There are millions of people who play the lottery every week without ever winning one of the big prizes associated with the game being played. For many, they forget that they’re even playing the lottery until they spot that their Direct Debit has gone out of their bank account. It is something that many will play out of habit and irrational fear of missing out if they stop, rather than because they’re all that convinced that they’ve actually got a chance of winning the millions of pounds that make it such an attractive thing to play in the first place; done in hope more than expectation.
To rub salt into the wounds, there are stories of some people that hit the jackpot on their first time of playing. Having never bought a ticket before and avoided falling into the trap of buying them regularly, these people manage to hit it big with their first ever ticket and therefore never need to buy any others again. It is also important to point out that we’re not talking about people who have won £10 or got a Lucky Dip for a future draw; this is looking at those that have won at least £1 million. As it happens, many of them have won at least $1 million dollars, given their location.
The Teenage EuroMillions Winner
In 2013, Jane Park was 17-years-old. At the time, it was legal to play the lottery at that age, so she decided to buy her first ever lottery ticket on the EuroMillions. The Edinburgh native struck lucky, winning the UK Millionaire Make prize and being able to take home £1 million in prize money. Not ‘knowing the value of £1 million’, Park admits that she ‘splashed out’ in the months that followed. Not only did she go on lavish holidays and buy herself cars, she also had a number of different plastic surgeries, including two ‘bum lifts’ after the first one didn’t work and gave her sepsis.
It took a member of her family to tell her that she needed to start thinking about the future, not least because she bought boyfriends expensive watches and other presents. Speaking as a 27-year-old, Parks admitted that winning the lottery wasn’t all that it cracked up to be, even going so far as to wish that she’d never won it. Having been stalked, sent death threats and seen comments made about everything that she did, Parks said, “I wish I’d never won it, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It’s a very dark fairy tale that I think no one actually warns you about.”
Biggest Ever EuroMillions Win
Winning the biggest prize on the lottery is a dream come true for many people. Winning millions of pounds is unquestionably life-changing, allowing you to do pretty much whatever you want for the rest of your life. Imagine, then, what it must be like to not only win, but to win the biggest ever prize that that particular lottery had offered at the time. That is precisely what happened to a young woman from French Polynesia, who bought her first ever EuroMillions ticket and hit the big time as a result. Her grandfather had played every week, but she had resisted.
She told her grandfather that she would be ‘lucky the day I play’ and it is fair to say that her luck came in in spectacular style. She bought her ticket when the EuroMillions had reached its maximum amount for a jackpot, bagging €220 million when he numbers game in on the 15th of October, 2021. Speaking after the fact, she said, “I feel like travelling the world with my family and discovering the snow that I’ve never seen before.” She also declared that she planned to buy a home on every continent and to invest money, as well as donate some of it to charity.
Washington Woman Wins $90 Million
When it comes to American lotteries, it is fair to say that things can be a bit bigger than they can in the United Kingdom. The manner in which people play across state and prizes rollover when they go unwon means that the jackpot regularly hits the sort of heights that they rarely do in the UK. Whilst Lisa Quam didn’t hit a record amount or anything, what she did do was claim a $90 million prize having never bought a Powerball ticket before. She bought her ticket in a grocery store to the south of Auburn to the south of Seattle, ending up with the winning numbers.
Speaking at a news conference, Quam said, “Sent out an email to my co-workers and friends at work this morning and told them what a pleasure it was to work with them and to check the news today, and they’ll come to an understanding of why I am writing this note.” It was Thanksgiving Day when she bought the ticket, posting it to her fridge to check a couple of days later. She was offered the ability to claim a lump sum of around $56.8 million or an annuity of 30 payments. When asked about her plans, she said, “We have student loans just like every family, house repairs. Maybe we’ll buy a house for one of the kids.”
Charlie Lagarde Faced with Difficult Decision
When Charlie Lagarde turned 18, she decided to go out and buy her first ever scratch card. Whilst that isn’t the sort of thing that parents are likely to encourage their children to do on a regular basis, the 18-year-old’s folks won’t have minded too much when she returned home and informed them that she’d won. She was offered the choice of either taking a lump sum of C$1 million, which was the equivalent of about £550,000, or being paid C$1,000 per week for the test of her life. The latter was tax free, which ended up being the choice that she made on the offer.
