If you’re like many folks out there in the world, you probably buy a lottery ticket either once in a while or more religiously. Winning a large jackpot would no doubt be life changing, not to mention the surge of excitement you’d feel upon realizing your financial situation has improved considerably. But at times we start dreaming of all the things we’ll do and buy even before the magic numbers have been published. Visions of a new mansion, fancy sports cars or a celebrity vacation retreat start to dance around your head right? It’s important to note that a staggering 70% of people who win the lottery eventually lose their entire fortune likely due in part to lavish spending and poor investment choices.
But what about the unlucky folks who wholeheartedly believe that they’ve won big only to realize they’ve made a terrible mistake? It’s probably more common than we realize, but only mistakes made on massive jackpots seem to be reported. Understandably so, it can be extremely embarrassing if a genuine mistake has been made. Panic sets in and the nightmare begins to unfold from there.
The list below consists of individuals who felt the rush of excitement thinking they’d won millions but the reality was far different and saddening than they expected. Some launched legal claims while others tried to cover their mistake illegally and others just accepted the mistake and tried to move on. Major lessons to be learned from this? Check tickets more than once, if things are looking good still brace yourself for disappointment. Even if lottery officials confirm that there are mistakes on their tickets, they’re not obligated to pay out. In many states, scratch and win tickets that are misprinted are rendered void, thereby protecting the company from millions of incorrect payouts.
10 French Woman - Undisclosed
There are those who win the lottery and simply start to dream of or even plan for the things they’re going to buy and then there are those who start spending before they have their giant check in hand. It’s this second category that a French woman fell into back in 2014. She spent almost $6,000 (of her own money) before realizing she hadn’t actually won the Euro Millions jackpot.
9 Ticket Misprint - $1,000
8 Debra & Raul Bennett - $7,777
7 John Bowman - $10,000
6 Ardella Newman - $20,000
5 Bernard Rosario - $200,000
4 John Wines - $500,625
3 Edwina & David Nylan - $52,000,000
British couple Edwina and David played their local lottery weekly but realized something was wrong with this win when they didn’t receive a confirmation email (they’d received such emails in the past). They later discovered that they missed out on the jackpot because of a technicality. The night of the draw they topped up their online account by the deadline but it wasn’t processed until the next day. Their numbers weren’t included in the draw because at that time their lottery account showed insufficient funds. They were devastated to discover that they hadn’t become instant millionaires.
2 Susanne Hinte - $60,000,000
There are those who genuinely make a mistake and then there are those who potentially try to pull a fast one. Earlier this year a British grandmother claimed to have washed her winning ticket by accident. The date and barcode were conveniently smeared beyond recognition but the numbers were clear enough to read. Since the local gaming authority knows where its winning tickets were sold, they’re sure that this claim is a fraudulent one since Susanne’s ticket wasn’t purchased at a winning location.
1 New Jersey Restaurant Workers - $949,000,000
Many companies have employees who choose to buy lottery tickets as a group in an effort to boost their chances of winning. Grissini's Italian Eatery, in Englewood Cliffs’ lottery pool consisted on 42 workers who were extremely excited to find out that they’d won a massive jackpot earlier this year (one worker even quit his job on the spot). Or had they? Turns out they bought the right numbers but for the wrong day. They’d bought tickets for Saturday’s staggering jackpot but mistakenly compared those numbers to Wednesday’s draw which, by complete coincidence, matched their numbers exactly. The jackpot ballooned to $1.5 billion since no one won the Saturday jackpot. Being the troopers they are, the group decided to pool together again and try their luck at the new jackpot.
Sources: abcnews.go.com, bbc.com, mirror.co.uk, nydailynews.com, dailymail.co.uk
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