Lotteries have made big headlines on both sides of the pond this summer – in the US for the record-breaking $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot, which was eventually claimed. In the UK, that’s because a man claimed his girlfriend cut him off from their $4 million lottery winnings after they broke up. It’s not the only time a lottery jackpot has sparked a family feud. Read on to find out how winning the lottery really brought some bad luck.
This summer, the sun a dozen bus drivers revisited from Corby, England, who won $44 million in the EuroMillions lottery in 2012. The group was able to retire and enjoy their profits – some splashing on cars and boats, while others lived relatively normal lives and continued shopping at discount stores. But one family was literally dealt a blow over the windfall. When Alex Robertson refused to share one of his $3.6 million winnings with his sons, one of them smashed his new cars.
“We ended up taking hammers to his two new 4×4 Shoguns,” said Alex Robertson, Jr. “We walked into his driveway at 11 p.m. and stuck two claw hammers through the windows of the car. Then we turned ourselves in to the police.”
“This lottery win was the worst that ever happened to us — it tore our families apart,” the junior Robertson told the Sun. His brother William, 44, was accused of harassing their father by sending him threatening text messages. But authorities dropped the case against William when Alex Robertson Sr., who had moved to Spain, refused to testify at the trial.
Sometimes splitting the money doesn’t go smoothly either. In 2018, CTV News reported on a feud that broke out between a Nova Scotia woman and her cousin over a $1 million winning ticket. When lottery authorities offered the couple two checks that split the winnings exactly in half, things got ugly. “I’m taking him to court. I’ll have my lawyer tomorrow,” Barb told Reddick CTV News. She claimed that her cousin’s name was only on the lottery ticket “for luck” and that she had only agreed to share a consolation prize, not the entire jackpot if they won it. They soon settled in court, with Reddick claiming about 75% of the profits and her cousin about 25%.
Buying lottery tickets as a group (also known as a syndicate) can also cause a lot of controversy. This year, a group of 250 people won a $60 million lottery jackpot in Australia and split the prize among them. Then a man sued the organizers of the group, claiming that he bought himself into the syndicate and would get a share of the profits. The organizers claimed that he had bought into a previous group that was not entitled to the jackpot. That case is now going to court.