Lottery Winners Want Washing Machines

Posted: July 2, 2014

Updated: October 4, 2017

Research shows lottery winners need time to build up the courage to spend on high price items

Lotteries are some of the oldest forms of organized gambling in the world with many European nations bolstering their coffers during the 16th century’s fraught economic times. Some five hundred years later they’re still going strong with lotteries in the Czech Republic, France, Spain, The US and indeed numerous other countries and for all too similar reasons.

It is perhaps the longevity that makes them so acceptable to societies that very often look down upon gambling per se. Even in the UK where full legal gambling has been widespread since the 1960s there is still a stigma of sorts that is applied. The National Lottery, however, seems almost exempt from this sneering.

That may be the nationalized nature of lotteries, with many generating millions for ’good causes’ and nearly all taxed, or perhaps it is that they’re gambling for all. The elitism of the casino is well known, and even bookmakers can be daunting to your average new punter, but a supermarket or tobacconists?

With so many able to easily buy a lottery ticket and stand a chance of winning (however small that chance might actually be) they remain one of the most popular and widespread gambling institutions in the world. Which leaves us all with the ability to sit back, close our eyes and wonder what we’d spend the money on if we won the lottery.

Sofa So Good

Internet gambling in the Czech Republic on the increase

● Lotteries face new competition

● Internet gambling squeezes market

● Winners buy white goods first

Oddly people actually placed in that position, those who actually DO win the lottery often shy away from the sort of spending spree that you might imagine. You might be picturing a Lamborghini, stately home in the country or hot and cold running bunny girls, but the reality is slightly different.

Research carried out by the online retailer Pixmania has contradicted this intuitive feeling that when suddenly in possession of far more money than we’ve ever seen before, we would all rush out and spend it on the fripperies and frivolities of life.

Their study of 50 people who won over $1m on the lottery reveals that far from buying up yachts and sports cars the first thing most of us would do after winning would be to buy a washing machine and a sofa within 10 days.

Now I’m sure more than a few of you reading this think that shows a remarkable lack of imagination and that any 10 period after winning the lottery that doesn’t include cocaine and prostitutes is probably lacking a certain amount of ambition, but apparently it’s entirely normal.

Psychologically Affordable

Mark Coulson, Principle Lecturer in Psychology at Middlesex University makes it clear that although our financial status can change overnight our mental ability to comprehend the new situation lags behind with the result that we’re unable to process the new abilities we possess.

“However much we might dream of winning the lottery, very few people actually believe it will ever happen to them. Although the extravagant items are now financially affordable, they are not yet psychologically affordable as they exist in an unfamiliar world – the world of the rich.” He said.

So rather than dashing out and splurging on a Porche we’re far more likely to buy items of far lesser status. After the Washing Machine and Sofa the next most popular item for winners of the lottery to purchase is an ipad. Yup. All the money in the world and they buy a piece of plastic to fondle.

Other items included handbags, sports shirts, and trainers. Which probably says more about how over-priced those items are than the tastes or mental state of the winners.
A holiday only just ranks in the top twenty alongside vacuum cleaners, fridge freezers and the somewhat pedestrian new television.

Trainer No Brainer

A winner of $1.8 million on the UK’s National Lottery Mr. Roger Griffiths agreed with the findings saying that winning such a huge amount of money leaves you wondering where to start. Mr. Griffiths himself began by buying four pairs of trainers, which on the face of it seems rather conservative. But is it?

The fact is that winning the lottery anywhere doesn’t give you an expanded list of things to purchase but a freedom from the mental list we all carry round that catalogues all the things we can’t purchase. Winning the lottery doesn’t necessarily provide the ability to make dreams come true but it can sure stave off the nightmares.

Gambling laws in the Czech Republic and across Europe means the National Lotteries are facing stiffer competition that before but are is still projected to continue well into the foreseeable future. The fact is people like them. They’re disposable gambling in that once you buy the ticket there is no more effort required.

And for the price of that ticket you might only get the same chance of winning as you do the chance of being hit by an asteroid made out of cheese, but that’s enough to allow you to take a break and dream for a while about what you’d spend the money on if you won the lottery.

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