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Jane Park, former million pound winner.


Million Pound Misery: Is hitting the jackpot all it’s cracked up to be?

Jane Park was just 17-years-old when an eye-watering £1 million lotto win changed her life forever.

But what should have been a dream come true quickly turned into a ‘twisted fantasy’, as she faced years of harassment from strangers.

The now 26-year-old is campaigning for ‘government health warnings’ on the lottery, sharing her own story as a cautionary tale on the dangers of hitting the jackpot.

In the near decade since she became Britain’s youngest EuroMillions winner, Jane said she’s suffered a torrent of abuse, online hate and even ‘acid attack threats’.

She said: “I went from just going to work every day to this massive household name.

“I thought it was going to be amazing, that I was going to be this big celebrity, but I was literally sitting in my three-bedroom house, crying myself to sleep.

“I’m proud that I invested my money wisely and I’m still living a good life, it just feels like people are waiting for the day I become broke and homeless…I won’t let that happen.”

Along with threats of violence, Jane said she’s also received unsolicited messages from people asking for money and ‘at least one marriage proposal a week’ from suiters who she says are only interested in her bank account.

Jane now wants lotto bosses to give a more realistic look into what life can be like for winners, saying that they have a ‘responsibility not to mislead the public’.

In addition to health warnings, she also wants lottery adverts to be restricted until ‘later in the evening’ and thinks children should be protected from promotional materials.

She said: “It sounds silly, but children dream of either being famous or winning the lottery…if it wasn’t as glamourised, maybe there would be more ambition instead of gambling.”

Jane, from Edinburgh, added that we can often view ‘playing the lottery’ as more innocent than it actually is.

She said: “It’s not playing, it’s just plain gambling…apart from picking a number, there is no game element to it.

“How it wasn’t held to the same legislation as gambling from the beginning baffles me.”

Camelot – which operates the EuroMillions – said it takes its duty of care to winners ‘very seriously’, offering advice and aftercare for ‘as long as they wish’.

Speaking with LADbible, it said: “Following her win, a dedicated advisor visited Jane at home to pay out her prize, arrange private banking and support her through the publicity when she chose to share the news of her win.

“We put Jane in touch with another winner who won at the same age to share their experience and help Jane adjust.”

Camelot added: “The door is always open and we will continue to support Jane in any way we can if that is what she decides she wants.”

The UK government recently increased the minimum age to play the National Lottery to 18, but Jane still thinks further action is needed.

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