Winning the Lottery: A Blessing or Curse?

“Whether we win $500 million or $1 million, about 70 percent of us lose or spend all our money in five years or less”. Reader’s Digest

A sobering comment which does put into some perspective the future outcome of those who are fortunate enough, or not, to win a large sum of money. Of course, there are those who win big jackpots at the casino or those professional athletes whose contract can be considered winning the lottery. But for this article we will just focus on those winners from state lotteries in the US. These wins seem to represent the largest windfall and are sometime difficult to comprehend.

What are the largest lottery payouts in the US?

We have all thought about winning the Powerball lottery ($1.6 billion on January 13, 2016) which was paid out to 3 winners, each receiving $328 million for the cash value. The largest single winning amount was $758 million with a cash value of $480 million. The term “cash value” is the lump sum which the winners can take instead of payouts over many years. There are a few reasons for this, especially if you are older and would rather have the money now, as well as the inability to will the winnings in case of an early death.

Its human nature to want something for nothing, especially when it could free us from the chains of working for “the man”. But what happens if we do win and all of the sudden our lives are turned upside down and we now have the blessing or curse of a 7-number payout? Its not hard to find the stories of rags to riches, although it’s just as easy to find the rags to riches then to rags, again.

Most people feel that their wit, intelligence and down to earth nature would free them from the trappings that other multi-million-dollar winners had previously fallen into, but it’s just a matter of time before we are in-debt to the IRS and left depressed, destitute, suicidal or dead.

Do the States have an obligation to lottery winners?

The sole purpose of the lottery is to raise revenue for the State coffers and not to enrich its citizens. Many of these states abhor other forms of gambling, especially online casinos, although have no problem preying on those who can ill-afford $5.00 worth of tickets every day. Make no mistake, the lottery is gambling and is very addictive.

I am not a proponent of the state/government interfering with our daily lives, especially when it comes to finances, but as the main protagonist in this transaction, is it incumbent upon them to provide guidance for those who win a 7-number jackpot. So, to answer the above question, my answer would be Yes!……….. the State do have an obligation to these winners.

We have all read and heard stories of winners whose lives were turn into pure hell from winning these vast amounts of money. I doubt any of us can imagine the pressures and demands you get from people when you win that kind of money.

What should the States do for the lottery winners?  

As they say, “the devil is in the details”, and the details in this case need a long and hard investigation and study. The question is whether the States have the desire to do anything about this issue or just accept the status quo.

I have my own thoughts on the issue, but would be interested to hear your thoughts. Please email me at with your thoughts, questions and advice.


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