A National Lottery chief has shed light on what happens to lucky winners whose numbers come up – and how they avoid the whole world finding out.
And surprisingly, it turns out that not everyone hands in their notice immediately after finding out about their win.
It takes just 48 hours for winnings to be transferred, revealed Andy Carter, Camelot’s Senior Winners Adviser in Cardiff, to Wales Online .
But to avoid your happy news leaking, he recommends you open a special account, which staff in your local branch will know nothing about.
His advice comes after a UK ticket holder claimed the £77.7million jackpot won in last night’s EuroMillions draw, but their identity – or identities – remain a mystery so far.
Here’s what Andy Carter had to say:
My numbers came up – what do I do now?
You ring the number on the back of your ticket to make your claim. That call will get through to a call centre where staff are dedicated to dealing with Lottery related matters. It’s not just winners – the staff there also take calls from newsagents who want to order more scratch cards or whose Lottery ticket dispenser isn’t working, that kind of thing. So, it’s a bit of a lottery for them too regarding who’ll be on the other end of the line.
Does the amount I win make a difference?
Yes, it does – £50k or above means your details are passed on to me and my team and we arrange to pay you a visit. Under £50k and you can just go along to a post office and have the money paid out to you there via a cheque.
What happens when you arrive at the front door?
We make sure the winners have the support and advice they need as we take them though process and all the paperwork. It’s about holding their hand during what can be a really head-spinning moment in their lives.
- The biggest UK winners Colin and Chris Weir scooped £161million in 2011
- The odds of winning the EuroMillions jackpot are one in 140million
Check recent EuroMillions draw results
So when do I get my money?
The winnings are transferred electronically in 48 hours and we recommend it doesn’t go into a normal high street savings account – instead we suggest winners open a a private account (most of the big banks have teams which deal only with Lottery winners and the very wealthy ) which is shielded from the knowledge of ordinary branch staff. That way no one can leak news of a person’s win.
Can’t I just have the cash and stuff a mattress with it?
No, that’s not happening.
How long do you hold my hand?
It kind of depends – some people might not have anyone around them to chat to, particularly those who wish to remain anonymous. So they might choose to stay in touch a lot longer, just to talk things over.
By and large though, it’s those who elect to have their win made public with whom we have the longest relationship because they act as advocates for us. The private ones generally tend to move on the quickest.
Even though I just became £1million richer I’m not sure about giving up my job just yet – is that natural?
I think the British public are pretty reserved as a rule – put it this way, few and far between are the occasions when I’ve arrived at someone’s house to find they’ve already handed in their notice. There have even been a couple of times when someone’s told me they can’t possibly meet for a least a couple of weeks because they’re got too much on at the office!
I think it’s because the majority of them never expected to win in the first place, so when that fantasy we all have about telling our boss where to stick it suddenly becomes reality it doesn’t seem quite so easy. It’s like when people retire and, for a while at least, feel a bit lost as to what to do next.
Do you ever see the winners again?
A couple of weeks later we’ll have a follow-up meeting with a lawyer and a financial expert to make sure everyone’s happy with their decisions and to answer any questions they might have.
We also put them in touch with other winners – because often they’re the only ones who can empathise with how they’re feeling. Make no mistake, winning can be a shock and can take a lot of getting used to.
Lottery tips and dreams
Can you play the lottery yourself?
No, I’m not allowed, neither can I accept money or gifts off winners – I’ve had some people offer to take me out to dinner to say thank you but I always have to turn them down.
It’s a rare privilege, though, to be part of someone’s life for such a momentous period.
And although I know they won’t remember my name when they’re 80, I know they’ll never ever forget the day I turned up at their front door.