Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

People Are Sharing Horror Stories Of Lottery Winners Who Ended Up Regretting It (18 Stories)

Winning the lottery can be an absolutely life-changing thing for most people. But sometimes, that change isn’t always positive. And the people on the internet are discussing this very thing. The discussion began in a viral Reddit thread and later spilled over into the BuzzFeed community.

People from both threads are sharing how the lives of many lottery winners end up changing for the worse.

Just a warning, the answers get pretty dark. Some people ended up having to go into hiding because of the constant harassment. There were also folks who ended up mismanaging the funds and ended up right back where they started.

But seriously, how could anyone regret winning the lottery? Here are 18 responses.

1. Nothing but fights

I know a man who has won and it got really bad. The whole family wanted to have a piece of the cake, all they did was having fights about the money.


2. “Death sentence”

I won $20k from a lotto a few years ago. It was like a saving grace for the medical bills I had but a death sentence for my relationship with my family.

Anonymous, 27, Colorado

3. Recluse

My ex-fiancé won just over $86 million a couple weeks after he proposed. He kept it under wraps for a couple months while he figured out the details and made solid plans. However, in Illinois, you can’t claim lottery prizes anonymously so once it went public, all hell broke loose. He quit his job and became a recluse.

Anonymous, 34, Illinois

4. More debt than before

My ex-girlfriend’s aunt and uncle have won three times: $1 million, $50k, and $1.2 million — all in the span of 4 or 5 years. They bought new cars, remodeled the house, didn’t pay off any debts, and didn’t pay off their house or cars. They are currently in more debt than they were before the lottery.


5. “He was wondering where all his money went…”

My dad’s neighbor won about $500k from the lottery. Within two weeks, he bought a new double-wide trailer, a brand-new dually truck, and a MASSIVE ring for his brand-new girlfriend. A month after that, he had added a new four-wheeler, a new car for his girlfriend, and an RV. Fast-forward to just over a year later, and his trailer was already dumpy, his truck was totaled, his girlfriend had suddenly disappeared, and he was wondering where all his money went.


6. “Last I heard, his family dumped him and I’m not sure what happened to him after that.”

Someone I know won years ago and it was shocking how quickly he went through the money. Gave so much away to ‘friends’ and family members. Basically, anyone who asked (or demanded) money. He partied and drank the money away.


7. Dad has regrets

My dad won a good amount of money from doing an office lottery buy-in and eventually, I started seeing less and less of him. I guess the money inflated his confidence and he left my mom for another woman. The money was gone within a few years, the other woman wanted nothing to do with him, and he tried coming back to us — but my mom had moved on. He’s said to me several times he regrets winning that money.

Anonymous, 29, California

8. It’s all gone!

I remember a local family who won $10 million, like, 25 years ago. They bought a giant house and all the cars, quit their jobs, etc. Today, they no longer live in that house and last I heard, they don’t have a penny left.


9. Again, nothing to show for it.

Years ago, someone in my hometown won the lottery and it went right to their head. They bought a red Ferrari, crashed it a week later. It was a write-off so they bought another one. They currently have nothing to show for it, which is sad because it was enough to change lives.


10. It lasted a whole week

A former coworker of mine won $24,000. He immediately quit his job and came back for another a week later. He obviously didn’t get his old job back.


11. “He’s an alcoholic now…”

My uncle won the lottery and it went to his head. He quit his job and started to buy unnecessary things. Family members asked him for money all the time and he’d always give it to them. In the end, he had lots of debt and most of the people who owed him money didn’t pay him back. He’s an alcoholic now, and my family almost never invites him over for family gatherings because of how he gets after drinking a little.


12. Paycheck to paycheck

My brother came into $140,000. He spent $50k on a car and wrecked it within a month. He is now back to zero and is living paycheck to paycheck.


13. “Within 10 years, he was broke, alcoholic, and living in a trailer.”

My mom’s uncle won a couple million in the regular state lotto. He blew it on a huge house and fancy cars. He forgot that property taxes on a mansion are outrageous. Within 10 years, he was broke, alcoholic, and living in a trailer.


14. A tragic turn

The absolute worst catastrophe I saw was from one friend. He received $2.3 million as an advance. He immediately spent $1 million as the down payment for custom-ordered exotic cars that would be arriving in months. He then proceeded to spend $50,000 a day on sex workers, drugs, and alcohol for his friends. Eventually, he overdosed and died. Less than a week.


15. Handouts galore…

My grandfather won 30,000 in australia in 1977, not long after lotto was introduced. It bought hima truck to run his own business and a house in a nice suburb which he and my grandmother lived in until they passed away. It also brought out people looking for handouts which ultimately drove my grandfather away from close friends and turned him in to a reclusive semi alcoholic.


16. “My dad won the lottery…”

$6.5 million to be exact back in 1991. He did this payment plan where he got about a quarter of a million every year for the next 20 years. He also ended up quitting his job. I spent most of my life living in a 4,000 square foot house. Now the money stopped coming in. He spent too much and is now in $100,000 worth of debt. He works as a janitor now at a college and I have major student loans to pay because I gave my college savings to help pay for shit. Moral of the story, don’t be stupid with your money, and keep your job after you win the lottery. 


17. Ruined his life…

I met a guy who won over 5 million. I worked in a courthouse at the time and was in the courtroom when he entered his guilty plea for possession of drugs and guns. As I recall, he got a 10 year mandatory minimum sentence. He said that winning the lottery ruined his life.


18. They got really into drugs.

I had an uncle who won and his whole family got really into cocaine and now they are broke as expected.