million after taxes. Some lotteries don’t allow you to anonymously claim your prize so Ira and her family moved from the Bronx to an undisclosed location to avoid unwanted attention.
Curry bought her ticket at a Gateway Newsstand in the Alliance Center building which is a financial center in Atlanta. While driving she heard the announcement for the winning lottery numbers on the radio. She then called her sister to confirm the numbers and then made her way to the lottery headquarters to claim her prize. Ira currently stays out of the limelight to avoid scammers.
13. Steve Tran
Steve Tran was one of two winners of the MegaMillions $636 million jackpot in December 2013. He came forward 16 days after the draw to claim his prize. At the time, Steve was a delivery driver in California. He heard about a report that one of the winning lottery tickets was purchased in a gift shop where he stayed.
He remembered purchasing the ticket from the shop in his area and scrambled to find his ticket. Sure enough, Steve had the winning numbers. After claiming his prize he called his boss to quit his job. Tran became $324 million richer after taxes. I hope that Tran is spending his fortune wisely.
14. Neil Trotter
Neil Trotter was a Mechanic living in Surrey when he won his £107,932,603 EuroMillions jackpot back in 2014. He stated that he knew he’d be a millionaire one day and would often talk about buying a house by a lake.
After winning the lottery Neil bought a Jaguar and Porsche. He also stated that winning the lottery allowed him to start racing cars again. He also stayed true to his original dream and bought his mansion on the lake.
15. Marvin and Mae Acosta
Marvin and Mae Acosta won their US Powerball jackpot in January 2013. But they didn’t claim their $327 million prize straight away. The couple waited six months before approaching the lottery headquarters. They wanted to assemble a team of financial advisors before claiming their prize.
The couple set up a charity after winning the jackpot but didn’t specify where and how much they invested. They thanked everyone involved for their winnings but stated that they didn’t want to become public figures and asked that their privacy be respected.
16. Lisa and John Robinson
Lisa and John bought four lottery tickets at their local supermarket in Tennessee and used a computer to generate their numbers for them. The couple became one of three winners of a large $1.6 billion US Powerball jackpot. They got a share of $533 million before taxes.
John and Lisa were determined to live their lives as they always had after winning the jackpot. However, the couple decided to spend some of their money on themselves and bought a mansion away from their small town where they lived before.
17. David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith
David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith are another lucky couple that were one of the winners of a large $1.6 billion US Powerball jackpot. They took their share of $328million after taxes. However, the couple haven’t changed much about their lives. They still live in their $300,000 house and eat at the same restaurants.
The only large purchase they made is an SUV and a Tesla vehicle. But other than that, the couple still lives modestly. Other people around the couple’s town have also stated that they still play the lottery.
18. James and Bob Stocklas
Ben and James Stockles are brothers that won money from the US Powerball on the same day. The brothers bought their lottery tickets on their way home from the beach. James won $291 million while his brother, Ben only won $7. After the draw, James was at his favorite restaurant eating breakfast when he decided to check the lottery results and then realized he’d won the jackpot,
James called his family immediately to tell them the good news. He also celebrated by buying everyone in the restaurant breakfast. He then spent $20,000 to take his brother and a few friends with him on a flight to claim his prize.
After winning James gave some of his winnings to his long time friends Anne and Barry Bartakovitz. He also helped his brother Bob financially and had plans to donate money to various charities.
19. Gillian and Adrian Bayford
Adrian and Gillian Bayford lived in Suffolk when they won their €190 million EuroMillions jackpot. With their winnings the couple bought lavish cars and mansions. Unfortunately, the couple divorced a year later after winning the jackpot and decided to split the winnings.
Gillian then bought property from her ex-husband, Adriand for £1.2million back in 2017. Adrian then moved to an undisclosed location so that he could start a fresh new life. Gillian had a baby at 48 years old and still lives in the lap of luxury with her large jackpot win.
20. Callie Rogers and Tracey Maki
Two girls made the news in the UK when they became the youngest people to win the jackpot. While both Callie Rogers and Tracey Maki were both 16 when they won the lottery they both have different stories.
Callie purchased her ticket while she was in foster care and became £1,875,000 richer. She spent most of her money on clothes and makeup and took a trip to Mexico and Paris. Unfortunately winning so much money at a young age came at a price. She didn’t handle her finances well and developed a cocaine addiction. However, Callie mended her ways and is now a mother to three children.
On the other hand, Tracey played the Lucky Dip that randomized her numbers. Those numbers won her £1,055,171. Tracey invested most of her winnings so she could generate a profit.
21. Cindy and Mark Hill
After Mark and Cindy Hill won $136.5 million after taxes from the US Powerball they decided to do something unexpected with their winnings. The couple could have bought mansions and luxury cars but instead they purchased a sewage treatment plant.
The couple decided they wanted to do something for their community instead. At the time they wanted to build a new fire station in their hometown of Camden Point, Missouri. They also donated money to North Platte High School in Dearborn where they both attended high school.
Mark and Cindy still live modestly and meet up with their friends regularly for coffee. The Hills donate their money to civic projects rather than buying luxuries for themselves.
22. Merle and Patricia Butler
Merle and Patricia Butler spent a mere $3 on buying lottery tickets and won their share of $218million from the MegaMillions jackpot. The couple first spent time developing a team of financial advisors before coming forward to collect their prize. The couple decided to take a lump sum payment of $158million which they received after taxes.
The couple has since tried to stay out of the public eye as there were many scammers online that claimed to be the couple.
23. Frances and Patrick Connolly
Patrick and Frances Connolly won £114,969,775.70 in 2019 and became the fourth biggest EuroMillions winners in history. After winning the jackpot the couple announced the first thing they wanted to do was make a list of all the people they wanted to give money to.
