Ill-prepared for such a win
Callie Rogers, Britain’s youngest ever lottery winner, has spoken out to criticize the National Lottery for allowing under-18s to play.
Now 32, she originally won £1.9m ($2.31m) in 2003 at the age of just 16. The teenager was working as a shelf stacker at a local Co-op store when she bought the winning ticket. She claims she was ill-prepared for the mega win and was too young to handle such a large amount of money responsibly.
She is now calling for the minimum age for players to be raised from 16 to 18.
Suggested age limit
The government recently announced it was looked at raising the minimum age for National Lottery tickets as part of a review of the new lotto franchise. This move has Rogers’ backing.
The minimum age for gambling is 18 in the UK, but the National Lottery is an exception to this rule. The government’s proposed plans include raising the minimum age to play National Lottery scratch cards and online games in an aim to protect vulnerable people from gambling. These moves are part of an overhaul of the UK’s gambling laws to lower rates of gambling addiction.
Rogers has said publicly how she felt overwhelmed by the windfall at such a young age. She said: “You are only 16, with all that responsibility. At that age, you can get the best advice ever. But you are not in a position to listen. I was too young.”
After receiving the life-changing sum of money, the youngster spent her winnings on holidays, fast cars, and cosmetic surgery. She also spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on treats for family and friends. She believes she was coerced into this because of her youth and vulnerability.
Speaking to the press, she said winning such a massive sum was too much for a young teenager to manage. As a result she found herself facing abuse from strangers and was even assaulted as a result of the windfall.
She faced abuse from strangers and was even assaulted as a result of the windfall.
She has since said she is still owed almost £250,000 ($303,385) by friends, who used her debit card to buy expensive gifts and laptops after they celebrated winning the jackpot.
However, lottery operator Camelot has stressed that Rogers did receive support. It says it has safeguards in place to help winners.
In a statement Camelot said: “Callie received extensive support from us, which lasted many years. She didn’t take up the independent financial and legal advice offered by us.
“However, our winners team fully supported her and helped her to handle media interest. We will continue to support Callie in any way we can if she wants.”
Rogers is not the only teen winner in the UK to feel this way. The youngest Euromillions winner, Jane Park, who won £1m ($1.21m) aged just 17, echoes her views.
Park said she believes her life would have been “10 times better” if she had not received the winnings at that age. She is threatening to sue the National Lottery.
GambleAware released figures estimating that around one in eight children aged between 11 and 15 gamble regularly. Almost 30,000 children in the UK could be classified as problem gamblers before they are even legally old enough to gamble.
Rogers now lives in a £500-a-month ($600) rental property with her three daughters and works as a carer earning £12,000 ($14,620) a year. She says she is happier than ever.