LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KARK) – The current Mega Millions jackpot is $555 million, a life-changing amount of money for anyone lucky enough to win it, but what would you buy if you got the top prize?
According to Worthly.com, the most common purchases with lottery winnings include luxury vacations, paying off debts, new cars, new houses and gifts for friends and families.
Some folks, however, spent their winnings more creatively.
In New York, John and Linda Kutey were part of a syndicate in 2011 that won a $319 million jackpot and received $28.7 million to share. They used the money to launch a waterpark that was created in honor of their parents that also contributes to their community.
When Joe Denette won the Virginia lottery in 2009, he chose to spend the money on creating his own NASCAR team. After consulting with driver Kevin Harvick, Denette officially launched his own team in 2011 as part of the Camping World Truck Series.
In 2009, 19-year-old Jonathan “Jay” Vargas became one of the youngest lottery winners in the United States and launched a bid to join the entertainment industry. He created an all-female wrestling promotion called Wrestlicious, which featured scantily clad women in a mix of wrestling matches and sketch comedy. The company ended up folding after only one season of production.
While most lottery-winning stories turn from a dream to a nightmare when the cash is gone, a Georgia man blew his lottery winnings in historically destructive fashion. Ronnie Music Jr., 46, spent part of his $3 million in lottery winnings on trafficking methamphetamines, which led to a 21-year prison sentence on drug conspiracy and firearm charges.
The idea of wild expenditures from a jackpot isn’t strictly an American concept – many lottery winners from other countries have also found distinct ways to spend their cash.
For instance, Peter Lavery, an Irishman who won the UK lottery, decided to launch his own whiskey distillery in Belfast. The company is now known as Titanic Distillers and has been a major success, which led to even more success for Lavery.
Sarah Cockings, a British woman who won $5.1 million in the lottery in 2006, also made expensive purchases with her family in mind. She bought breast augmentations for herself and for both of her sisters.
The next Mega Millions drawing will be held on Tuesday, July 19.