Bill Morgan, a 37-year-old Australian truck driver living in a caravan, won the lottery twice in the most bizarre set of circumstances. After surviving a heart attack, which led to his heart stopping for 14 minutes, Morgan decided to try his luck on the lottery and promptly won a car with a winning ticket. The local news station in Melbourne wanted to feature his good fortune as a news story and asked Morgan to return to the store where he bought his winning ticket, to re-enact the buy and scratching of his ticket. Lo and behold, when Morgan was filmed scratching the duplicate card he found he had won the lottery again and this time a bigger amount, a very healthy AU$250,000 ($180k/£134k).
Indianapolis resident Robert Hamilton had a very memorable 2014 when he won the lottery twice in the space of three months. The first win happened when he bought a ticket at a convenience store in Indiana and won $1 million (£774,000). A few months later, he purchased another $1 million winning ticket in a different local store. After the first win, Hamilton bought a house and paid off all his debts. After the second win, he bought a motorcycle and said: "It's the icing on the cake." At the time, Hoosier Lottery officials said the odds of winning a top prize from its scratchcard game are one in 2.1 million.
Mary Riedel was extremely lucky when she won the Ohio Lottery twice in 2014. Mary's first win was in the 40th Anniversary Millions where she took home a cheque for $50,000 (£37,740). The generous mother didn't even spend the money on herself, instead giving it to her daughter to help her buy a house. Four months later, Mary bought another ticket at a gas station in Brunswick and won a few dollars. Instead of taking the money home, she asked the clerk to pick her another ticket. They picked one out and Mary scratched her way to $100,000 (£75,500). She plans to use the money to add to her retirement fund. Asked how she felt Mary said, "I just feel like the luckiest person I know."
Kenneth J. Stokes was a lottery season ticket holder living in Massachusetts when he accidentally won the same jackpot twice, winning $546,000 (£412,210) in the process. Stokes had forgotten that his family had gifted him a season pass to the Massachusetts State Lottery Lucky for Life drawing with their lucky numbers, and went out to buy himself a second ticket with the exact same numbers, which turned out to be the winning digits in the draw. Experts put the odds of Stokes winning twice in one drawing as one in 985,517. If he'd chosen two sets of different numbers and still won, odds increase to one in 9.7 trillion. He planned to use his winnings to pay for his son's college tuition, daughter's remaining car payments and a vacation for the family.
Racy Pel bought lottery tickets because he liked the fact that the money raised went to California's state schools. In 2013, he purchased $20-worth of Super Lotto Plus tickets. His first ticket brought him a jackpot-winning sum of $50 million (£37.6m); his second ticket won him $32,304 (£24,335), bringing his total to a very healthy $50,032,304 (£37.7m). He didn't even cash his winnings right away. Instead, Pel waited a whole week until his day off and planned to spend some of the money on a new car.
In February 2018, Michigan man Mark Maltz won the lottery three times in one day, scooping a hefty sum of cash. It all started when truck driver Maltz stopped at a BP petrol station to fill up one of the company trucks. While inside, he bought a scratch-off ticket and won $10 (£7.67). Feeling lucky, he then decided to buy a Fast Cash ticket and won $15 (£11.61). Pushing his luck even further, he purchased a $5 (£3.87) Fast Cash Black Jack ticket and a $10 (£7.67) Jackpot Slots ticket. The Jackpot Slots ticket matched three symbols on one of the 15 spins, making him the jackpot winner with a fortune of $325,184 (£251,669) – his biggest prize. He told ABC News: “I’m going to sit on this for a little while and decide how to best invest it and make it last me a long time.”
Virginia-based Calvin and Zatera Spencer were hailed the luckiest couple in the world when they won two $1 million (£774,000) prizes and $50,000 (£38,696), making them lottery winners three times over. The truly remarkable thing about these lottery winners is that the three wins came within the space of a month. Their winning streak began on 12 March 2014 when they won $1 million in the Powerball drawing. They then won $50,000 on 26 March in the Virginia Lottery Pick 4 game before winning $1 million in a scratch-off game the very next day. After claiming the winnings, Calvin said he would continue to play the lottery, declaring: "We're not finished yet." And they weren't. In 2017 Calvin won a further $100,000 (£75,330) in a Virginia Lottery Cash 5 drawing.
Joan R Ginther has been called ‘the luckiest woman in the world’ because she has won the lottery no fewer than four times. Interestingly, all of her lottery wins have been in Texas. Experts have calculated that the chances of her winning the lottery this many times are one in 18 septillion. And it just so happens that Ginther is a former maths professor with a PhD from Stanford University in Statistics, causing some to believe foul play or, at the very least, some genius calculations on algorithms. Her first win was $5.4 million (£4.07m) in 1993. A decade later she won $2 million (£1.13m). Two years later, she won $3 million (£2.26m), and in 2008 she hit a $10 million (£7.5m) jackpot. In total, Ginther won over $20 million (£15.1m).
Richard Lustig became a celebrity when he won no fewer than seven lotteries between 1993 and 2010. His smallest prize was a holiday trip to Memphis while his largest was $842,152.91 (£633,298). In total Richard's wins earned him over $1 million (£774,000). Lustig took a slightly different path from other lottery winners. He wrote a book called Learn How To Increase Your Chances Of Winning The Lottery and appeared on multiple TV shows offering his tips on how to win your way to success. However, his methods were largely criticised for not raising anyone's odds. Financial journalist Felix Salmon even questioned how much money Lustig had spent on lottery tickets and whether he had actually ended up with any profit at all.
In 1992, Stefan Mandel won $27 million (£20.8m) in the Virginia jackpot on behalf of an Australian syndicate. But it wasn’t through luck; he schemed and planned to win it by buying every single combination of numbers possible. Astonishingly, it was his 14th jackpot win. How did he do it? "He doesn't just go out and buy random tickets," NPR’s Planet Money producer Alex Goldmark reported. "He goes to the library and he starts reading math paper after math paper after math paper, and he comes up with a formula for buying blocks of tickets that he thinks should guarantee him a prize." Unfortunately nowadays the lottery system has changed irrevocably, and the number of combinations have grown too great, meaning it's impossible to guess the winning numbers accurately.
Armand Paganelli (pictured left) is a businessman from the Bronx in New York and something of a local legend for having purchased 16 winning tickets in the space of just two years. Between 2013 and 2014, the winning tickets were all bought at the drugstore that Paganelli owns and runs with his brothers – leading some people to be suspicious about the wins. However, it is legal for retailers to buy tickets that they sell themselves. The lucky numbers have given him a fortune of $625,000 (£483,706) in jackpots. Talking about his wins, Paganelli conceded that he buys a lot of tickets as he likes to gamble. He's spent most of his winnings on his children's college education and donations to charity.
In 2019 Deborah Brown had an incredible stroke of luck when she won the lottery 30 times in just one day. She bought 20 Pick 4 tickets, all with the same combination of numbers 1-0-3-1. But throughout the day she saw the numbers multiple times and bought another 10 tickets with the same numbers at the same location. The top price in the Pick 4 category is $5,000 (£3,760). Brown won the maximum price on all 30 of her tickets, netting her an amazing $150,000 (£112,000).
Now meet some lottery winners who blew the lot