Lottery Winners: 10+ Good & Horror Stories of Lottery Winners in 2023!

By Nicholas Christensen
Last Updated: July 6, 2023

If you want to live comfortably for the rest of your life, winning the lottery puts you in the express lane. The reality, however, is that we can’t all be winners. Out of millions of people, only a select few are graced by lady luck. It’s tough—but that’s why we celebrate the wins of others. Here, you can find out more about the latest lottery winners, their stories, and more!


Next Draw Closes In:

Mega Millions

Next Draw Closes In:

The Biggest Winners: Where Are They Now?

The Biggest Lottery Winners Powerball

Have you ever wondered what happened to the biggest lottery winners of all time? Where are they now? Are they still millionaires or did they fall victim to the lottery curse? In this article, we answer these questions, and more!

The Oddest Things Lottery Winners Spent Their Money On

Robert Erb

If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you would buy? Some would say a house or a new car. Others would pay off their loans. And then there are the truly weird ones. People like Bob Herb—who used his money to campaign for marijuana legalization—think way out of the box! Would you have thought about creating a niche wrestling TV show featuring scantily clad women? How about buying new cars and using them in demolition derbies? Only these winners had the audacity!

The Youngest Lottery Winners

Jane Park

Believe it or not, many young people have won the lottery. And we’re not talking about just a few hundred dollars here. These youngsters have become millionaires even before turning 30! Get to know who these lucky winners are—from 20-year-old Shane Missler to the now-infamous Jane Park, and more!

Stefan Mandel: the 14-Time Lottery Winner

Stefan Mandel article banner

Long odds are hard to beat! But, that didn’t stop Stefan Mandel—a Romanian immigrant who had a knack of letting the lottery know who’s boss. Mandel spent years developing a secret formula that, supposedly, guaranteed him a 100% chance of winning. And you know what? It actually worked 14 times and across 4 countries! ?

Bill Morgan: The Luckiest Man in the World

Bill Morgan article header image

Australian lottery winner, Bill Morgan, is arguably one of the luckiest people on earth. He won the lottery two times – one of which was for A$250k, and was broadcast live on national television. What are the odds of that happening, right? But that's not where Bill's good fortune started. His story of good luck began, interestingly enough, with his death!

The Seasoned Bandit

James Allen Hayes 1

James Allen Hayes won the $19 million California SuperLotto jackpot in 1998. For the next two decades, he had a guaranteed annual income of $684,000. He was 35-years-old then, which meant that he was practically set for life—especially if he made some smart investments down the road. Unfortunately, life had other plans for Hayes. One that would see him getting hooked on heroin and, finally, taking on the mantle of the “Seasoned Bandit”—a notorious bank robber.

What Happens to Lottery Annuities if the Winner Dies?

What happens to lottery annuities if the winner dies?

To answer the question in a nutshell, annuities still continue. But to whom does it get paid out? Find out how lotteries handle these special cases in this short article.

Who Won the Lottery More Than 100 Times?

Who won lottery more than 100 times Clarance W Jones

As unbelievable as it sounds, there are players out there who have won the lottery more than 100 times. It’s true! These so-called “Frequent Fliers” have defied the odds over and over—racking up thousands, if not millions in winnings over time. Ask Clarence W. Jones, a self-proclaimed “professional gambler” who has won over 10,000 times!

Waitress Gets $3 Million Tip: The Real Life Inspiration Behind Hit Movie, It Could Happen to You

Waitress gets a $3 million tip article header image


When NY city cop Robert Cunningham offered longtime friend Phyllis Penzo, a waitress, to split a lottery ticket in place of a tip, little did the two know that they would actually win. That's right, Cunningham ended up winning after all, and true to his promise, shared the $6 million prize right down the middle. The story even became the inspiration of the 1994 film It Could Happen to You. 

China’s Quirky Costumed Lottery Winners

Panda Chinese lottery winner

If you had the chance to remain anonymous after a lottery win, would you take it? Sadly, a lot of countries require lottery winners to come out in public. But in China, things work a lot differently. Although winners are still required to appear in public, officials are supportive of player anonymity. That’s why winners have come up with a clever solution: wear wacky costumes! These are some of their stories.

Mavis Wanczyk: Lone Winner of Record Powerball Jackpot

Mavis Wanczyk Powerball winner

Mavis Wanczyk was the sole winner of the $758.7 million Powerball jackpot back in August 27, 2017 draw. With nobody to split the prize with, the 50-something mom from Massachusetts took home a lump sum of $336,350,655 after taxes, currently the second-biggest prize ever taken home by a lottery winner. Guess who else she didn't have to split the prize with? Let's put it this way: Her exes probably wish their respective relationships turned out differently.

