Mark Richardson targets poor people in startling Lotto claim

Mark Richardson has come out with the controversial claim that Lotto winners often end up in strife due to an inability to handle their newfound riches.

The AM Show broadcaster co-hosted Thursday's episode of The Project, which covered the unexpected woes of winning big. 

"The problem with these Lotto winners and their stories of hard luck is that I just think the poor don't know quite what to do with money," Richardson said.

"Nor do they appreciate it."

"Are you saying only rich people should win Lotto?" asked co-anchor Kanoa Lloyd, both humouring him and egging him on in the same breath.

"You need to be prepared for a win of this nature, to have the money come in," Richardson explained.

"It's a good thing, possibly, that this last one was won in Auckland and let's hope they come from a good suburb as well."

The bold statement was met with shocked "ohhhhhhhs" from the audience. Co-host Josh Thomson laughed, while Jesse Mulligan looked politely bemused and Lloyd grinned to disguise the prospect of becoming the next 'The Sound of Silence' meme.


"I'm trying to find a positive spin on this," Mulligan mediated.

"What about if you were to make yourself a Lotto counsellor, so when someone who never had money before wanted to know what to do with it, they could come to you and sit down?" he offered hopefully. 

"It's the sort of thing I could do for this country," Richardson agreed.

Richardson's comments followed a segment covering the positive side of not hitting that $38 million jackpot.

Judging from several good-luck-turned-hard-luck Lotto stories, cashing in an obscene amount of Rutherford's can give winners a case of sudden wealth syndrome (SWS).

According to WebMD, the newly rich can often become "suspicious", "cut off from their friends and family" and suffer an "identity crisis" as they no longer have to work. 

For example, one big winner in the UK quit working after hitting the jackpot, even going as far to inscribe his winning numbers in the bottom of his massive pool. However, he got so bored with his new leisurely life, he went back to his job.

Last month, Colin and Christine Weir divorced after 38 years together and eight years after bagging Britain's biggest ever lottery - a whopping £161 million (NZ$327 million).

And in the small Waikato town of Te Kauwhata, Trevor became $27 million richer - but also divorced and struggled with family disharmony a short while after.

Ultimately, winning less may actually be better in the long-term. Lucky Lotto players who pocket less than $2 million are more likely to be wealthy, for longer. 

Two Auckland punters hit the $38 million Lotto Powerball jackpot on Wednesday, their respective bank accounts now $19.1 million richer.