Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Weirdest Wins in the World

We all know that winning the lottery is not only possible, but truly life changing. The internet is filled with stories of lottery winners whose winnings transformed their everyday lives and transported ordinary people into an extraordinary existence. 

But what about those lucky few who had no intention of winning or any hope that a stroke of luck would head their way?

86-year-old Mary Wollens, who lives in the beautiful city of Toronto, bought a lottery ticket in September 2006 and carefully selected her combination, as she did every time she played. A couple of days before the draw, Mary had a dream in which she saw herself standing with her lottery ticket and a large cheque. 

She was so inspired by the vision she had had that she went out and purchased another ticket, and chose the exact same combination as the one she had picked earlier that week. Mary was criticised for purchasing two tickets with the exact same numbers, being labelled “foolish” because even if you hit the jackpot, you don’t get credit for winning twice. Nevertheless, Mary stuck with her gut – the best decision she could ever have made. 

Another Toronto resident had also picked the winning combination, but instead of having to split the $24 million jackpot between them, Mary’s second ticket meant she could claim two-thirds of the prize! Winning $16 million after being inspired by a dream certainly paid off in her case.

Derek and Dawn Ladner from England, on the other hand, can give credit to Derek's severe case of forgetfulness for their win. In 2007, the 57-year-old couple were home watching the draw when their 6 chosen numbers came up. Ecstatic, they went through to claim their share of £2 395 710 – a total of £479 142 between 5 winners. 

One week later, it dawned in Derek that he had actually purchased two tickets, meaning that they had won two-fifths of the winnings. Needless to say the others were not so thrilled – the extra ticket lost them £120 000 each, meaning Derek and Dawn walked away with a total of £958 284!

One of the luckiest wins of all time was 74-year-old Frane Selak from Croatia. Born in 1929, Frane had been dubbed one of the unluckiest men alive after having survived 6 near-death experiences. In 1962, Frane was on a train from Saragevo to Dubrovnik when it derailed and plunged into the icy river nearby. While 17 of the passengers tragically passed away, Frane escaped with only a few cuts and bruises. Just one year later, the cockpit door on his flight from Zagreb to Rijeka blew off, causing the plane to plummet. In this instance, 19 passengers were killed while Frane miraculously landed in a haystack and walked away with only minor injuries. 

In 1966, his bus crashed and plunged into yet another icy river, claiming the lives of 4 and leaving Frane with a broken arm. Four years on, tragedy struck again when he narrowly escaped from his car before a faulty fuel pump burst into flames. In 1973, he came under fire again when his car engine exploded, sending flames through the air vents. While he lost most of his hair, he once again walked away (mostly) unscathed. After almost two decades of peace, he was hit by a local bus in 1995, and narrowly escaped death after driving off a cliff to avoid oncoming traffic in 1996. After so many near-death experiences, Frane was prepared for just about any tragedy. 

But in 2003, in an amazing twist of fate, he was the of winner of $1 million! He believes that God was watching over him, and that people could change his title from “the UNluckiest” man alive to “the luckiest”.

These stories and countless others provide us with humor and hope that when it comes to the lottery anything is possible. All you have to do is keep trying…you never know what good luck could be around the corner!

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

The oldest lottery that exists today


Lotteries have been in play for many years, in many different forms, but have you ever wondered where and when the first known lottery was? There is very little consolidated information on this, but if you are patient you can find interesting stories that share very old recorded lotteries.
It seems that the first recorded signs of a lottery were in China on keno slips between 205 and 187 BC, believed to have been created to finance the build of the Great Wall of China.


A lottery-like gambling game often played at modern casinos and also a game in some lotteries.

The first European Lottery recorded selling tickets was by the Roman Emperor, Augustus Caesar (27BC to 14 AD). The monies earned were used to fund repairs in the City of Rome, the prizes being articles rather than money.
Further research shows that the first recorded lotteries with prizes in the form of money were held in the coastal countries of Western Europe, consisting mainly of the Netherlands and Belgium (known as the Low Countries) during the 15th century. One recorded lottery was held in May 1445, in order to raise funds to build a wall and fund town repairs. The lottery sold 4304 tickets and the total prize money was the equivalent of approximately USD170,000. Lotteries were an easy method for governments to collect tax money.


To date the oldest running lottery is the Dutch lottery known as the Staatsloterij.
The Staatsloterij has been running since 1726. It started in The Hague, when the very first Netherlands Lottery was introduced by the Netherlands Parliament. During the first 100 years of its existence it changed names until the name Staatsloterij was settled on in 1848. Today this lottery is still in existence, and is very popular in the Netherlands with over half the population taking part in it. 60% of the income made from ticket sales is returned to customers in prize money and offers one of the best odds of winnings amongst lotteries with an average of 50% of players winning a prize. The Staatsloterij is a unique type of lottery as it is not a traditional jackpot draw type, but is a sweepstake type lottery much like that of the El Gordo in Spain (you can read more about El Gordo here). 

The Staatsloterij draws take place 14 times each year on the 10th of every month, with 2 additional draws on the 30th of April (Koninginnedagtrekking) and 31st of December (Oudejaarstrekking). The bare minimum jackpot prize offered is always 7.5million Euros. A player can choose to play for all the prizes including jackpot or all the prizes excluding the jackpot. Unlike most many lotteries worldwide that can be played online from anywhere in the world, the Staatsloterij can only be played by people living in the Netherlands. 

