How People Spend Their Gambling Winnings

June 29, 2018

While it's perfectly possible to make money from gambling, for many it's more about having a punt and hoping for the best. The gambling industry wouldn't exist if everyone won all the time – so striking it lucky is a rare treat. If you're lucky enough to tip a jackpot or buy that winning lottery ticket for the treble rollover, then you could be left in the fortunate position of having a ridiculous amount of money at your disposal. For a lot of people, this means the opportunity to retire, pay off the mortgage, or at least live comfortably for the rest of your days. For others, it's the opportunity to go a bit wild and spend the lot in one explosive swoop.

Jon Heywood


Back in 2015, soldier Jon Heywood had about 25p left in his online gambling account and decided to give a virtual slot machine a spin. What happened next is probably one of the luckiest occurrences ever to have happened at an online casino. Jon tipped the gigantic jackpot, worth £13.2 million, making him an overnight millionaire. Jon's initial reaction wasn't to start spending – actually, it was quite the opposite. The Afghanistan veteran kept his big win quiet for three days, even going into work the following day. After the disbelief had died down, Jon felt it was time to start spending.

Instead of heading to the nearest shopping mall, Jon decided that the money would be best spent on making life better for his ill father. On the waiting list for a heart and lung transplant, Jon's father no doubt benefitted from first-class medical care afforded by Jon's huge payout. It wasn't the only generous spending on Jon's part either, with a Mediterranean cruise for the whole family also high on the agenda. Jon's spend on himself wasn't too shabby either, with a yellow Bentley Continental GT replacing his Fiat Punto. There has been no further news from Jon since, but we're hoping he's still living the high life. Slots is in many ways a game based around luck and chance, but like any game, you stand a better chance of winning by understanding how they work. That's why, if you fancy yourself as a slot machine millionaire, you should take a look at this guide about how to win at slot machines.

Michael Carroll


Part-time binman Michael Carroll didn't have the best start to life. With spells of unemployment and a custodial sentence for shoplifting, this unlikely millionaire made headlines when he picked up £9,736,131 in 2002 after winning the National Lottery. The 19 year old ‘Lotto Lout' was soon making headlines by investing £1 million into his favourite football club, Rangers FC, and taking part in celebrity boxing matches that aimed to get him some extra cash.

Fast a few years however, and things weren't exactly going well for Carroll. A descent into parting, drinking and drugs saw Michael on the wrong side of the law again, and by 2006 he stated that he was almost broke. After threats from criminals and the murder of his five Rottweilers, Carroll paid a blackmail ransom and left the mansion in Downham Market that famously got trashed during his time living there.

Carroll eventually ended up asking for his old job as a binman back – but he did state that he didn't regret blowing almost all of his entire winnings. However, his investment in Rangers continues to pay him an income, and a 2006 book also allows a small income that allows him to continue living without a job.

Archie Karas


If you win your fortune at the casino, then what better way to lose it all than by trying to make more? Archie Karas was a Greek-American gambler who arrived in Las Vegas in the early 1990s with a $10,000 loan and a plan to make enough to never work again. Karas then went on the world's longest and most successful hot streak, turning his initial loan into a $40 million fortune in only a couple of years, before blowing the lot in the same year he peaked.

Using a mixture of bullying tactics and sheer luck, Karas rode a series of huge bankroll wins up the chain, with incidents including sitting with $5 million in front of him at the poker table and challenging anyone to take him on. His downfall began when he lost $11 million playing dice, before gambling the rest away on Baccarat in only a few weeks. With his last million, he played a freezeout match against famous gamblers Johnny Chan, and won, but ended up losing the rest just a few days after, leaving him back at zero.

The amazing thing about Karas is that he didn't really learn his lesson. He came back to Vegas a few years later and turned $40,000 into $1 million, which was then pumped up to $4 million. He lost it all again, and has since only won much smaller amounts.

Blowing your winnings on a noble cause, having a great time or by trying to win more may sound like fiction, but all of these stories are absolutely true. In fact, there are plenty of stories of people ending up worse off than before they won big, proving that money isn't the solution to all of life's problems. Naturally, having enough not to worry anymore would be nice, but gamblers should be very careful what they wish for and bear these tales of woe in mind if they do strike it lucky.

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