When you are young you always want to be able to do the things that parents or older siblings can do. And of course, when we’re older, we’re always wishing we were younger and had less to care about in the world. Certain times come and go as we grow up, including the legal possibility of drinking alcohol, learning and passing driving tests, securing full time employment in a preferred job and more. However, one thing that comes a little bit earlier than some of these is the right to participate in the National Lottery.
In the United Kingdom, you can play all forms of the lottery and purchase lottery scratch cards from the age of 16 yet you cannot gamble in a casino, play bingo or place a bet until you are 18. While there have been discussions by the Government to increase the legal age for this to 18, this has not as of yet become law. Due to that, various big lottery winners have been people of under 18. But is this a healthy outcome for such people?
Are such big winners able to handle vast amounts of money at that age? And is there any alternate procedure when it comes to dealing with lottery winners aged 16 and 17? It is a very unique situation where people can win life changing sums of money on the lottery before they could ever think about placing a bet or having a drink.
Let’s take a look at some of the UK’s youngest lottery winners and find out what has happened to them since.
Jane Park Scoops £1 Million
Jane Park may be in her early 20s now, but when she hit a huge jackpot win on the EuroMillions lottery, she was just 17. At the time, this made her the youngest EuroMillions winner ever. The £1 million victory for Jane was scooped back in 2013, and at the time, she was living in a small, two-bedroom council house in Edinburgh, where she shared a room with her older sister. Further to that, she was working as an office assistant for around £8 an hour.
Jane would become quite the sensation for the UK upon securing her £1 million EuroMillions win, with a BBC Scotland crew following her around for a whole year. Footage from that year was released in a documentary, which was given the title of Teenage Millionaire. According to Park, the first thing she went out and purchased with her winnings was a bag by the famous designer Louis Vuitton.
She then proceeded to purchase herself a semi-detached house in November of 2013, which she paid £169,995 for, although she soon moved back into her mother’s Edinburgh home. Her reason for doing so? She was too lonely living on her own. Opting to rent the bought house out initially, Jane soon decided that she wanted to put it on the market and did so in September of the following year. It would go on to be sold for £185,000.
Seemingly, the millionaire win didn’t stop Park from working a standard job. Alas, having quit her £8 office job, Jane proceeded to start work in a chip shop in 2015. However, it seems as though that wasn’t able to bring her happiness, and in 2017, Jane travelled to Turkey to undergo a Brazilian bum lift at the age of 21. Unfortunately, as is the case with so many of these cosmetic surgeries, things didn’t go to plan. Park suffered an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic and described herself as being “swollen from head to toe” and believing she was going to die.
On her 23rd birthday, Park decided to treat herself to breast implant surgery, costing £4,500. This, she said, was one of the best things she’s ever bought herself. In 2018, she launched a website to find herself a boyfriend, and a £60,000 reward was offered for the man who became successful. One year later, she explained how she had been selling topless photos of herself for £50+, giving all proceeds to charity.
Jane States Lottery Win Made Her Life Miserable
Unfortunately, while Jane seemed like she was getting plenty of enjoyment out of her big win, she claimed that the jackpot had left her feeling “bored” with her life in general. Even though she splashed out on cars, a house, holidays and the various cosmetic procedures, Park said that she didn’t know her purpose in life.
In perhaps one of the most surprising twists to her story, it was reported that Jane was considering suing Camelot, the lottery operator. Stating that people under 18 should not be allowed to play the National Lottery or associated gambling options, Park commented that her life would be “so much easier” if she hadn’t won the EuroMillions.
Callie Rogers Bags £1.9 Million at 16
In 2003, Callie Rogers was splattered across every newspaper cover in the country. Why? Because she’d just won £1.9 million by playing the country’s National Lottery, and she was only 16 years old at the time. Prior to winning, she had been working as a checkout girl, earning around £3.60-an-hour. Obviously, winning close to 2,000,000 pounds gave her an excuse to leave her job and set about spending her money.
Rogers would proceed with having two breast augmentations costing £11,500, purchasing new clothes, make-up and tattoos that left her with £300,000 less, the best sports cars setting her back £85,000 and, reportedly, £250,000 on cocaine!
Within a month of securing her win, she had purchased a £180,000 bungalow for herself and a £76,000 home for her mum. Yet, even with all those purchases, Rogers described herself as being unhappy and that the win was “too much money for someone so young”. In fact, she even contemplated suicide at one point, taking paracetamols and sleeping pills at once. Alas, she was found by her family who promptly rushed her to hospital.
