big lotto wins

By Kevin Moran

We all have an idea what we’d do, if somehow, we managed to win the lottery. Some would buy a house, others would go on a trip around the world and take an early retirement – why not do all three?

But how much money can you hope to win by playing the lottery? The higher the amount, the more we can add to our shopping list. A Ferrari wouldn’t be too big a luxury if we really hit the jackpot.

Since we could all do with a little extra inspiration on how to spend our future winnings, here’s 5 of the biggest lottery wins and what they spent their money on…

1. Three tickets – $656 million Mega Millions Jackpot in the United States

Merle and Patricia Butler of Red Bud

Merle and Patricia Butler of Red Bud Illinois claiming their share of the prize. Image via Daily Mail.

What a shame that the largest jackpot of all time had to be split between three winning tickets. Only one winner chose to have their names made public and even then Merle and Patricia Butler, who live in Illinois, kept the details to themselves. There were hints of a holiday and some investments but the only thing we know for sure is Patricia couldn’t stop giggling for hours.

2. Gloria Mackenzie – $590 million Powerball Jackpot in Florida.

Gloria MacKenzie pictured on the right. Image via Freedom Online.

Gloria MacKenzie pictured on the left. Image via Freedom Online.

Not the biggest total jackpot but probably the largest single win ever. The winning ticket was purchased at a supermarket in Zephyrhills Florida by 84-year-old Gloria MacKenzie. She bought herself a $1.2m seaside mansion in Jacksonville – having previously lived in a squat duplex with a tin roof. She also kindly donated $2m to fix her hometown high school’s roof.

3. Pool of eight – $365 million Powerball Jackpot in Nebraska

Big lotto winners

Clockwise from top left: Robert Stewart(30), Alain Maboussou(26), Dung Tran(34), Eric Zornes(40), David Gehle(53), Michael Terpstra(47), Quang Dao(56) and Chasity Rutjens(29). Image via

Working in a meatpacking factory really turned out to be the best way to bring home the bacon for these eight workers. Three treated themselves to early retirement and Quang, a Vietnamese immigrant, planned on using the money to help his family back home. Chasity Rutjens, the only woman in the group, apparently jumped for joy as being single meant she could keep every penny to herself.

4. Louise White – $336 million Powerball Jackpot in Rhode Island

Louise White lotto

Louise White pictured collecting her winnings.

The first thing this devout lady did was put the winning lottery ticket in her Bible for safekeeping. Once the money had been secured, she set about forming a trust so her family could benefit from the win without spending it all in one go. She decided to name it after the ice cream she bought for her son alongside the ticket. Rainbow Sherbert anyone?

5. Colin and Christine Weir – £161 million Euromillions Jackpot in North Ayrshire, UK

Euromillions winners UK

Colin and Christine scooped their millions on the lottery in 2011

Still the biggest win in the UK today and one of the biggest Euromillions claims, this lucky pair scooped the full jackpot in 2011. It only fuelled their generosity as one of the first things they did was make donations to several good causes. They even started setting up their own charitable trust to help fund even more projects. Of course they had some fun too – buying a mansion and a wide range of expensive cars.

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