The Stocklas Brothers: a Lottery Rivalry for the Ages

The Stocklas Brothers

In 2016, two brothers bought two lottery tickets each. As luck would have it, both ended up winning! Even better, they had a combined prize total of a little over $290 million. Awesome, right? There’s just one problem: one brother only won $7! And just like that, their story became the talk of the town (and, eventually, the internet).

Shane Missler: 20 Year Old Wins Mega Millions Jackpot

Shane Missler

Doesn't it seem like most big-time lottery winners you read about turn out to be middle-aged folks? Well that might actually be true, but it's definitely not always the case. Take for instance Florida native, Shane Missler, who won the sixth largest Mega Millions jackpot when he was only 20 years old! He gained lottery notoriety when he posted about his win on social media. The rest, as they say, is history.

Marvin and Mae Acosta: Winners of the Biggest Lottery Jackpot Ever

Acosta couple article header image

The January 13, 2016 Powerball drawing holds the record for the largest ever jackpot in lottery history. Up for grabs was a truly massive $1.58 billion prize, which as it turned out was split between three winning tickets. One of those tickets belonged to Marvin and Mae Acosta, a couple from Chino Hills, California. Like most lottery jackpot winners, the Acostas became targets for scammers and other shady practitioners. It's a good thing they had spent months building a team of lawyers and financial advisers prior to claiming their prize.

The 5 Most Tragic Lottery Winners

tragic lottery winner ibi roncaioli

Many lottery winners have fallen victim to the lottery curse, but none are as unlucky and tragic as these five. Burglary, debt, sexual assault allegations, lawsuits, loved ones overdosing on drugs—and that’s just the experiences of one winner! Find out more about their terrible tales here. A word of warning: it’s not for the faint of heart!

Richard Lustig: Clever Lottery Winner or Scammer?

Richard Lustig article banner

From the 1990s up to the early 2000s, Richard Lustig won the lottery 7 times—racking up over $1,052,205.58 in winnings. Naturally, he became the talk of the town, eventually becoming somewhat of a lottery legend. And because he was a shrewd businessman, he capitalized on his fame by writing a book on how to win the lottery.

Titled “Learn How to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery,” Lustig’s book became an instant bestseller. Some critics say, however, that’s it’s all a huge cash grab! Is it true, or has Richard Lustig truly found the secret recipe for winning the lottery?

Is Arkansas Really Winning? Maybe, but at the expense of 180,000 students

Arkansas Scholarship Lottery FY2018 Financial Statement First Page

Arkansas Scholarship Lottery claims that the citizens of the state are winning as they had lottery sales of over $500M in FY2018, out of which $91M were distributed in scholarships. Impressive, but is the lottery living up to its big promise?

Panamanian Pensioner Wins Big

Aura Dominguez Canto

For years, Aura Dominguez Canto tirelessly worked to support her children. Unfortunately, things weren’t going smoothly for her. She needed money badly, working herself to the bone despite being retired. Inspired by the story of Euromillions winner Jane Park, Aura decided to play online lottery. With luck, persistence, and the help of theLotter, she finally won after several losses. And boy, did she win big—more than enough to support her children and allow her to retire for real!

Why Do Many Lottery Winners End Up Broke?

why lottery winners end up broke

There’s a reason why many people think lottery winners are cursed. Lottery winners ending up broke is a tale as old as time. But why is it so common? The answers aren’t as simple as you’d think! External factors—like opportunistic friends or family—are a given. But did you know mismanagement has just as much to do with it as getting hooked on vices?

Lottery Winners Not Getting Paid

Stories of Lottery Winners Not Getting Paid

Just because you have the winning numbers doesn't automatically mean you'll get your prize. In some rare cases, lotteries don't pay out a single cent. Whether it's because of a clear violation of the rules, a system error, or not having enough funds, even the biggest lotteries can sometimes outright refuse to pay up. These are some stories of lottery winners not getting paid.

Lottery Winner Horror Stories

Lottery Winner Horror Stories

Are you a fan of true crime stories, or maybe have a fascination for the morbid? You might be interested in this compilation of tragic stories that involve lottery winners falling victim to man's unending greed. Read about how the so-called lottery curse can turn friends and lovers into foes, and how it could all end in violence and murder.

