Lottery winners could face lifetime of misery

A married couple from Wales have scooped a share of a £91 million EuroMillions jackpot but a national newspaper asks – is it the worst thing that could have happened to them?

“We may not be as rich” as those who win the lottery “but there’s every chance we may live longer, happier lives as a result”, Julia Hartley-Brewer, a Sunday Express reporter wrote.

She cites a survey of 30 of the biggest jackpot winners and said it branded the lottery “Britain’s biggest marriage wrecker” when it found that a third of respondents said their lives had been blighted by their new found fortune.

Families had fallen apart, marriages had ended and envy had destroyed friendships, the survey reportedly revealed.

The comments follow a spate of real life stories from lottery winners who have admitted misery because of their windfall.

Earlier this year Callie Rogers, 22, who won close to £1.9 million as a teenager in 2003, revealed that she is now facing bankruptcy and the money she won hasn’t made her happy.

She is currently holding down three jobs to support her two young children and she told a reporter that her life was now a “shambles”.

In 2005, after a suicide attempt, she said: “Until you win such a large amount of money at such a young age, you don’t realise the pressures that come with it.”

Michael Carroll, a former dustman, won £9.7million in 2002 but claimed it had made him miserable.

After he won the jackpot, his wife Sandra left him and took their baby daughter with her. Mr Carroll turned to cocaine, was jailed and was later served with two anti-social behaviour orders.

In 1999 Stephanie Powell won £7.2million, but her family life began to break down as a result.

Her partner Wayne Lawrence walked out on her, claiming the stress of her riches as his reason.

The article also cited research published this summer which warned that the lives of lottery winners could be cut short due to excessive alcohol-fuelled partying.

In 1999 Phil Kitchen, a jobless carpenter, won £1.8 million but two years later was found dead in his £500,000 home after drinking himself to death.

In July a report by the think-tank Theos argued that the National Lottery was penalising the poor.

Theos Director Paul Woolley said: “The Lottery might have created a new source of funding for projects that would otherwise have remained un-funded, but this has come with a high price tag for Britain’s poor.”

The report found that skilled manual workers are most likely to play in Lottery draws, with over 67 per cent taking part once a month compared with 47 per cent of professionals and managers.

According to the report, the average Lottery player spends £142.88 each year but among those with salaries of £15,000- £20,000 the figure increases to £174.53.

Christian Institute, Saturday, 21 November 2009

Still, sales of tickets will not go down. Everyone will say, ‘It could be me, but that wouldn’t happen to me.’

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