This however, does not mean that players outside the Netherlands cannot play any lottery within the Netherlands, as there is the Euro Jackpot that can be played by anyone. 
Go to to play the Euro Millions Lottery and many other lotteries around the world. 

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Life of a Lottery Winner

Ever thought about what you would do if you hit the jackpot? 
Would you spend your winnings or invest them? 
Give some away or keep it for yourself? 

Whether it’s $1 million or $100 million, winning the lottery changes your life.  And while the stories of those who blew it all away are enough to put doubt in anyone’s mind, the experiences of those lucky individuals who have taken their winnings and transformed themselves are truly inspiring.

In a recent interview with Marie Claire, 2007 lottery winner Cynthia Stafford shared that money changes things…and fast. After winning over $112 million, she immediately decided to upgrade her home and car in order for her family to have a more comfortable and secure life. Cynthia had been working hard to support herself, her kids and her father for several years, and her big win brought the relief she had desired for a long time. She treated herself and her family to a few overseas trips and other luxuries, but her greatest investment was taking a business course in order to learn how to manage her new wealth. She believes you have to prepare yourself for wealth, and therefore worked together with financial advisors and lawyers to ensure she made investments and started businesses that would only grow her winnings. Today, she is the successful business woman and a thriving mom – a true example of what good lottery-winnings stewardship can bring.

Violet and Allen Large are two lottery winners whose story challenges not only every winner out there, but each of us individually. After winning $11.2 million in 2010, the generous couple, who were in their late 70s, ensured every one of their family members was secure, following which they donated the remainder of their winnings to charities and hospitals. They did not hold onto any of the winnings for themselves, as they believed “what you never had, you never miss”. Although Violet and Allen had retired in 1983, the believed that had a comfortable life and did not need the headache of dealing with such a large sum of money. Needless to say their chosen charities were very grateful for the couple’s philosophy!

Generosity with winnings is not just a recent trend. In 1993, the winner of $111 million, Les Robins, used a significant portion of his winnings to build a campsite for children. The former high school teacher was inspired by his own childhood memories of attending amazing Summer camps, and felt the need to provide the same opportunity for today’s children. Camp Winnegator has been in operation for the past 20 years, and had become one of the top campsites in America for kids. His newfound financial freedom has never held him back from ensuring today’s generation are given the best!

While the stories of lottery winners losing it all are true, those who have gone on to thrive are even more inspirational, to say the least. Winning big is possible and it shape you in ways you never dreamed. Be inspired. Be challenged. Whatever the investment or strategy, using your lottery winnings to transform your life and the lives of others is truly one of the most wonderful things to do. 

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Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Hitting the Jackpot – Is It Just Luck Of The Draw?

Winning the jackpot is every lottery players biggest dream, and while many have won their fair share of the grand prize, jackpot winners seem few and far between.  Some players win back the value of their lottery ticket, others a few hundred dollars that allow them to pay off a little debt. And then there are those lucky lottery players who beat the odds and walk away with millions! Was there method to their playing, or was it really just luck of the draw?

Meet Rosa Dominguez, a 19-year-old woman who won the lottery not once, but twice…in one week! Rosa was headed home to Arizona one weekend when she decided to stop and get refreshed at a gas station on route. Seeing the scratch cards on the counter, she thought it would be fun to give it a try. To her absolute shock and delight, her scratch card won her $100 000 instantly! As if that wasn’t enough, her stop at a local gas station in Paso Robles just a few days later would win her another $555 555. After never having played before, Rosa was certainly convinced that taking a chance to beat the odds was worth every penny.

Paul Gestrun, on the other hand, is a 71-year-old retiree who says playing the lottery is his hobby. Paul’s first big win of $100 000 was several years ago, after which he described feeling “thrilled beyond words!”. His strategy? Keep playing and put your winnings back in. Paul never imagined he would win anything again, but his strategy went on to win him another $1 million just a few years later! This time around, Paul says he was so shocked, he ended up needing an inhaler from gasping so much. Paul spent a share of his winnings on a new vehicle and did a few renovations to his home.

Two winners had some fun after jointly winning the lottery in May 2000. Joe and Sue Kainz from Illinois won their share of over $360 million after purchasing a ticket at a local store. Before coming forward as winners, Joe and Sue reportedly kept the media in their toes by driving back down to the local store and watching as reporters tried to figure out who they were. The couple used part of their winnings to pay off their debt and invest in their business. Joe and Sue put their win down to luck of the draw – and what a lucky draw it was!

One of the most heart-warming wins yet was that of the group affectionately dubbed the “Oceans 16”. 16 Co-workers at Ocean County Vehicle Maintenance jointly held one of three winning lottery tickets. The group had purchased the ticket with the hopes of using any winnings to restore what they and others had lost after suffering through Superstorm Sandy. Little did Oceans 16 realize they would hit the jackpot and walk away with a phenomenal $3,8 million each!

Some win a little, some win a lot. Whether it is luck of the draw, a stroke of fate or the result of a well-thought-out strategy, winning the lottery is not only possible, it is life changing. Persevere, take a chance – you never know what might happen! 

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