Graeme Thorne Murder and Kidnapping

Graeme Thorne Australia lottery murder

One of the more chilling stories we have on lottery winners is that of Australian Graeme Thorne. He was an 8-year-old boy who fell victim to the lottery curse. In this tragic tale of greed and murder, read about the events surrounding one of the worst crimes Australia has ever seen. Also, find out how the poor boy's death became the catalyst for changing how Australian lotteries operate today.

The Lottery Addict

Adam Osmond 54,000 tickets

Most people would have called it a day after winning thousands of dollars in the lottery. But Adam Osmond is unlike most people. He’s what you’d call a compulsive gambler, otherwise known as a gambling addict. He became so addicted to the lottery that even when he won $50,000, he felt that he needed to outdo it! Adam fell into a nasty cycle and ended up with $250,000 worth of tickets. What became of him? Get to know more about him here!

What’s with Ohio’s Frequent Lottery Wins?

Ohio Lottery Frequent Winners Legitimate

Along with Massachusetts, New York, Illinois and Georgia, a 2014 database analysis revealed that Ohio has some of the luckiest players in the industry. How lucky? The analysis found that the state had a high number of repeat winners. One resident, for instance, won over 342 times! What’s up with Ohio? Are the wins even legitimate?

Lottery Winner Unknowingly Weds Granddaughter?

Lottery Winner

In 2016, various online outlets ran a story so outrageous that it became somewhat of a viral hit. The story goes that a 68-year-old lottery winner from Florida (check out our Florida Lottery Results) fell in love and married a 24-year-old woman. They were on their way to their happily ever after when, 3 months in, they discovered a shocking truth. As it turned out, the lottery winner was the woman’s estranged grandfather! ?Is this real life, or is it just fantasy?

Powerball Winner Paul White in Drunk Driving Accident

Paul White Powerball winner

2013 Powerball jackpot winner Paul White was injured in a car crash last March 6, 2018. White was with his girlfriend, her daughter,  and 14 other people when a Ford F-150 hit their van, causing their vehicle to roll over multiple times. They had one casualty—18-year-old Lauren VanReese, daughter of White’s girlfriend. The others only sustained injuries.

Mistake Leads to Big Win!

5m from a mistake

How many mistakes have turned out to be in your favor? Not many, I’m guessing! And if it ever happened, the event itself isn’t life changing anyway. And then there are people like Oksana Zaharov. The 40-something mother of two got the shock of her life when she won $5 million—from a scratch-off that was mistakenly sold to her! The whole story, inside.

Huge New York Powerball Win

David Johnson

A 56-year-old Jamaican bus driver from Brooklyn made history in his state with the second-largest Powerball jackpot win by a New Yorker. After playing the massive lottery games like Powerball and Mega Millions religiously, David Johnson finally won big — to the tune of $298 million.

She Won $1 Million Out of Spite

Glenda Blackwell

Glenda Blackwell only wanted to show her husband that lottery tickets were a waste of money. Asked to buy Powerball tickets, she bought a scratch-off game ticket instead. Her spur-of-the-moment decision did end with someone being schooled — but it wasn't her husband. Glenda Blackwell ate her words when she found out she was the North Carolina Education Lottery's newest $1 million winner!

What State Has The Most Lottery Winners?

What States Have the Most Lottery Winners?

New York and Indiana take the top two spots for the most jackpot wins, specifically for Powerball and Mega Millions. But what about the other states? In this accounting of big lottery wins, find out if your state has a tendency to produce instant millionaires.

Can Lottery Winners Remain Anonymous?

Can lottery winners remain anonymous?

The lottery curse can easily find its way to you if your name is all over the news. That's why if you have the option to do so, remaining anonymous is one of the smartest things you can do to protect yourself after a big lottery win. In this article, find out if your state gives you that choice.

How Long After Winning the Lottery Do You Get the Money?

How long after winning the lottery do you get the money?

Who knows – you might just end up being the next winner on this list. In this article, find out how long it would take for you to become a millionaire. See how much time it takes to receive lottery winnings, how long you have to claim your prizes, and what to do to cash your ticket in.

What to Do if You Win the Lottery

What to do and Who to Hire After Winning the Lottery

Jackpot winners, this one's for you. Find out how NOT to fall victim to the so-called lottery curse in this ultimate guide to what to do after winning the lottery. Follow our steps to securing financial success – and maybe even happiness – should you ever be lucky enough to hit the jackpot. We'll cover legal advice, financial planning, stories from past winners, experts' opinions, our very own tips, and much more.


Next Draw Closes In:

Mega Millions

Next Draw Closes In: