Let’s look back at three big UK winners who hit the headlines.
Have you ever had a “little flutter on the gee-gees?” I bet you have if you are British, be it at a racecourse like Cheltenham, Ascot, Aintree or Newmarket, to name but a few, or in a betting shop. The word “flutter” is a term used by not a serious gambler so consequently not considered a vice just a bit of fun no more no less.
The UK government gave the green light for betting shops to open for business from the 1st of May 1961 in the hope that they would eliminate illegal street betting. In 1970 a new gaming act put more restrictions on all gaming, including Bingo and slot machines, which came under the strict control of the gaming board. Now fast forward to 2004 and the rules got tighter for betting on the internet. Today we all know gaming is a major industry that is worth billions worldwide.
With gambling there are always winners and losers that’s the way the cookie crumbles. We all dream about hitting the jackpot and all our monetary worries melting away in our chilled glass or two of Moet & Chandon or Bollinger if you prefer…money sure does give you choices. Some people who win big don’t mind having their ear to ear smile and huge cheque paraded in full view of the general public, others however prefer to remain anonymous, as is there right, for fear of being bombarded with begging letters.
People of a certain age will instantly recognise these words “Spend, Spend, Spend” and associate them with Vivian Nicholson, who never cowered away from the public gaze. And you are right to say “No, No, No” she didn’t win on the bingo. But how can you write about UK winners without including this one. She was a Yorkshire lass, a factory packer and the wife of Keith Nicholson. It was her hubby who won £152,000 on the football pools in 1961. This was a stunning win at the time and in today’s money worth quite a few millions. So as the story goes, she went from rags to riches, lost a fortune and gained another one from musicals and books about her life. As time went by did she become more sensible with her money? Well I think that’s a no. She wound up having to rely on her widow’s pension when she died in 2015. So we are left to wonder, did the money make her happy? One thing for sure, she was a bit of a rebel and she lived a very colourful life with never a dull moment. And will she be remembered, you bet your bottom dollar she will by some as “good on you girl” and others “the disapproving tut tut brigade” who will never get their head around it. And what happened to Keith? In January 1965 he lost control of his flash, powerful car and sadly died. Such heartbreak for all his family.
Russia has just hosted the World Cup and who knows how many men, women and kids were glued to the telly watching the footy and cheering on their favourite team. Way back in 2012 during the Euro championships a certain Lisa Potter from Witney, Oxfordshire was totally “cheesed off” with what was on the box hour on end. So wishing to change her mood, she was inspired to try her hand at online bingo and as luck would have it, won herself a cool £1.3 million “just like that”…as Tommy Cooper would say. She was ecstatic, over the moon and flabbergasted all rolled into one. She looked forward to all the trappings her new wealth would give her and her loved ones.
2012 must have been a very good year for some because on the 13th of December, John Orchard a job centre worker won £5.88 million from a £0.30p bet on a bingo website – perhaps the luckiest of our bingo winners. He was so dumb struck, he waited hours before he told his wife Linda and let her in on the secret. He had worked out that he would work for another five years until he reached his retirement, but in an instant that plan shot straight out of the window. With £5.88 million burning a hole in his pocket, who needs to work. He bought a posh car and planned to visit his family who were living abroad. He also wanted to treat his wife for their special anniversary in luxurious style. Now that sounds so sweet and lovely.
So if you are lucky enough to win a life-changing amount of money, you have a choice to blow it all, fritter it all away or be a bit more sensible and have a realistic plan. I know which option I would choose…don’t you? So here’s to you wishing you a pot of gold and all the joy your heart can hold. You may never be a headliner but a modest win here and there does the heart good big time. Here’s to our big bingo winners!
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