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  • Aren’t you glad you haven’t won a million?

    Two resident of the U.S. were fortunate to win the top prize in the Power ball jackpot recently. The winners – one in Arizona and another in Missouri – will share an estimated $385 million after taxes if they opt to take the prize as a lump sum, or the $587.5 million can be paid out to them as annuities over three decades, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association.

    The popular lottery – which is played in 42 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands – had not had a winner for two months. The pot grew by about $263 million to $587.5 million sparking a national frenzy to buy tickets.
    Although jackpots in Canada are not as high as mega millions in the U.S., every week millions of dollars are up for grabs in various lotteries in Canada. We all of dream of winning the mega bucks, escaping the rat race to earn a living, play golf all day, pay up the mortgage, buy a new car and take a cruise with the whole family. Everyone has different views about how to spend their winnings.

    One winner in Orillia, Ontario, who won $25 million Lotto Max announced that he wanted to return to his job work at a steel manufacturing company, while his wife will return to her engineering company job. “When you’re dreaming about it, you think ‘How would I react?’ and ‘How does that feel?’ and you really don’t know how it’s going to feel until it happens,” she said, adding that some money will go to their four favourite charities. How can you forget worthwhile charities at a time like this?

    It is very common for a group of people, usually working in an office or factory, to buy lottery tickets as a group every week and share the prize. Office colleagues would contribute a set amount of money every week to buy the ticket.

    Lotteries also provide a lot of stories of greed, theft and animosity between friends, colleagues and even spouses. Among the most notorious was when someone won the $30 million jackpot in May of 2003. No one claimed it till 12 days before the ticket expired. Legally, you have a year to claim the winnings. The winner showed up on April 10, 2004, claiming, “Due to the magnitude of it, I just wanted to make sure that I did everything right, and try to remain calm about it.”
    The story was innocent enough until it was discovered the man was married at the time of purchasing his winning ticket. When he claimed his prize he was divorced. He kept his winnings a secret from then wife (and soon to be ex.) The wife eventually took him to court seeking half of his lottery winnings. After years of the on-again, off-again intervals, the couple’s dirty laundry was aired publicly. They have since reached an agreement, although the terms have not been disclosed.

    In another equally bizarre story, a $12.5-million lottery ticket was stolen from its rightful owners. In this case, CBC’s – the Fifth Estate – learned exclusive details about how the rightful owners of the ticket were kept away from claiming their winnings by an insider who allegedly stole the ticket. The mystery was solved seven years after the original 2003 purchase. Seven friends who worked together at a construction company in southern Ontario finally received their money on Jan. 27, 2011, concluding a high-profile, years-long saga. The list of sad story of lottery winners continues.

    Not all lottery winners know how to invest or keep their funds intelligently. Lottery winners have gone broke due to gambling or drug addiction or leading an extravagant life. Are we lucky we haven’t won the millions?