Young Money: Stories Behind People Four Young People Who Struck Lotto Gold

Christian Holmes

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It’s an age-old truism: The youth is the key to the future. For lottery purveyors worldwide, the same applies. In order to sustain operations for the long term, lottery companies always need to find ways to meet the younger parts of their demographic.

Through shrewd advertising and brand recognition, operators have found a way to insert themselves into a rite of passage for the of-age person to have their first legal gambling experience– buying a lottery ticket.

Most of the time, the experience of purchasing the ticket is nothing more than saying goodbye to $10. In other instances, the experience can be memorable (lucrative, even) and inspire today’s youth to partake.

In this article, Lottery Geeks will examine the stories behind some of the youngest lottery winners.

Not historically a young person’s game

Some statistics gathered by CreditDonkey in 2022 found that approximately 70% of 20 to 30-year-olds buy at least one lottery ticket a year. Yet, there is a widely held belief that older people drive the lottery, with some surmising that those middle-aged and up have more disposable income. The numbers play into the belief when looking into specific lottery markets that see a lot of action, like Ontario, Canada.

According to the Ontario and Lottery Gaming Corporation’s 2022 study of its player base, people who play the lottery were more likely than non-players to be 35 or older, high school or community college educated, and retired. Over 50% of its consistent players – buying a ticket or more per month – were 50 or older.

The Powerball lottery also reports the median age of its winner is typically between 47 and 54 years old, with a good chunk of its players being middle-aged.

But we’re talking about the lottery, after all, where statistical outliers win the headlines.

18-year-old Canadian wins $48 million 6/49 Gold Ball Jackpot

At the start of 2023, Juliette Lamour, a native of “The Soo,” as the folks in Canada like to call it, was just about to celebrate her 18th birthday. In Ontario, once a person turns 18, they can legally buy a lottery ticket. Of course, with the proper identification.

Most Canadians buy a lottery ticket because they feel they will have more luck on their birthdays. Lamour was unsure if she wanted to buy one, thinking it was a gimmick. Her grandfather suggested she should buy some sort of a ticket. At the very least, it was just for kicks.

There was a problem at the beginning. Lamour told Global News that she did not even know what ticket to buy. There was so much selection it was overwhelming. She ended up calling her dad, an avid lottery player, for help. He told her to “buy a LOTTO 6/49 Quick Pick.” That was in January of 2023.

Lamour bought the ticket and did not think much of it. In fact, she didn’t even check to see if it won. What caused her to investigate further in February and get her ticket scanned was when her friends began discussing how the jackpot was won in her hometown, where she had purchased the ticket.

Lamour’s friend used the OLG App to scan her ticket, and that’s when it all happened. “When he scanned the ticket, the ‘Winner/Gagnant’ jingle started to play, and ‘Big Winner’ was displayed on the phone,” Lamour said. “My colleague fell to his knees in disbelief. He was yelling, in fact, everyone was yelling that I won $48 million!”

She could not believe she had won a $48 million jackpot on her first ticket.

“While there have been other 18-year-old lottery winners across Canada in recent years, no one has won as much as Juliette,” the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation told Global News.

Lamour told the media that she would use her newfound wealth to pay off her student loans and travel the world.

More luck of the Irish

Tracey Makin, a 16-year-old from Ireland, happened to buy a lottery ticket with her meager savings from a job at the local supermarket in 1998, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

Makin did not think she would win anything, she just wanted a license to daydream, so she bought the ticket and forgot to check to see if it won. That was until Makin realized that she might have a prize to claim. At first, Makin thought she had just won a small prize, but was shocked to see that the prize was €1 million.

Upon learning of her big win, Makin was initially warned by her family and friends that there would be a lot of gold diggers trying to get her money. There would also be a lot of people who wanted her to spend her money on things like drugs, 1998’s versions of Ponzi and multi-level marketing schemes, and overpriced luxury items.

All these things did not faze Makin. At a press conference in 1998, Makin told the media that she intended to spend her money wisely, per the Independent. Of course, she wanted to treat herself and those she cared about to some nice things, but that was the extent of her spending.

Instead, she wanted to focus on her schooling and getting ready for her exams. “I was happy enough with the pounds 53. I didn’t really want a million. But I’m coming round to the idea now.”

In the years since Makin’s big score, she has been reported to have made several savvy investments to build upon her wealth. According to Makin, the money never “got to her.” She has been able to live an everyday life and help prosper her family’s fortunes.

16-year-old wins £1.8million jackpot

Callie Rogers, a British woman, originally made headlines in 2003 for winning a massive jackpot. She was among the youngest ever to win such a big prize in the UK.

When Rogers first won the jackpot, she was in utter disbelief. Being so young, she did not understand how to manage her newfound wealth, making it hard to use the money wisely and effectively.

Rogers admitted to news outlets like The Mirror UK that she splurged on cosmetic surgeries, drugs, tattoos, and parties, amongst other things, and further told that when she won her money, it became a curse. “Not knowing who liked me for me and having all the stress of all the money, I just wanted to go back to having a normal life. I still struggle with trust issues.”

Her mental health was not in a good place, and she feared the future. So when Rogers started to build her family, she realized the life she was living could not cut it. She had to make some changes and she did.

In 2023, Rogers revealed that she was returning to school to become a nurse. Rogers said she is the happiest she has ever been, even if she has the U.S. equivalent of $2,500 in her bank account.

“We all make mistakes in life and I made some when I was young and naïve,” Rogers said, “but winning the lottery was a big part of becoming the person I am today and I’m proud of who I am.”