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What Is the “Lottery Curse” That Affects Winners?

Winning the lottery is often considered a blessing, but there is something called the “lottery curse” that frightens people who try their luck with numbers. The lottery curse is the belief that the easy money that comes with the jackpot does not belong to that person, resulting in bankruptcy and the ruin of their life as a whole.


  • The lottery curse simply covers bad habits and choices.
  • There are good practices to avoid post-win trouble.
  • Unlucky events may happen to anyone and that is life.
  • You should not worry about a curse and just keep playing.

Is the Lottery Curse Real?

We may choose to believe in whichever we deem fit when it comes to unpredictable events such as winning the lottery, including the curse that may fall upon winners. A curse is not something we can guarantee that exists; it is only the track of events that can lead us to confirm or deny that belief.

Therefore, if you are prone to believe in superstition, including horoscope lottery numbers, and less about the lottery winning math, there is a good chance you will believe in the lottery curse.

Now, talking about facts, all the lottery winners stories that end up in tragedy and are related to the lottery curse have one or more aspects in common:

  • Lack of control of money expenditure.
  • Betrayal of people the winners used to trust.
  • Trying to help more people than they could.
  • Maintenance or beginning of bad habits.

Also, although unfortunate events happen, regardless of whether you are a lottery winner or not, it is a fact that the media and news focus on polemics and surprising events. That is proof that bad things happening to lottery winners is not the rule but the exception; otherwise, it would not be as shocking as it always is.

There are many lottery success stories that you can use to get inspired and forget about the so-called curse.

The lottery curse is a simplistic way of summarizing certain bad events that occurred to lottery winners, but being prepared and preserving good habits can keep you away from it.

How to Avoid the Lottery Curse?

Having your lucky numbers randomly drawn from a machine or by software does not start a cascade of bad events in your life. At least, there is no reason to believe that. Instead, the lottery curse results from not being prepared to have your life changed entirely.

The five tips that we collected below are more than enough to prevent anything that is predictable from happening to you. As a result, your only concern should be which lottery numbers to pick.

Seek Financial Advisors

From understanding if you can avoid lottery taxes to making sure you are not owing anything and planning your financial life, you need professional advice. Of course, that is unnecessary and expensive if your Pick 3 strategy results in a $500 prize, but anything from five or maybe six figures requires special attention.

There are specialized lottery lawyers who have worked with real lottery winners in the past and know the law enough to keep you away from trouble. More importantly, you need a plan to understand how much of your prize you should invest before thinking of spending it all. Even if you are a Mega Millions jackpot winner, history says that you can lose it all.

Stay Quiet About Your Prize

Sometimes not even your family needs to know you are a lottery winner. Carefully think if everyone with whom you have close contact or are related to at some level is worthy of your trust. There are cases in which we have people close to us that are in no trouble until we have something that could benefit us.

Fortunately, that may not be your case at all, and you could only not tell people who have no need to know about your lottery prize. The stories of the lottery curse usually involve other people who started to cause problems or harm to winners. Therefore, it is better not to announce your luck to everyone and keep it to your beloved and trustworthy ones.

Claim as an Anonymous Winner If You Can

Some states and countries allow you to remain an anonymous lottery winner. The benefit is obvious: you do not show your face when claiming the prize, and your name will not be known unless you want.

In some cases, you might even be able to hire a trust to claim on your behalf, even if anonymous winning is not allowed. The reason is the same as not telling everyone about your prize: your safety. Just make sure to do it before time runs out, or else you will lose your prize due to unclaimed lottery tickets.

Discretion Is the Key

Even if you do not say a word about your lottery prize, people will suspect you if you quit your job and start buying expensive stuff. After all, even if you are entitled to remain an anonymous lottery winner, people will know someone in the area won the prize, and you will become suspect number one.

The problem is the same as disclosing your prize intentionally. Some people will pressure you to help them, and there are also those who may plan some kind of harm to you. If you want to stay clear from the lottery curse, you want those people away.

Eliminate Debt

Existing debt can be a big trouble, even for lottery winners, and especially if they run at big fees. Although it might be unpleasant to people who win the lottery and have considerable debt, it is better to pay it all off before using the lottery money for anything else.