The couple also stated that they wanted to buy a car and maybe take a trip to Mauritius. Since winning the jackpot Frances and Patrick have given half of their fortune away to charities and over 170 families in need.
24. Dave and Angela Dawes
Dave and Angela Dawes won £101,203,600 from the EuroMillions jackpot back in October 2011. The couple didn’t hesitate to give some of their fortune away. They gave £1 million each to 20 of their closest friends. The Dawes also developed charities to give back to their communities.
Angela and Dave also spent a bit of well deserved cash on themselves by purchasing a large mansion in Sussex. Unfortunately, they also fought a lawsuit from their own son Michael who claimed he was cut out of Dave’s will. Michael didn’t win the case.
25. Ocean’s 16
In August 2013 a power group called Ocean’s 16 won their share of the US Powerball jackpot. Each member received $3.8 million after taxes and they all had different plans to spend their cash.
Winning the lottery was a blessing for this group as most of them were victims of Superstorm Sandy.
Lottery Winners Who Lost It All
Not all lottery winners know how to handle such a large sum of money. In this case some big time lottery winners lost all their winnings. Here are the top three winners who lost their fortunes.
1. Jack Whittaker
Jack Whittaker wasn’t struggling financially when he won the lottery as he was a successful businessman. Back in 2002, Whittaker won the $315 million US Powerball jackpot. To some, winning this amount of money is a blessing but to Jack it simply caused trouble in his life.
After winning his jackpot, Jack’s home was broken into twice. He was also sued multiple times by women claiming that Jack assaulted them. His granddaughter also died from a drug overdose as she was using the money Jack gave her to purchase the drugs.
Sadly Jack passed away in 2020.
2. Michael Carroll
Michael Carroll was a former binman before he became the youngest jackpot winner of the UK National Lottery. He won £9,736,131 in 2002. He was only 19 years old at the time and enjoyed celebrity status for a time after winning.
Carroll wasted most of his fortune on drugs and women and in just four years he had spent his entire fortune. After spending his fortune Michael went back to being a binman but also claims that he doesn’t regret spending his fortune.
3. Kay and Martyn Tott
Kay and Martyn Tott didn’t have the opportunity to win a fortune in order to lose it. The couple found out they had the winning numbers in 2001 which could have earned them £3 million. Unfortunately, the couple couldn’t find their lottery ticket to claim their prize.
The rules were absolute. The couple had to walk away empty handed.
What Happens to Lottery Winners?
There are many stories of people who’ve won the lottery that either lose their fortune or die from drug overdoses. Others spend their fortune on fighting legal battles from people who try to sue them for petty reasons in order to gain money. A study also showed that 70% of people who suddenly become rich will lose their fortune within a few years.
On the other hand, there have been plenty of lottery winners who have retained their fortune by investing their money or starting up their own businesses. It simply depends on whether the person is financially responsible with their money and spends it wisely.
In short; Record-breaking Jackpots
Here are record-breaking jackpots from the biggest lotteries around the world:
|Jackpot Amount||Date of drawing||Winner (s)||Location|
|1.||$1.58 Billion||January 13, 2016||Marvin and Mae Acosta
John and Lisa Robinson
Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt
|2.||$758.7 Million||August 27, 2017||Mavis Wanczyk||Massachusetts|
|3.||$768.4 Million||March 27, 2019||Manuel Franco||Wisconsin|
|4.||$590.5 Million||May 18, 2013||Gloria McKenzie||Florida|
|5.||$687.8 Million||October 27, 2018||Robert Bailey
|Jackpot Amount||Date of Drawing||Winner(s)||Location|
|1.||$648 Million||December 17, 2013||Steve Tran
|2.||$1.53 Billion||October 23, 2018||Anonymous||South Carolina|
|3.||$656 Million||March 30, 2012||The Three Amigos
Patricia and Merle Butler
|4.||$536 Million||July 8, 2016||Anonymous||Indiana|
|5.||$543 Million||July 24, 2018||Group of 11 coworkers||California|
|Jackpot Amount||Date of Drawing||Winner(s)||Location|
|1.||€190 Million||October 24, 2014||Anonymous||Portugal|
|2.||€190 Million||October 8, 2019||Anonymous||UK|
|3.||€190 Million||August 10, 2012||Gillian and Adrian Bayford||UK|
|4.||€187 Million||June 7, 2013||Two Anonymous winners||Belgium
|5.||€190 Million||October 6, 2017||Anonymous||Spain|
Who is the richest lottery winner?
In 2018 a person living in South Carolina who chose to remain anonymous won $1.537 billion in the MegaMillions lottery. This jackpot amount remains the largest sum of money ever won in a lottery.
How many lottery winners are still rich?
There are 10 lottery winners who are still rich which includes Ricard Lustig and Lerynne West, and Lisa and John Robinson.
Has a rich person ever won the lottery?
Yes, a rich person has won the lottery. It was Jack Whittaker that won $315 million from the US Powerball jackpot. He was an American businessman in the construction industry so he was quite wealthy even before winning the lottery.
Our Final Thoughts
As you can see there have been plenty of lottery winners throughout US Powerball, MegaMillions and EuroMillions history. Some people used strategies to earn their winnings and others were simply lucky to win their large jackpots.
You can win the lottery too if you purchase tickets every week whether you choose a quick pick option or you select your own numbers. If you do become a winner of a large jackpot make sure you get a team of financial advisors to assist you.
The only way to increase your odds of winning the lottery is to play the game. Who knows, you could be a lucky winner one day just like the people in this article.