By making that choice, Legarde effectively secured money coming in to her each week. In terms of the maths, it was the right choice to make when you consider that it would take a little over 19 years for her to have accumulated the C$1 million she was offered. Depending on how long she lived, she could end up being paid as much as C$3 million, were she to live into her 80s. For the designed of the game, it was pure bad fortune that the winner was so young in terms of the long-term payout. For some, taking the million seemed the more sensible choice, for a first-time player to win such a huge amount is good fortune whichever choice she’d made.
Canadian Wins Millions
Perhaps there’s something lucky in the water in Canada and that helps to explain why Charlie Lagarde isn’t the only first-time winner in the North American country. Tina Ferrone also got lucky when buying her first ever Lotto Max ticket ‘on a whim’. The Ottawa women will have been forgiven for thinking that she was due a bit of luck, given the fact that her husband was undergoing chemotherapy and stem cell treatment for cancer at the time. Having bought the ticket, she checked it against the results at a Shopper’s Drug Mart in the neighbourhood of Kanata.
Initially, Ferrone was over the moon when she thought that she’d won C$48,000. When she called to confirm the prize, that was when she discovered that she’d actually won C$48 million and handed the phone to her husband as she ‘hyperventilated’. Her husband, Liam, said, “It’s been a long road, we didn’t expect to get something like this,” he said. “After all the dips we get a big boost.” Ferrone herself admitted that she ‘couldn’t process what was happening’ when she was told about the prize money, which is understandable for someone who had never played before.
The Canadian on Vacation
It is maybe slightly unfair to refer to Michelle Faysal as a first-time lottery player, given the fact that she had played the lottery numerous times in Canada. One thing she’d never done, though, was play the MegaMillions in the United States of America. When on holiday in the States with her husband, Faysal decided to buy a ticket for the MegaMillions after the store clerk had explained the rules of the game to her. The draw was made on the 18th of July and she checked her ticket, which she had bought after the pair had stopped at a BP gas station in Michigan on their way to visit friends.
The five Easy Pick tickets that she’d bought were just what the doctor ordered, given the fact that she’d won $1 million thanks to the numbers 08, 12, 23, 51 and 73 on one of them. Having visited the lottery headquarters in order to claim her prize, Faysal said that she planned to pay some bills that the couple had wracked up, give some money to family and save the rest. The one thing that isn’t mentioned but you can be pretty certain of is that the pair will very much remember their holiday forever, loving Michigan for everything that happened to them in the state.
Juliette Lamour Wins $48 Million
It is important to point out that not everyone who plays the lottery wins on their first try, but it certainly feels like that might be the case when you read some of the stories on this page. Juliette Lamour can be added to the list of people to demonstrate remarkable beginner’s luck, having never bought a lottery ticket prior to the one that she bought at the start of 2023. She did so after having been encouraged to by her grandfather, who thought that it might be a ‘fun’ thing for her to do. She was at work when she found out about the win, with her boss telling her to go home.
Her mum, on the other hand, wanted her to finish her shift, presumably in order to get a work ethic into her that she might lose after willing $48 million on the lottery. When talking about what she planned to do with her winnings, however, Lamour said that she planed to go to medical school in order to fulfil her dream of becoming a doctor. Whether she would throw down her stethoscope and storm out when someone annoyed her, shouting “I’ve won $48 million, I don’t need this crap” isn’t clear. All we do know is that she’s won enough money with her first ever lottery ticket to not be too worried about her future.
Skylar Uhren Nearly Didn’t Buy Winning Ticket
Twenty-three-year-old Skylar Uhren of Blair County, Pennsylvania, was in the shop with the hope of buying some scratch cards. Her friends encouraged her to buy a ticket for the Powerball lottery, if for no other reason than it was a record amount that was up for grabs at the time. The draw, which took place on the 28th of November 2012, wasn’t one that she won outright. Instead, she was one of three people in Pennsylvania that won a second-tier prize in the lottery, which amounted to a prize of $1 million. Not bad considering she didn’t want to play it in the first place.
Speaking after the fact, she said, “I really didn’t want to waste my money.” She was using Facebook when she noticed that a friend had posted the winning numbers and that they matched some of the ones that she had. A friend said, “Good things happen to good people.” She had no immediate plans of what to do with her winnings, but admitted that she was hoping to look for some investment opportunities if they came up. Given the amount that she had to play with, it is fair to say that she’d be able to spend some on fun and invest the rest, all for a first-time player.