Two Lotto Max tickets sold on Vancouver Island were winners, though nobody won the $70-million jackpot in Tuesday’s draw. (BCLC image)

COLUMN: I didn’t win the Lotto Max jackpot

Would life really be better with an additional $70 million?

I didn’t win the lottery.

The Lotto Max draws, on Tuesday and Friday, had a grand prize of $70 million, along with millions of dollars worth of other prizes.

While I didn’t claim the jackpot, I wasn’t alone. The odds of choosing all seven numbers, according to the Lotto Max website, were around one in 33,295,800 for a $5 ticket with three selections.

The odds of winning any prize are one in seven for a $5 ticket.

Those odds are much better than the odds of winning the jackpot, but it still means there is a six in seven chance of not winning anything.

Nearly 86 per cent of the tickets sold will offer no returns.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: Lucky British Columbian will share Tuesday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

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Still, a lottery ticket allows for the chance to dream, and when the jackpot reaching the tens of millions of dollars, it results in some serious daydreaming, just in case one wins the big prize.

A $70 million prize package would allow one to pay off debts and mortgages, move into a larger home, buy a new vehicle, travel and support family and friends in need.

Or one could use the money for altruistic purposes, giving to a charity or setting up a trust to help those who are in need.

Life sure would be good with an additional $70 million.

Maybe not.

A sudden influx of money has benefits, but it has the potential to bring with it some huge problems.

These problems could include people soliciting large donations, offers of amazing but risky investment opportunities and people claiming a family connection in order to ask for a cut of the winnings.

I can picture the awkward conversations. “You’re my second cousin twice removed on my distant aunt’s mother’s father’s side. That makes us family. Now let’s talk about some money.”

There are also stories of people who have won huge amounts of money, but within a couple of years were worse off than before the winnings. These stories are heartbreaking, and I don’t want my life to become a riches-to-rags story.

Even if I could avoid the people asking me for money, and even if I sought out the best advisers and used the wisest money management strategies, I know my life would not be quite the same after a huge lottery win. A sudden influx of wealth will change things in ways I can’t fully appreciate.

Sometimes the things that initially seem positive are not quite as good when they happen. And by the same token, the things that first seem terrible can bring some benefits with them.

Difficult times can bring out one’s true friends, not just those seeking a share of lottery winnings. Challenges can lead to innovations. And sometimes a hardship can result in a new direction in life, a change that could not have happened otherwise.

It is hard to know whether an outcome will be good, bad or neutral in the long term.

As for not winning the lottery, perhaps the outcome would have been different if I had bought a ticket. Under those circumstances, I might now be considering what to do with my newfound wealth, while also devising ways to deter people claiming to be my second cousin twice removed on my distant aunt’s mother’s father’s side.

John Arendt is the editor of the Summerland Review.

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