Getting a lottery jackpot is a dream for many. But there are some real ghosts that come along with a massive payout. A big win can cause financial ruin or an existential crisis.
In the United States, the biggest lottery jackpot was the Powerball jackpot in 2016. The prize grew from an estimated $825 million to a whopping $1 billion. The jackpot was paid out as an annuity, which means it was spread over a period of 30 years.
The same lottery jackpot was also won by Jack Whittaker, a West Virginia construction worker who donated his prize money to strangers. His money went to local strip clubs, the church, and diner waitresses. Eventually, he drank himself to death.
Another lottery jackpot of note was the Veikkaus lottery in Finland. This was the country’s biggest prize. The prize was worth EUR12.2 million, or US$15.7 million. The ticket was won in 1985.
Several other lottery jackpots have been won since 2016. The biggest jackpot was won in May 2013 when the Netherlands lottery rolled over to EUR38.4 million, or US$39.3 million.
Another lottery jackpot of note was the SuperLoto jackpot in France. This prize was worth EUR30,009,676, or US$31 million. This was the first time the jackpot was won by a single ticket.
The best jackpot of all was the $13 million lottery prize won by Alex Toth in 2011. The prize was not paid out all at once. Instead, Toth received the winnings in a series of annual installments of $666,666. The IRS eventually charged Toth with tax fraud.