Daily Archives: May 6, 2008

downfall of lottery winners

From Family News in Focus by Karen Johnson:

When it comes to winning the lottery, be careful what you wish for. A Florida multimillion dollar lottery winner in 1990 has died, leaving a wretched financial legacy.

Alex Toth was broke from spending his winnings years ago on luxuries, his marriage had broken up, and he was charged with federal tax fraud.

Plopping down hard-earned cash for a chance at getting lucky in the lotto is a 17 billion dollar-a-year scam for the 48 states with legalized gambling. Chad Hills of Focus on the Family Action says Toth’s story is actually quite common.

“It’s not unusual to hear them say I wish I had never won at all because it’s been a curse in my life.”

Bill Pomery is a Certified Financial Planner in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Three of his biggest clients are lottery winners. He’s seen how front end euphoria can cause financial forgetfulness.

“Most of them need additional liability insurance, additional life insurance.”

The winner will start hearing from aunts, uncles and third cousins he never knew he had.

“The family starts calling and they end up paying off their boats and their cars and their houses.”

Paul Golden of the National Endowment for Financial Education says the largess leads to one more percentage.

“We talking about 70% will lose their windfall within just a few years.”

The lottery preys on the poor, who have no idea how to handle that type of money.

“People who live at poverty or at lower income levels spend proportionately more of their income on lottery tickets than do people in the middle class or the upper class because the lottery is in the business of selling hope.”

Utah and Hawaii are the only two states where gambling is illegal.

“…he was glad we had stopped him.”

The Harrow Times, out of the UK, is reporting just how troubling a gambling addiction can become. They point to an armed robber who stole almost £100,000 to fund his gambling addiction. Unfortunately, this is all too common as those with gambling addiction often turn to crime to fund their problem. The Harrow Times explains just how desperate this gambler was:

Detective Sergeant Mark O’Shaughnessy, of the Met’s Flying Squad, said: “This was a desperate man, who was robbing banks as the only way to fund his gambling addiction.

“When he was caught, he admitted to all the other robberies, and said he was glad we had stopped him.”