If you’ve taken a look at the tabloids lately you’ve probably come across the name Jane Park. The 21-year-old from Edinburgh has been pictured partying with her friends, shopping for a Mercedes, and posting revealing photos on social media. She vacationed in the Maldives and bought a plush three-bedroom house, designer gear, and a purple Range Rover. She is also reportedly dating former X-Factor singer Sam Callahan.
Who is Jane Park and why is the media constantly reporting her escapades? Jane Park was just 17 when she purchased her first-ever lottery ticket and ended up winning £1,000,000 to become Britain’s youngest EuroMillions winner.
Since then, she has been living it up except when she has gotten into trouble. She was banned from driving for 18 months after being arrested at a McDonald’s drive-through while driving her BMW in an intoxicated state. Her Snapchat account was hacked. And she stated on television that she was considering legal action against Camelot, operators of the National Lottery, claiming that her win at such a young age had ruined her life.
Also appearing regularly in the tabloids is Adrian Bayford, who along with his wife Gillian won a £148million EuroMillions jackpot in 2012. The couple divorced and Adrian started up with a former stables girl who he showered with 30 horses. Adrian’s new love left him and began selling off the horses. And then Bayford’s mansion was burglarized, with thieves taking jewellery, cash, and other luxury items totalling £100,000.
Other British lottery winners who ended up losing their fortunes include Callie Rogers, who became Britain’s youngest lottery winner ever in 2003. She spent her £1.9 million jackpot prize on clothes, plastic surgery, fancy sports cars, and cocaine. And then there is the story of Michael Carroll, who won a £9.7 million jackpot in 2002 only to waste it on drink, drugs, property, cars, and holidays. According to the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP), nearly a third of all big lottery winners end up declaring bankruptcy.
Why does the media keep reporting these stories? It’s because the media knows that we can’t help but read them. When huge jackpots are won, we envy the winners and fantasize what we could do with such an incredible windfall. And when lottery winners fall on hard times, we know that we would be much more careful with our money. We don’t want to miss the next draw, purchase our EuroMillions tickets, and are confident that we won’t repeated the mistakes of previous winners.
Of course not every lottery winner runs into trouble. Some follow good financial advice and ensure their financial future by making sound investments. As their success fades from the limelight, the media turns its attention once again to controversies sure to make for flashy headlines. The media knows that the public’s fascination with lottery winners will never end.