Lottery Winners Offered Free Financial Planning in Connecticut

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Connecticut lottery winners may be the first in the nation to be offered free financial planning assistance, but Rob Simmelkjaer hopes they won’t be the last. He believes private online gambling operators, like DraftKings and Mohegan Sun Casino, may even want to consider adding the option, he tells Bonus.com today.

Simmelkjaer, the board chairman of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation (CLC), stood behind a lectern yesterday with Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz to announce a “first-in-the-nation initiative to help people who win money in the lottery make sound decisions about what to do with their windfalls.”

To accomplish that, there’s a new site called WiseWinnings.com. It’s a partnership between CLC and Credit Unions Building Financial Independence (CUBFI).

The site provides financial planning aid to lottery winners with $600 or more – which is when they must declare the windfall on federal tax forms.

Simmelkjaer writes on LinkedIn that the Wise Winnings service will also provide “low-cost check cashing” to lottery winners.

Asked by Bonus.com if private online gambling operators should offer the option, too, Simmelkjaer says today:

Part of responsible gambling is responsible winning, and we hope this is the beginning of a trend across lotteries and other gaming operators nationwide.

CLC is one of those online gambling operators, through PlaySugarHouse Sportsbook.

Online Casino Players Win, Too

Plus, gamblers playing online casino and online poker win plenty.

One online slots gambler surpassed that amount. “Dori B.” played MGM Grand Millions on Borgata Casino in New Jersey during Thanksgiving 2021 and won $3.5 million.

However, at the moment, online gambling winners are seeking out financial planners and attorneys on their own.

Sign up to play Borgata Casino.

What CT Lottery Winners Find on WiseWinnings.com

WiseWinnings.com greets visitors with an image of a contented woman who is surrounded by greenery.

Words overlay the photo:

YOU JUST WON THE LOTTERY! Plan Your Next Steps

Simmelkjaer writes on LinkedIn that the service is relevant to more than 30,000 Nutmeggers each year, because that many win $600 or more.

Among those jackpot recipients, Simmelkjaer says annually:

  • 1,500 win $10,000 or more
  • 300 receive $50,000 or greater
  • 30 pocket $500,000 or more

The site’s tabs include “next steps,” which helps guide immediate reactions winners have; “winning tips,” or five options for how to manage the money; and “find a financial counselor,” which leads to a list of 27 credit unions.

The “find a financial counselor” tab says:

Connecticut credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that have certified counselors to help with no-cost professional financial advice. Find a credit union in your area below and to get connected with a counselor today.

CLC’s press release about WiseWinnings.com says:

Wise Winnings is part of the Connecticut Lottery’s larger responsible gambling efforts, which include educational campaigns and materials on how to gamble safely, monetary and in-kind contributions towards problem gambling programs and services, retailer and employee trainings, and more.

What Lottery Winners Do With Their Jackpots

Common lore is lottery winners squander their prize money.

Headlines often feed into that stereotype, including this one published on Aug. 1 by Business Insider: 20 Lottery Winners Who Lost Every Penny.

However, Time reported in October 2018 that the endlessly quoted statistic that 70% of lottery winners waste their jackpots is a fallacy. Even the cited source of that figure says that’s false, Time found.

So Time detailed a different study that said lottery winners often stay rich:

Lottery winners who won larger sums of up to $2 million actually retained their wealth well over a decade after the jackpot.

Sadly, the October 2018 winner of the biggest Mega Millions jackpot got cheated out of some of his money by the lawyer he hired to help him manage the winnings. The South Carolina resident who won $1.537 billion employed “Lottery Lawyer” Jason Kurland.

On July 26, a Brooklyn jury convicted Kurland of defrauding his clients out of more than $100 million.

Still, many continue to buy lottery tickets hoping to grab that big prize.

Just a couple of weeks ago, oodles bought tickets for the $1.337 billion July 29 Mega Millions drawing in retail stores, via online lotteries, and through the Jackpocket app. The latter two options aren’t yet available in Connecticut.

Plus, no Nutmeggers will be seeking out WiseWinnings.com to manage that $1.337 billion jackpot, considering someone bought the winning ticket in Illinois.

However, the new billionaire hasn’t yet claimed the sought-after Mega Millions prize. Perhaps the lottery winner is seeking financial planning advice.

About the Author

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is the lead writer at Bonus, concentrating on online casino coverage. She had her first published byline at age 10, but didn't get paid for her writing until she got her first newspaper job. Fletcher's newspaper career started at Suburban News Publications in Ohio and eventually took her to The New York Times, where she's still a contract freelance reporter for the National Desk. She covers breaking news from Philadelphia, as needed. In March 2021, Fletcher began writing about online casino gambling as the lead writer for Online Poker Report.

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