Inside America's lottery addiction

Are the winners happy?

Not always. Winners are often unprepared for the challenges that follow getting a big windfall, and can find themselves swamped by friends and relatives demanding loans or gifts, and financial “advisers” offering bad investment opportunities. “I had to endure the greed and the need that people have, trying to get you to release your money to them,” said Sandra Hayes, who was one of several people splitting a $224 million prize in Missouri. Several studies suggest that lottery winners are disproportionately likely to wind up bankrupt. In some cases, winners’ lives are completely ruined by their sudden wealth. West Virginia businessman Jack Whittaker was already a millionaire when he won $315 million in 2002; in the years that followed, he was robbed several times, split from his wife, and lost his granddaughter to a drug overdose. “I wish we had torn the ticket up,” he said.