Homeless Hungarian man wins the lottery and spends it to help the homeless hostel.
Laszlo Andraschek has spent his last coins to purchase a lottery ticket last September, which netted him a whopping 630 million Forint (approx. GBP 1.7m) win. The jackpot has put him alongside the country’s biggest lottery winners under Hungarian gambling laws.
The man has no longer has to live on the streets, moreover, he is helping other less-fortunates from his sudden windfall. Las year Andraschek was unemployed, heavily in debt and facing yet another winter to spend on the streets.
The big win
Homeless Hungarian man wins the lottery
• Buys a ticket with his last money
• Wins over GBP 1.7 million under Hungarian gambling laws
• Helps a hostel for homeless and plans to open a foundation
The homeless man has spent his last money on the lottery ticket, which according to him was an impulse decision, when he was on the way to recovering alcoholics workshop in Budapest last September. Laszlo commented to Hungarian gambling news on the purchase of the ticket: “I had only picked six numbers and the female shop assistant reminded me that I needed to pick a seventh. I told her to make it 24 – it doesn’t matter, anyway.”
Well it did, big time. However, the win remained a secret until Andraschek has offered a significant donation this month to a hostel for homeless. He is also planning to utilize his winnings and create a foundation for addicts as well as women, victims of domestic abuse.
More plans to spend the winnings
55-year-old Andraschek lives in the north-west part of Hungary, Gyor. He revealed that his initial act with the money was to repay all debts, and then he went on to cycle to a car dealership. Laszlo revealed an intriguing story: “When the car salesman asked me how much I would be willing to spend, I held up three fingers. As I had arrived on a bike he assumed this meant 300,000 forints, but actually I meant 3m.”
Neither Andraschek nor his wife know how to drive or have a license, thus the new car will be driven by his children. Laszlo has also bought flats for each of his three children. The man also went on to pay off the debts of all his relatives. He’s now planning a trip to Italy, but has to wait for his passport to be made, as he has never previously held one.
Andraschek and his wife Aniko want to invest the winnings carefully, avoiding sudden spendings, most lottery winners usually have. Laszlo shared: “I have become rich but I have not become a different person. I could buy a large-screen TV because I can afford it, but I won’t buy three because I can afford it.”
Speaking about his alcoholism addiction, Laszlo said he had struggled with it before, but has already quit five years ago, and “now has no need to return”.
Hungarian gambling industry
While gambling is legal in Hungary, it’s an industry under heavy control from the government. 1991 saw a Gambling Act passing through the Parliament, which officially allowed a gambling monopoly in the country. And although later gambling regulations amendments have allowed private investments in the industry, gambling in Hungary is pretty much controlled by the state.
The national lottery, where Andraschek managed to secure his life-altering win, is run by this gambling monopoly – Szerencsejatek Zrt. It’s the largest gambling company in the country, 100% of which is state owned. The company exercises its exclusive rights to run lottery games and most prize draw ticket games in Hungary.
Szerencsejatek also owns one of Hungary’s two casinos and are heavily invested in another one. Besides lottery and prize draws, the company runs a sports betting service and has thousands points of sale across the whole country.
Hungarian law on homeless people
In a related news, after Andraschek’s whopping win, a number of human rights activists held a rally in Budapest to protest a brand new Hungarian law relating to homeless. The new law bans sleeping rough, putting additional strain on the over 30,000 homeless people in the country. The law prescribes fines and even imprisonment for those living in the streets.
During last week Hungary was not the only scene of protests. Hungarian consulates and embassies in Paris, New York, London, Vienna, Dublin, Lisbon, Essen, Brussels, and Istanbul, have all witnessed demonstrations opposing the new law.
Another protest is scheduled to take place in Budapest, Hungary next week. This time it will be organized by a Hungarian non-profit organization A Varos Mindenkie (the city is for all) – a body run exclusively by homeless people.