A British winner of more than £2.2m has decided to keep his identity private, in an attempt to avoid the media hustle that can surround such big prizes.
The unnamed individual won the £2,244,533.32 jackpot on Mega Fortune, a popular online slots game that can be played on a variety of sites across the web and has a reputation of paying out huge prizes. The game involves a five-reel slot machine with 25 paylines and a progressive jackpot that pools the money of thousands of players together to create the large payouts.
Similar to the lottery, most online slots are a simple game of chance, where people gamble with very slim odds to win huge prizes. And this week’s anonymous winner is just the latest in a series of large prizes for progressive jackpot games, with the largest ever pot won by another Briton, Jon Heywood, in October 2015 when he took home £13,209,300 after playing Microgaming’s wildly popular Mega Moolah.
As with the life-changing sums people can win by playing the lottery, many online gambling winners also choose to remain anonymous to protect themselves both from the media intrusion. For example, half of the top twelve largest EuroMillions winners have chosen to remain anonymous, with the largest anonymous claim being a £113m win in October 2010.
Whilst staying anonymous may sound like the easiest option, in reality the media interest is generally quite short lived for all but the very biggest winners, unless they choose to use the money to fund political causes like Scotland’s Colin and Chris Weir who bankrolled much of the Scottish independence campaign in 2014.
Many of those who do chose to go public with their win, do so in order to avoid creating a web of lies to explain their new-found wealth to family and friends, and the distance such lies can cause. Moreover, they understand that secrets like lottery wins are likely to come out at some point, and it is often better to be upfront at the start.
Whichever path people choose, lottery winners are offered significant aftercare and support in an attempt by the operators to stop their winners falling victim of the lottery curse. As National Lottery’s Senior Winners’ Advisor, Andy Carter, explains, the aftercare is both to provide access to important independent legal and financial advice, but also to give winners someone they can confide in about their concerns about such a life-changing event. If these progressive jackpot games continue to produce such huge prizes, it may soon be time for them to also offer aftercare services to their winners.