A woman from Merrimack, New Hampshire won the eighth largest lottery jackpot in American history last month. But she still hasn’t claimed it, for a surprising reason.
The anonymous woman’s Powerball numbers were drawn last month, winning her a huge $560 million payout. According to her lawyer, when she realized her ticket was a winner, the woman felt “awe, disbelief, and an unexpected [emotion]: panic.”
As we’re shared with you before, there are a number of hidden downsides to winning the lottery. Winners receive publicity and unwanted attention, requests for money from friends and family members, and even become a target for criminals.
Some lotto winners have even suggested that the money is a “curse,” and say they would go back in time to rip up their lucky ticket if they could.
The unnamed winner from New Hampshire had obviously heard some of these stories, because she tried to collect her winnings anonymously.
But now the winner is not allowed to keep her identity private, and it’s all because she signed her ticket.
It was the kind of moment we all dream of: Katrina Bookman had pulled the arm on her Sphinx Slot Machine and it announced she had hit the jackpot.
Bookman said she “can’t even describe the feeling” of her win. “It’s like my whole body just got numb.” In all her excitement, Bookman still managed to snap a smiling photo with the game’s screen, which said she had won $42,949,672.
But to this day, Bookman is still waiting for her winnings, and the Resorts World Casino in Queens is determined not to give them to her.
The first sign of trouble came the next day, when Bookman returned to the casino to learn the exact value of her prize. A casino employee told a shocked Bookman that she hadn’t won anything, before offering her $2.25 and a free steak dinner.
Bookman says she didn’t accept either offer.
The single mother-of-four grew up in foster care, and was devastated to hear she wouldn’t be winning her jackpot.
According to casino staff, the Sphinx machine malfunctioned, and was supposed to have a maximum prize of just $6,500.
“Casino personnel were able to determine that the figure displayed on the penny slot was the result of an obvious malfunction — a fact later confirmed by the New York State Gaming Commission,” a spokesman said.
But Bookman has her own side of the story, and she’s taking the casino to court to get her jackpot.
Most married couples like to think that they have won the lottery with their partners, and look forward every day to waking up and seeing them on the other side of the bed is the biggest prize that they could win.
That doesn’t stop them dreaming of making their lives better together. Whether it’s a make-over, a vacation, or a new home, we want to set goals with our spouses as something to work towards.
While for most people they remain as dreams, sometimes fate intervenes and people are handed what they have worked for their whole lives.
One married couple in Massachusetts prove that one good turn deserves another, when they found themselves the recipients of the universe’s version of a double whammy.
It all started last August when Janet Goodwin won $1 million through the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes. She and her husband, Robert, were overjoyed.
Little did they know, this was just the start of their new lives as the world’s luckiest couple.
It should come as no surprise that public figures are not always who they appear to be. Politicians can be liars, spiritual leaders may be linked to corruption, and celebrities are embroiled in horrifying scandals.
For one Chicago do-gooder, the irony of her situation is almost too much. Kathy Gilroy has crusaded for years trying to stop the spread of gambling addiction across the country, and says she doesn’t tolerate any form of it, with a few exceptions.
Gilroy has been involved in the shutdown of numerous illegal lotteries and volunteers her time in order to raise awareness about the dangers of playing with their savings and luck.
It appeared no organization was safe when she played a role in shutting down the raffle held by Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), until they received a proper licence.
This is why it came as a shock when she revealed she claimed a $25,000 prize she won in a gambling cafe.
Now, many are asking what makes this different than the games she has criticized in the past.
Okay, we all “want to win the lottery,” but do you really, really want to win?
It takes a lot of determination (and money) but experts and former winners say there are ways to improve your oddsof winning the jackpot.
Remember: Playing the lottery is a form of gambling, so know your limit and play within it.
1. Buy extra tickets
Ok, we never said these tips would be that creative. It’s totally obvious that buying extra tickets increases your chance of winning the lottery, but most frugal and right-thinking people will never buy more than one ticket.
The costs add up, but every guide to winning the lottery agrees buying extra tickets gives you an advantage, especially when it’s combined with other tips and tricks.
2. Stick to your lucky numbers
There’s a heated debate between lotto players about whether it’s best to buy quick picks (where the computer chooses your numbers) or to select your lucky numbers. Our money is on choosing your own.
The thing about lucky numbers is they’re your numbers, and you’ll always remember to play because otherwise you could miss your chance.
To be fair, quick pick tickets make up the vast majority of lottery winners, but playing consistently is more important. Unless…
3. Don’t play every week
Many dedicated lotto players actually avoid big, popular games like the Mega Millions and Powerball draws. Instead, they target unpopular games with low jackpots during their least popular times of the year, and load up on tickets for specific draws.
It takes a little research, but if there’s a winner every time, your odds in one of these draws are way better than most big games.
4. Pick high numbers
This tip won’t improve your odds of “winning the lottery” per se, but experts say it makes you less likely to split a big draw. The theory goes that people tend to pick numbers between 1 and 31, based on important dates in their lives.
Richard Lustig, who says he’s won the lottery seven times, swears by his “number spreading technique,” and included it in his book Learn How to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery. Here’s another one of Lustig’s tips…
5. Don’t buy consecutive numbers
Lustig offers his readers this bit of helpful math: if a lottery draw had 5 numbers, and they only go up to 55, the total of your five numbers should be between 104 and 175. The lotto expert says studies show that 70% of jackpot draws fall within that number “spread.”
For he same reasons, Lustig warns to avoid picking multiple numbers from the same group of tens (for example: 21, 25 and 28), or numbers that end in the same digit.
6. Don’t play in patterns
One last trusty tip from Lustig: if you like filling in your number card with an X, diagonal lines or other patterns, odds are other lotto players do too. Like picking low numbers, this only increases your chance of splitting a game-winning draw.
“Someone is missing $24 million,” the ad read, ” check your tickets.”
The New York Lotto paid for the commercial after finding themselves in a surprising situation. In May 2016 someone bought a ticket at a New York bodega and picked all six of the lucky numbers. That meant they had won a $24.1 million jackpot. But almost a year after the draw no one had stepped forward.
The New York Gaming Comission’s Lottery Division head, Gweneth Dean, had to make a surprising plea to lotto players before the winning ticket was set to expire: “We urge New York Lottery players: Check your pockets. Check your glove box. Look under the couch cushions. If you have this winning ticket, we look forward to meeting you.”
That’s when retired security officer Jimmie Smith decided to check his old lottery tickets. The 68-year-old grandfather had noticed the ads and news stories about the big jackpot, and started to wonder if he could be the winner. It’s lucky he did, because Smith had bought the winning ticket, and almost lost his prize…