84-year-old wins biggest ever lottery jackpot


Gloria Mackenzie

Gloria Mackenzie of Zephyrhills in Florida has scooped an incredible $590 million on the lottery - and opted to take it as a single lump-sum of £370 million. The Florida Powerball jackpot makes her the largest sole lottery winner of all time in the US.

However, she's not the oldest ever multi-million winner - and there's a strong argument that this is the right time in life to win.

Winning ticket

Mackenzie bought a 'quick pick' ticket, which is like the UK's Lucky Dip option, where the computer picks the numbers at random for you. She said she feels 'blessed' that another customer let her go ahead of her in the queue at the grocery shop, which led to her getting those particular numbers. To win the prize she beat odds of one in 175 million.

State law means she cannot remain anonymous, but she chose not to appear at a press conference, and is under no obligation to ever appear in public again.

According to The Guardian, the media is camped outside her small tin-roofed home in a little town outside Tampa. One neighbour said Mackenzie is a quiet person who keeps herself to herself, so the media may have a long wait ahead of them. Another neighbour told USA Today he was shocked she had returned to the neighbourhood rather than finding somewhere nicer to spend her time.

Oldest winners

84 is quite an age to be picking up a massive cheque, but Mackenzie is not the oldest lottery winner.

In the UK we can never be sure about the ages of those who don't choose to go public. However, the oldest announced lottery winner was Reginald Smith, an 85-year-old from Uttoxeter in Staffordshire, who won £2.3 million in 2003. He apparently told the BBC at the time: "I would have liked it to have happened about 20 or 30 years ago, but there you are."

Around the world, the oldest ever winner was Nguyen Van Het, from Vietnam, who won 7.6 billion Vietnamese Dong (about £235,000) in 2010. He was an incredible 97 years old at the time of the win, and said he wanted to upgrade his shack, buy a TV and eat some meat. He also bought a sack of rice for everyone living on the same alley.

Best age to win

There's an argument that it's better to win the lottery when you have enough experience to put the win into perspective. Britain's youngest lottery winners have not exactly had an easy time.

Britain's youngest lottery winner, Callie Rogers, took £1.9 million at the age of 16, and spent a large part of the money on enhancing her appearance and partying. Meanwhile, tragically Scotland's youngest lottery winner, who was 17 when he won £1.9 million in 1997, struggled to cope with the attention and hardly left his home in the years after the win. He was found dead at the age of 29, and left £1.1 million to his family.

But what do you think? Would you fancy winning the lottery in your eighties or nineties, or by then is it too late to enjoy the cash? Let us know in the comments.

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