Playing the lottery is downright exciting. The dream of becoming an overnight millionaire, the thrill of the chase, and the possibility of changing one’s life with the purchase of a $2 ticket is not only fun, it’s enough to motivate half of the U.S. adult population to play the lottery at least once a year. In addition to the inherent excitement, there are typically a few lottery success stories a year that are impressive enough to pique the interest of even the biggest lottery naysayer. We’ve rounded up a collection of a few of the lottery’s most newsworthy moments. Enjoy!
1. The Largest Jackpot Won On A Single Ticket
If you play the lottery, chances are good you heard about this recent lottery win! Mavis Wanczyk was a clerical worker in the nursing department of a Massachusetts hospital who made waves in the press with her huge win. Not only is her prize the largest jackpot won by a single player, it remains the second largest U.S. lottery prize! After realizing she’d won, she promptly called her job to tell them she would not be coming back. Wanczyk opted to take the lump sum payment of $480 million, before taxes, making her richer than Beyonce.
2. New Hampshire Woman Goes To Court – And Earns The Right – To Maintain Her Anonymity
A New Hampshire woman, now nicknamed “Jane Dough,” sued for her right to anonymity after winning the lottery and signing her name on the back of the winning ticket. According to standard Right to Know laws, the front and back of winning lottery tickets are considered public documents in order to ensure transparency and authenticity in the lottery process. The winner went to court to defend her identity in an effort to maintain her safety and a normal lifestyle. In his ruling, Judge Charles Temple stated, “The Court has no doubts whatsoever that should Ms. Doe’s identity be revealed, she will be subject to an alarming amount of harassment, solicitation and unwanted communications.” To prove that she was a “bona fide lottery participant” and “real winner,” the judge resolved to reveal the winner’s hometown of Merrimack, New Hampshire, access to the front of the ticket displaying the winning numbers, the date of any claim, and the total prize amount.
3. Coworkers In Las Vegas Finally Win It Big
It’s common for coworkers to form an office lottery pool and, if you weren’t a believer in lottery pools before, this should change your mind. A group of 22 coworkers from the Las Vegas Paving Corporation landed a $2 million payday after years of playing together on a monthly basis. After taxes, each player walked away with $68,000. The group doesn’t think their luck has dried up yet – they plan to continue playing with the hope of winning again. We love to see people #wintogether!
4. The Couple Who Donated Nearly All Of Their Winnings
Allen and Violet Large, a Canadian couple, truly won large in 2010 – and then gave almost all of it away. The couple, already in their 70s at the time of winning, proved how much good is still in the world. They determined that others needed the money more than they did and so, after ensuring that their family was financially squared away, gave almost all of their $11.2 million prize money away to hospitals and charitable organizations.
5. The $1.6 Billion Powerball Jackpot
Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history! The record-shattering January 13, 2016 jackpot was split between three winning tickets: Maureen Smith of Florida, John and Lisa Robinson of Tennessee, and Mae and Marvin Acosta of California. Maureen Smith and the Robinsons chose to go public with their story, while the Acostas declined speaking to the press and spent six quiet months putting together a team of advisers before collecting their money. Each winning ticket earned an impressive $528.8 million for the respective owners.