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Don’t count your jackpots before they hatch

Mon 18 Jul 2016, By Dean Cromwell
Don’t count your jackpots before they hatch

It’s a proverb as old as time itself but it’s worth remembering that the next time you buy tickets for your favourite lottery. And it’s the kind of advice that a 46 year-old woman from Besançon in France should have heeded.

She made the expensive mistake of thinking she’d won the EuroMillions lottery and went on a spending spree before confirming it.

Over a few weeks she’d splurged out on expensive perfumes, jewellery, clothing and ornaments to celebrate her big win. She managed to spend €4000, but when no money from the lottery appeared in her bank account, panic set in her. Her husband checked the ticket and then realised that they hadn’t won the lottery at all!

By now, all the cheques that she had written were starting to bounce, so she came up with the story that her handbag had been stolen. And then she burned the bag in an attempt to cover her tracks. But she couldn’t escape the long arm of the law as CCTV footage clearly showed her shopping up a storm and writing out cheques to cover it.

She finally broke down in court and admitted what really happened. The shop-owners were understanding and offered to let her pay for the goods in instalments. The court handed her a four month suspended sentence and ordered her to work to repay her debts, which she agreed to do.

It’s a funny story but one which has had some severe consequences for this French mother. It’s easy to get carried away when you play the lottery. Once you’ve purchased your ticket it’s difficult to think about anything else than winning the jackpot and what to spend the money on. Normally this is just harmless day dreaming that gives you a chance to escape from the daily grind. But at some point you have to come down to earth.

Winning a big jackpot is not easy. Every player knows that the odds aren’t really in their favour. But it never hurts to try because, at the end of the day, somebody has to win it. Keeping a positive attitude when you play the lottery is a good thing, but you should never let it get out of hand.

Whether you win or lose, it’s important to double-check you tickets after each draw. Although stories about lottery players imagining they’ve won a jackpot when they really haven’t are rare, the reverse is more common. Many players don’t realise that they’re holding a winning ticket and lose out when the deadline to claim their prize passes by.

That’s the reason so many large EuroMillions prizes are still outstanding. Players hear that someone has scooped the grand prize and don’t bother to check their tickets. What they don’t realise is that they may have won the second tier prize which is still a substantial amount of money. And smaller prizes are often neglected as people think it’s not worth the trouble to claim them. But lotteries want people to collect these small prizes as they know the money will spent on more lottery tickets.

If you really want to avoid making a fool of yourself, and ruining your bank account, opt to buy your lottery tickets online instead. For starters, buying lottery tickets through an online concierge ticket service allows you to play lotteries from all over the world. You don’t have to a be US or European citizen to play lotteries such as the US Powerball, Euromillions or Mega Millions.

That means you can login and buy tickets from anywhere in the world. The physical tickets are purchased on your behalf by agents in the country and kept in a safe until the relevant draw takes place. Then, the winning numbers are carefully checked and if you’re a winner you’ll receive an email confirming all the details.

They’ll process claims on your behalf too and if you’re a big winner, they’ll arrange for you to collect your prize in person. Smaller prizes are paid directly into your account so you never have to worry about missing out on any wins—small or large. You can then transfer the money to your bank account, or save up and use it to buy more tickets for future draws.

Be sure to do your homework though as there are many fraudulent lottery websites out there who are only too happy to take your money. Make sure they have a proper physical address and that you can contact them directly in person.

Buying your lottery tickets online is the perfect way to ensure that you are a lottery winner before you splurge. And even if you do win, it’s a good idea to spend a bit of time thinking about what to do with your windfall before you hit the malls!