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Posted at 10:20 AM ET, 04/29/2010

Va. lottery winner sought

By Washington Post editors

Someone won the lottery in Virginia last week. And because that someone has yet to come forward it seems a lot of people are playing a new game called, who can it be?

The person bought a winning lottery ticket worth $1 million in Martinsville, Va., near the North Carolina border, the Martinsville Bulletin reports.

The winner has 180 days to claim the winnings.

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By Washington Post editors  | April 29, 2010; 10:20 AM ET
Categories:  Virginia  | Tags:  Gambling, Lotteries, Lottery, Mega Millions, Powerball  
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Has there ever been a lottery winner whose life hasn't been completely ruined by the money?

Lotteries are just abysmally bad public policy any way you look at it: bad for the players, terrible for the winners, and (since they tax the poorest and most ignorant segments of the population) bad for society.

But hey, I guess we had to do SOMETHING after the Reagan-era tax rollbacks for the rich.

Posted by: 12008N1 | April 29, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

It's only bad because, I would guess, the majority of those playing the lottery are people who are on the poorer end of the socio-economic scale. They get all that money, piss it away, and they're worse off than before because they have no money to pay for all the expensive stuff they bought. Someone with a little smarts would use that money for something good (paying off loans etc.), and investing it in some way. The instinct is to buy a nice house, get a nice car, and spend spend spend. $1M doesn't really go all that far anymore...

Posted by: smfoster3 | April 29, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

If I'd ever win the lottery, I'd use half to put in smart investment accounts to use to save for later on, I'd blow 25% of it of frivolous things just because I could and the other 25% on important things like bills and possibly a new/bigger house. If I have to dive into my frivolous money to improve the house or pay the bills, I'd do it.

Posted by: dj1123 | April 29, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"Has there ever been a lottery winner whose life hasn't been completely ruined by the money?"

There was a show on one of the cable networks (TLC? A&E? One of those) that followed a group of Missouri coworkers who jointly hit a huge jackpot, giving each of them tens of millions. Predictably, some of them were having a hard time as the money caused jealousy and other issues within their families. A few, however, were able to do things they'd always wanted to do but could not - work a regular schedule for Habitat for Humanity for no pay, work at an after-school program everyday, gratis. So, not everyone, it seems, loses their mind, but some definitely do.

Posted by: danacruikshank | April 29, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"But hey, I guess we had to do SOMETHING after the Reagan-era tax rollbacks for the rich.

Posted by: 12008N1"

I wonder what it's like to have to insinuate a partisan comment into every topic of conversation. You must be a real hoot at parties.

Posted by: pswift00 | April 29, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Years ago when the top prize was $10 million in the New York lottery someone made the following suggestion:

You choose both a financial advisor and a lawyer they have different functions, and you don't choose your brother-in-law because he has good ideas and can save you money spent on a financial advisor and lawer. Then you take the first year's money (then it was paid out payments, not lump sum) and you spend the first year's payment. Don't worry about what you're doing, don't worry about what you want to buy the first year; spend it on whatever you want and get it out of your system.; buy artwork, take trips, get your car, and buy that dirt bike or go to the fancy restaurant you wanted to eat at and order things you could afford before. At the end of year your spending habit will change. Bottom line was that you have one year's money to spend, and one year's money only. A problem is too many winners today win more than they can comprehend and the money's given to them too quickly to understand the value of the money.

Want an example of how people can't relate to the prize, as big as it is? A recent 30-year old winner of more than $200 million dollars said that one of the things he was going to do with the money was to pay back the guy he bought a car from for $1,000, and that he's going to pay some of his utility bills (not PAY HIS BILLS, but pay some of his utility bills); and he was going to decide if he was going to keep working at the convenience store where he works part-time.

Several years ago there was an older Virginia couple who won, after taxes, around $35-40 million. Two quick things: They announced that they bought their daughter a newer used car to replace the car she was driving, and they bought their granddaughter some presents. And, the guy still goes for coffee with his old friends regularly at the same small-town diner and whenever his friends joke, "Charlie, you should pay for this one", or "Charlie, you should pay all the time", he gets openly mad and has told the press repeatedly that he doesn't like that they think he should pay all the time just because he's got X millions of dollars.

Winning is attitude and perspective.

Posted by: Dungarees | April 29, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

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