Gambling’s biggest winners – where are they now?
We read about it all the time – normal ordinary people playing a casino game or entering the lottery, and winning life-changing amounts in seconds! But what do they actually do with the money, where are they now, and was it worth hitting the jackpot in the first place? Let’s take a look.
Ashley Revell – $270,000
How often have you thought about risking it all on the outcome of a single bet? It’s the kind of thing you think about when you’re feeling particularly rebellious, but not something you’d actually do in real life. Unless of course, your name is Ashley Revell.
One night out at a pub with friends, the idea of betting everything on the single spin of a Roulette wheel came up – and while most of us would have dismissed it out of hand, Ashley took the idea and ran with it. Unable to let the tantalising idea go, the 32-year-old from London sold all his earthly possessions, including his BMW, golf clubs and Rolex, accumulating a hefty sum of £80,000 to spend on his once-in-a-lifetime bet.
From London, England to Las Vegas, Nevada – that’s how far Ashley’s dream took him, and that’s where he decided to place his historic wager. After plans with the Hard Rock Hotel fell through, Ashley switched to the Plaza Hotel & Casino, where a huge PR event awaited him. Offering Ashley a free suite and a private Roulette table, the hotel had organised for the occasion to be broadcast on live television, turning one small bet from a pub into a huge worldwide spectacle.
When the time finally came to place his legendary bet, Ashley was stumped. Should he go for black, or red? At first he decided on black, but at the last minute, pressured by his supporters, he switched to red – and watched the Roulette ball land in the pocket of number 7 on the wheel. Red. In that instant, his fortunes changed from £80,000 to an unbelievable £153,680, effectively doubling his entire worldly wealth.
What did Ashley do to celebrate? Well, after popping a bottle of champagne (naturally), he headed off on a motorcycle trip round Europe, managing to continue his luck by meeting his future wife in the Netherlands. After returning home, he took a gamble on his entrepreneurial skills and set up his own businesses – first the online poker company Poker UTD, and then the online gambling recruitment company iGaming Recruitment. Today Ashley leads a relatively ‘normal’ life with his wife and children, working during the day and still meeting his friends in the pub for drinks. Although we don’t think he’s making plans for any future life-changing bets – once was probably enough!
John and Lisa Robinson – $327.8 million
Have you ever dreamed of winning a multi-million lottery jackpot? Decided how you’d spend your winnings and how you’d spend your time as one of the ultra-rich? Well, when John and Lisa Robinson won a third of the USA’s colossal $1.58 billion Powerball jackpot, that exact fantasy became a true-to-life reality.
After taking their winnings as a lump sum in the amount of $327.8 million before taxes, the Robinsons initially decided to keep their lives as normal as possible – same house, same jobs, same lifestyle. We have to say, we’re not sure if that’s the path we’d take with over $300 million to our name – and it turns out that the Robinsons ultimately didn’t either, as just two years after hitting the jackpot, they moved out of their ordinary suburban home into a 10-bedroom mansion worth $6.2 million. Now that’s what we’re talking about!
Today the Robinsons are still enjoying their ultra-extravagant home and all its creature comforts, from eight bathrooms to a home cinema, and a private lake as part of their 320-acre spread. While Lisa did actually try to go back to work, the environment wasn’t a particularly welcoming one after such a big win, and so today she and her husband mainly keep to themselves, and enjoy a quiet life – and a hugely luxurious one too!
Elmer Sherwin – $21,147,947
Known as the luckiest man in Vegas, Elmer Sherwin was the king of the slots, hitting the Megabucks jackpot not once, but twice! The first time Elmer struck it lucky, his win coincided with the opening of the Strip’s famed Mirage Hotel in 1989. One fateful spin and one jackpot later, and Elmer was $4.6 million richer – a fortune by anyone’s account!
While most of us would count ourselves lucky to win even one slots jackpot in our lifetime, Lady Luck wasn’t done with Elmer yet. In fact she came out to play just a few years later in 2005, when Elmer felt lucky enough to sit down at a Megabucks machine again, this time at the Cannery Casino & Hotel, again in Las Vegas. Turns out his lucky feeling was right – because this time instead of $4.6 million, Elmer struck it SUPER rich with a massive $21,147,947 jackpot!
What’s Elmer doing now? Well unfortunately he passed away just two years later in March 2007, but not before donating a significant portion of his winnings to the Hurricane Katrina relief fund, and using his jackpot to support his family too. A true gentleman, right to the end.
Gloria MacKenzie – $278 million
If you think life is over when you hit the age of 80, think again. For Gloria MacKenzie from Zephyr Hills, Florida, life was only just beginning when she won $278 million after taxes on the US Powerball! Even more amazing than the 1 in 175 million odds that Gloria had to beat to win the prize is the fact that she won it by accident – when the person in front of her in the queue to buy tickets let her go first.
What do you do with $278 million when you’re 84 years old? Why you splash out of course, which is exactly what Gloria did, buying a $1.2 million home, donating $2 million to her local high school and giving part of her winnings to her son as well. Just goes to show, you’re never too old to play, and you’re never too old to win big either. In fact, you’re only ever a bet away from a potentially winning outcome. So will the next story we tell be yours? We sure hope so!
Happy Spinning 🙂