Thirteen years later, Callie had just £2,000 of her £1.9 million win left. However, she said that she was happier than ever thanks to it all disappearing. “The pressure to splash out and live a glam party life has gone,” she said. Now, she earns £12,000 a year and lives in a £500-a-month rented home and told The Mirror that she’s feeling the happiest she has ever been.
Since that time, she has called for the age limit on lottery players to be increased. However, Camelot stated that it had provided “extensive support” for Callie, which lasted for many years. According to the National Lottery operator, she refused to take up the financial and legal advice offered by them.
Ianthe Fullagar Claims £7 Million in 2008
Ianthe Fullagar may have just turned 18 when she won £7 million on the EuroMillions in 2008, but the Cumbrian girl was shocked to discover that she’d matched five numbers plus a lucky star on the game. While working as a waitress for £4.75-an-hour at the time of her lottery ticket purchase, upon discovering that she had won, she kept the ticket hidden inside her bra to ensure it wouldn’t be lost.
This lottery win led to her becoming the 27th richest young person in the United Kingdom at the time. What made it even more intriguing was that the win came from only her second time participating in the EuroMillions game. She was drawn to it due to the fact that the total jackpot was more than £100 million.
However, unlike other young winners of the lottery, Ms. Fullagar managed to keep herself grounded and didn’t go off on a huge spending spree with the funds. Instead, she went back to university after her gap year had ended to complete her law degree. She mentioned that she would share some of the money with family and friends, and potentially purchase a new car for herself. However, she made it clear that this would not be anything too flashy, and she kept herself away from the media spotlight.
Changes on the Horizon?
The cases of Jane Park and Callie Rogers have managed to highlight that in some circumstances, a huge lottery win like they obtained is too much for people of their respective ages to endure. Both of them have expressed their lack of happiness that came from securing such large wins, and that their lives would have been so much easier without the money.
It is cases like these, as well as others of young people like Michael Carroll (who was 19 when he garnered over £9 million in 2002 from a National Lottery win), Leah Sumray (who managed to collect £1 million from a scratch card win in 2007) and Luke Pittard (the 25-year-old who won £1.3 million but returned to his job at McDonalds after 18 months), that have made the government look up and take notice.
A huge crackdown on the legal lottery ticket purchasing age is supposedly set to come into force, with those under 18 being banned from accessing the Lotto and Thunderball games. Therefore, 16 and 17-year-olds will no be able to play games via purchasing a ticket in outlets or via the online website. Scratch cards will also be included in this, meaning that those underage cannot buy these either.
The crackdown is to be introduced after it was revealed that over 200,000 under 18s regularly engage in playing the lottery. According to other figures, there are fears that 55,000 children are also addicted to gambling of one sort or another. However, that crackdown on the legal age of participants is not expected to come into effect until 2023.
While gambling is considered illegal for anyone under 18 at the moment, the National Lottery and all associated games can be played by anyone of 16 and above. However, campaigners of the Clean Up Gambling association have stated that the younger you start gambling, the more likely you are to become addicted to it. This is why they campaigned for all gambling to be restricted to those 18 or over.
It doesn’t seem like Camelot has really been paying that much attention to the figures in recent times, though. It was only in 2019 that the operator introduced a scratch card featuring the Love Island theme – a television show that is known to appeal to younger people.
Help Is Available
Camelot has stated on numerous occasions that help is available for anyone who wins big on the National Lottery. According to the operator, trained advisors are on hand to offer advice and information on dealing with such vast amounts of money. These advisers are able to put winners in touch with financial experts and legal advisors. Life coaches are also on hand for them to take advantage of, if they so wish.
Should a winner take the opportunity to contact these advisors, they will have various conversations about what other big winners have found helpful. Support is provided for as long as a winner requires it. Additionally, one big issue that some people have had with being a big winner is the intense media attention. So, assistance is also provided by Camelot to help you cope with this.
“We think one of the most beneficial things is to put new millionaires in touch with previous winners,” said Andy Carter, the senior winners’ advisor of the National Lottery. “Past winners are perfect people to give advice to new winners as they have experienced those incredible emotions and can pass on their wisdom”, he finished during a conversation with Birmingham Live.
While it’s clear that many young people have found themselves enamoured by the possibility of winning big on the lottery and associated games, can it really be said that this is a healthy activity? Especially for those under 18?
Whatever the case may be, it seems that in most cases, it’s difficult for players of this age to deal with a win that is so big. And with so many youngsters involving themselves in this form of gambling, there’s the potential for those problems to arise again and again. So, will the increase in the minimum age for participating in the lottery make a difference? Well, time will tell. After all, even some of the winners who are above 18 that won the lottery have had their own share of problems.