They say that statistically speaking you’ve more chance of being struck by lightning.
But we’d imagine winning millions of pounds on the Lottery would be just as much of a shock to the system. It’s a life-changing moment.
So what really happens once you realize you’ve got a winning set of numbers? Do they just dump £10 million in your account and let you loose to blow it however you want? Do people immediately quit their job and buy a Ferrari?
Well, no, there’s more to it than that and you’ll need to be thinking about financial, legal and media advice. And, yes, there really is the possibility of a secret bank account.
We spoke to the Andy Carter, Camelot’s Senior Winners Advisor in Cardiff, to find out.
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.
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 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 £1m 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 caempathizese with how they’re feeling. Make no mistake, winning can be a shock and can take a lot of getting used to.
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.