Multiple Winners of the Lottery
Winning a major lottery jackpot represents an amazing stroke of good fortune. To defy such imposing odds is a modern-day miracle reserved for only a tiny majority. And while most lottery winners garner generally positive attention, there’s another kind that really stretches one’s patience: the multiple lottery winner. Winning just once is an impossible long-shot, but multiple times? It’s hard to know whether to pat them on their back or punch them in the mouth. In spite of this, we present to you a motley collection of the smuggest people on the planet.
In 2011 former statistics professor, Joan Ginther, made a mockery of odds said to be one in eighteen septillion and won four lottery prizes of at least $2 million. While three came from playing scratch-cards, her first win came courtesy of the Texas state lottery where she scooped $5.4 million. While this was considered by many to be just good luck (she picked numbers matching her birthday) the scratch-card wins came about by way of a method that doesn’t require a PhD. She bought $80,000 worth of them.
Melvyn Wilson really takes the biscuit when it comes to outlandish luck. From November 2004 to March 2005 he won three prizes worth $1,750,000. Two of them came on the Virginia state lottery, one by way of a scratch-card. Just two years later he was at it again, this time on another scratch-card which he purchased at a supermarket. When asked about his infuriating win, Wilson responded with the glib but accurate explanation that ‘you gotta play to win’. He also revealed that his strategy was to buy a ticket everyday apart from Sunday. There we are then.
Mrs Cottingham also won a fortune on scratch-cards. Playing the Hoosier Lottery, she scratched her way to $500,000 in 2008 before cashing in again some five years later with £1 million. Said to be part of an ‘elite’ club in some circles, there are a few other adjectives that spring to mind. In fairness to her though, fortune didn’t seem to change her much – she still works as a bartender in Gibson County, Indiana.
What is it with instant winners? Delma Kinney might be able to tell you. In 2008, the single father of three won $1 million and managed to repeat the feat three years later – his second triumph was just one week short of his birthday. But instead of blowing the lot, he set aside some of his winnings to help fund his children’s college education while also donating to charity. OK, we forgive you Mr Kinney.
David and Kathleen Long
This happy couple won the Euro Millions twice, taking home £1 million each time. They beat odds of 283 billion to one to claim their super-lucky-double-windfall. Although deciding to stay in their static caravan following the first win, after the second jackpot they relented and bought a mansion,presumably to enjoy a very long and happy retirement. Lorry driver David said he had a feeling that he’d win again after the first jackpot. And so it proved!
Dear Mike McDermott managed to win the lottery twice in just four months by matching the same five numbers and the bonus ball. But although he defied odds of 5.4 trillion to one, he only managed prizes of £194,501 and £121,157. While his winnings are certainly better than a kick in the teeth, beating such comical odds surely deserves a bigger pay-out? You have our sympathies, Mr McDermott.
Lorry driver, Stuart Powell was more than content with the £55,000 he won off the Euro Millions lottery in 2011. He was positively ecstatic when he won another £1 million four years later. The first win came on his birthday and he decided to give all of it to his children. So it’s quite poetic that he got another handsome jackpot to spend. At the time of his second win, Powell again said that he’d give his winnings to his kids. And we don’t doubt him.
Robert McPhail is a huge fan of the 6/47 lottery, what with his TWO jackpots. He won his first in 1992, cashing in $571,157 as part of a syndicate. The lucky gentlemen then took 22 years to repeat his trick but it was worth the wait. The second time around he took home a guaranteed prize of $1 million after buying a ticket as an afterthought.
Ever thought what it’s like to win the lottery seven times? Well, Richard Lustig has done just that. Starting in 1993 with a $10,000 win, he followed this up with $13,696 in 1997, a £3,595 holiday in 2000, another holiday worth $4,966 the following year, $842,153 the year after that and $73,658 six years later. Oh and in 2010 he bagged $98,992. Presumably Mr Lustig stopped playing because he hasn’t won anything since, poor guy. Perhaps he’s been too busy writing best-selling books about the ‘systems’ he uses to game the lottery.
Norwegian teenager Tord Oksnes hit the jackpot in 2012 with a handy windfall of around 12.2 million kroner (£1.3million). Although not a headline-grabber at first glance, it transpired that Oksnes was the third member of his family to win it big on the Norwegian National Lottery. Just three years previously, his sister walked away with 8.2 million kroner (£880,000). And three years before that, his father pocketed 8.4 million kroner (£880,000).
Jane and Alan Slater
This couple discovered they’d won £300,000 when one of their dogs (yes really) discovered a second winning ticket for the same draw. The Slaters were already in something of a kerfuffle over their first £150,000, when Ruby the Labrador sniffed out the other ticket, which had been tucked away in a catalogue. Despite being candidates for a completely different post, [lottery winners who lost the ticket] the happy couple used some of their winnings to buy their trusty mutt a top-of-the-range caravan, a mock-Tudor mansion and a smoking jacket for after-dinner drinks. (We made that last bit up).
Calvin and Zatera Spencer
The Spencers raise an interesting question about lottery winners: do you keep playing even after you’ve won? Well the Spencers said they’d do just that, despite scooping two prizes of $1 million as well as an extra $600,000 for good measure. They managed all this in the space of just four weeks, striking it lucky on Powerball and the Virginia State Lottery’s Pick-4 game. After claiming his winnings, Calvin Spencer asserted that they weren’t ‘finished yet’.
They don’t make them like Stefan Mandel anymore, which is probably just as well because most lottery operators would go out of business. Maths genius Mandel was already a twelve-time lottery winner who tried his luck on the Virginia state lottery and, uh, won again. With the help of an Australian syndicate he purchased every possible number combination (7.1 million) and flew the tickets to the US at the cost of $60,000. And because the Virginia lottery had rolled over to around $28 million he was quids-in. As expected he won first, second and third prizes. He now lives on his own tropical island somewhere in the South Pacific.