The reason is simple: the so-called lottery curse can reach you through the simple fact that the debt won’t cease to exist because you won a lottery jackpot. At some point, it might corrode what you have left and put you in a position worse than you had before the prize.

Lottery Winners Affected By the Curse

Before closing on the subject of the lottery curse, let’s get to know some winners who have gone through it. With those stories in mind, you can finally decide if you believe in a curse or if we are right in our theory that they were only unprepared or terribly unlucky.

Abraham Shakespeare

This inspiring name belongs to a Florida Lottery winner of $17 million after taxes but was not so lucky in other aspects of life. Abraham Shakespeare was really generous but lacked the knowledge to know what to do with his money, so he started to spend it helping family and friends with new houses and loans.

After spending nearly $15 million of his newly-acquired fortune, he met Dee Dee More, a writer who promised to write a book about his story and generate more income. However, Dee Dee More actually convinced him to stay away from everyone while she controlled his money, and eventually, as the investigation found out after he went missing for months, killed him.

Work of the lottery curse? It seems more likely to be a series of unhappy events that happened to someone who did not have the right information and support.

Jack Whittaker

When he claimed his Powerball prize back in December 2002, Andre Whittaker Jr. could not expect what life had in store for him. His enormous prize of $315 million brought him unhappiness and, in the opinion of some people, the infamous lottery curse.

Back then, it was the largest jackpot ever won in the United States by a single winner. He was left with $113.4 million after taxes, almost a third of the original prize, but all the fame and attention he was receiving resulted in lawsuits and scandals instead of happiness.

Aside from endless requests for money, he was left by his wife, an acquaintance of his drug-addicted granddaughter, who was found dead at his own home, and later his granddaughter herself died. Later, he lost his daughter to cancer and his own house to fire. All those problems led him to addiction, including drinking and gambling addiction.

Robbed dozens of times, Whittaker Jr. is possibly one of the saddest stories of lottery winners and one of the first examples to support the lottery curse. He is no longer among us, although the cause of his death is uncertain.

You may connect it to the lottery curse, but we also need to agree that some people only have unfortunate events in life. His bad choices and habits combined with them resulted in the tragedy you just read.

Jeffrey Dampier

Jeffrey Dampier won $20 million in the Illinois Lottery back in 1996, and he seemed generous and kind, supporting his family even after the divorce later on. However, his generosity with his wife’s family could be due to the fact that he had an affair with his sister-in-law, Victoria Jackson.

Victoria, in turn, had her own lover with whom she planned to put her hands on a larger sum of Dampier’s wealth by kidnapping him. The persuasion went wrong, and she ended up shooting him, which resulted in the prison of Victoria and her boyfriend, Nathaniel.

Some people may call it a lottery curse, but do you really believe winning the lottery resulted in making someone else evil? Dampier made a poor decision in his choice of partner, and that had its consequences.

Jonas Lucas Alves Dias

Jonas Lucas Alves Dias was the winner of a big R$ 47.1 million jackpot in Mega-Sena in 2020. He lived well for two years, but things changed in September 2022, when he was kidnapped after going for a walk.

After being kept captive for 20 hours, he was left hurt to die on the road, and that became his unfortunate fate. All the people involved in the crime are now in prison. Although Jonas was not living in luxury, he had decided to stay in the same neighborhood despite his friend’s advice to move away.

In summary, although this case was not an “inside man’s job” like others listed here, the problem is that other people knew about it, and his wealth attracted criminals.

Michael Carroll

Michael Carroll won £9.7m in 2002 playing the UK Lotto at the age of only 19 and managed to spend it all within 10 years. He used his money for all sorts of bad habits, including drugs, and did not know how to invest the money.

The lottery curse theory falls apart when Michael himself says that he would not have done anything differently if he could go back in time. He lived 10 happy years in his perspective and managed to have his job and wife back after he lost it all. To us, that last part alone, after all he had done, already sounds like pure luck.

Should You Worry About the Lottery Curse?

Bad things may happen even to those who were lucky enough to strike a lottery jackpot. In the majority of cases, it is a combination of bad choices and habits that leads the person to bankruptcy or pure unhappiness. Therefore, you have no reason to worry if you follow our 10 tips on what to do if you win the lottery and keep trouble away.



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