The 8 Most Bizarre Tales of Jackpot Winners

05th July5 min read

We’ve all heard stories of people winning the jackpot. They casually strolled to the slot machine, sat down and luck struck. They walk home with six-figures and went for a holiday; boring! Well, none of those stories are as good as these. Here’s a guy who dreamt of winning in his sleep, went to the casino and won. Another dude who had a lucky lottery ticket but did not realise it. These are the juiciest, most bizarre jackpot stories on the Internet.

The Guy who was Shortchanged

The unidentified lotto winner on CCTV!

A young man heads to a petrol station in California, to claim his winning lottery scratch card money. This bit is all standard fare – the cashier gave him $75 and he leaves. As the man leaves, the cashier realises the mistake. She shows the ticket to the other cashier and says, “Uh oh, this doesn’t look like $75. This looks like $75,000.” The most bizarre bit? It seems that the man did not realise the blunder either!

The petrol station manager has since contacted the lottery officials and released the CCTV footage to the media – but no one has yet to find the winner. At the time of writing, he has four months left to collect his prize. We’d be happy to claim that cash for him.

Mr Nice Guy

This story starts off like any jackpot winner story. A local Las Vegas man spends $20 and five minutes, and walks away with the coveted $14 million jackpot on the Megabucks slot machine. He rarely visits the casino, and had brought his visiting friend for a casual visit. Luck happens when you least expect it.  It’s what you do with your luck, right?

Well, Mr Nice Guy does it right. This local man goes on to donate some of his winnings to charity. He is building a new church building in his neighbourhood, as the church had been holding services in the high school gymnasium.

The ‘Lotto Lag’

Here’s Lee Ryan, one of the first big winners in 1995. He pocketed a £6.5million jackpot weeks before he was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing cars. He claimed that the lottery win had saved him from pursuing a more serious crime – armed robbery.

After serving his time, he leaves and spent the lot on a fleet of cars (a Bentley, a Ferrari, a Porsche, a BMW; all with personalised numberplates LEE 1, LEE 2, LEE3 and LEE 4). He also bought two Ducati superbikes, a £125,000 plane, a £235,000 JetRanger helicopter and a million-pound country mansion. Today, Lee says “the money was cursed.” His wife left him, his Porsche was set on fire, his cleaner stole £40,000. Later, he moves to Kyrgyzstan with his second wife and loses £2 million in a series of misfortunes and failed business ventures. He moves back to London and spent two years sleeping rough in London. Today, Lee is 54 and has made it back on his feet. He rents a two-room flat and makes less than £10,000 a year. Lee has vowed, “I’m doing OK now – and one day I’ll be wealthy again.”

Cute Grandparents who were Happy with £25

Hear the story from Denise herself; it’ll warm your heart.

“We were sat watching the television and the live draw show. “I wasn’t paying that much attention, I was messing around on my laptop. “Robert saw the first ball drop and shouted out – we have one number ….then it was …. We have two numbers, as the third ball dropped he just screamed, we have £25, three numbers!

The conversation just went on and I went numb … the next thing Robert shouted was oh my goodness, we have four numbers … It was at that point I started to pay attention and Robert just let out this almighty scream, even louder than the first – we have won the jackpot!”

That night, the couple took home £6,311,254. Both of them quit their jobs immediately, booked a world cruise and planned to treat their seven children and 15 grandchildren. 

The Legend who Bet All of His Belongings on Red

Ashley Revell is a name that’ll go down in Roulette history. He made an ultimate bet. After being inspired by his friends in the pub, this young man from Kent sold everything he owned – his Rolex watch, a BMW, gold clubs and all the other little things too. His parents disagreed, but he continued anyway.

Six months later, Ashley travels to Vegas along with a film crew from Sky and a tuxedo he had rented. He exchanges £76,480 for chips and headed to the Roulette table and bet them all on red. The ball landed on number seven. Red. Ashley left with £156,680 and went home to buy his stuff back. He went travelling for a year, invested some winnings in his own online poker company and it all ended happily ever after. (Disclaimer: do not try this at home.)

The Guy who Won the Jackpot Twice

He's one cool old man.

No one is luckier than this 92-year-old man. Elmer Sherwin has won the Megabucks progressive jackpot twice in his life. Sherwin won $5 million in 1989 and $21 million in 2005. The probability of hitting the jackpot is one in 50 million; the probability of winning it twice is technically 1 in 25,000,000,000,000,000.

Did dedication and persistence pay a part? Maybe. Sherwin was a frequent visitor of the Cannery Casino in North Las Vegas. Over the years, he became a loyal fan of IGT’s Megabucks Slot because, as he says, “it pays.” In fact, he had set his sights on winning twice! His strategy was to just keep at it. He was not after the money though, he was after the prestige of hitting it twice; since he knew no one had done it. He is not satisfied though, Sherwin is now trying for a third win on the Megabucks. Well, good luck with that!

The Taxi Driver who Dreamt About His Win

Goksel Selay is 53 year old chap from Swanley. He dreams of winning at his local casino. Few days later, he decides to end his shift early after a quiet night of collecting fares and heads to Genting Club Westcliff in Southend. After a few rounds on the Roulette table, Selay turned to Blackjack and was dealt four aces, worth £89,850!

“I could not believe it, it’s the first time in my life I have had such a big win,” said a delighted Selay. “I had had a dream a few days earlier about winning big money and told my wife about it.” The moral of the story is: listen to your dreams.

The Printing Error

Notice the line missing through the middle. There are dots and letters missing.

This one is heart-breaking. Tom Gray from Essex thought he had won the jackpot when he found two matching numbers on his National Lottery scratchcard. There were two dice, with four dots each. When his daughter tried to claim the prize, lottery officials told her that he had only won £2! It turns out, one of the dice was supposed to have five dots. Here’s a picture of the disputed lottery ticket.

Mr Gray, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer a few months before winning, had started planning how he would spend his £80,000 winnings – on his children and grandchildren, and paying his car off. As his daughter put it, “I was gutted for my dad because he had already started thinking about what he was going to do for his kids. That’s what he’s mostly upset about. He’s really down about it.”

There isn’t much anyone can do to help Tom either. The outcome of the National Lottery scratch card games are predetermined at the time of print. Since Tom’s card was not listed in the central database of winners, Camelot could not award Tom the prize.

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