LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The current Mega Millions jackpot is $790 million, a life-changing amount of money for any Arkansans lucky enough to win it, but what would you buy if you got the top prize?
According to Worthly.com, the most common purchases with lottery winnings include luxury vacations, paying off debts, new cars, new houses and gifts for friends and families.
For some folks, however, their winnings have been spent much more creatively.
In New York, John and Linda Kutey were part of a syndicate in 2011 that won a $319 million jackpot and received $28.7 million to share. They used the money to launch a waterpark that was created in honor of their parents that also contributes to their community.
When Joe Denette won the Virginia lottery in 2009, he chose to spend the money on creating his own NASCAR team. After consulting with driver Kevin Harvick, Denette officially launched his own team in 2011 as part of the Camping World Truck Series.
In 2009, when 19-year-old Jonathan “Jay” Vargas became one of the youngest lottery winners in the United States, he spent his money exactly how you would imagine. He created an all-female wrestling promotion called Wrestlicious, which featured scantily clad women in a mix of wrestling matches and sketch comedy. The company ended up folding after only one season of production.
While most lottery winning stories turn from a dream to a nightmare when the cash is gone, a Georgia man blew his lottery winnings in a historically destructive fashion. Ronnie Music Jr., 46, spent part of his $3 million in lottery winnings into trafficking methamphetamines, which led to a 21-year prison sentence on drug conspiracy and firearm charges.
While some may think that the idea of wild expenditures from a jackpot is strictly an American concept, many lottery winners from other countries have also found distinct ways to spend their cash.
For instance, Peter Lavery, an Irishman who won the UK lottery, decided to launch his own whiskey distillery in Belfast. The company is now known as Titan Distillers and has been a major success, which led to even more success for Lavery.
Sarah Cockings, a British woman who won $5.1 million in the lottery in 2006, also made expensive purchases with her family in mind. She bought breast augmentations for herself and for both of her sisters.
According to officials with the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, the program has raised more than $1.1 billion in proceeds for scholarships since 2009, with more than 675,000 college scholarships have been awarded to Arkansans.
The next Mega Millions drawing will be held on Tuesday July 26 at 11 p.m.