I hand out millions in lottery money — and am banned from playing. Here's why I'm not jealous of the winners.

I hand out millions in lottery money — and am banned from playing. Here's why I'm not jealous of the winners.
A couple, Joe and Jess Thwaite, smile against a verdant background as they spray a popped bottle of champagne to celebrate a $232 million lottery win in 2022.
Joe and Jess Thwaite celebrate a $232 million lottery win in 2022.Peter Powell/Camelot
  • Andy Carter's job is to hand out jackpots to lottery winners.

  • As a lottery employee, he's one of the few who are not allowed to play.

  • He says he doesn't envy the winners but is happy to be a part of their good luck.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Andy Carter, who advises major lottery winners for Camelot, the operator of the UK's National Lottery. His job involves processing payments and offering winners long-term support. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

The majority of people we deal with win about £1 million ($1.25 million). But we're dealing with people who win anything from £50,000 up to £190 million.

I've worked for the lottery for 17 years and in that time I've handed over in excess of £2 billion.

As much as I've seen a lot of lottery winners, I haven't won, haha — and I can't even play. It's part of the licensing conditions for running a lottery in the UK that employees don't play.

It wouldn't be a good look if someone working for the lottery won the lottery. It would look a bit suspicious if I did.

I'm genuinely not jealous of the winners

A photo portrait of a smiling Andy Carter, a Winners' Advisor at UK lottery agency Camelot.
Andy Carter, a Winners' Advisor at UK lottery agency Camelot.Dylan Nolte + Anthony Highet/Camelot

Lots of people ask me whether I get jealous of the people I give millions to.

Why? Because the issue with this job is it makes you think winning the lottery is normal and commonplace, and that's just not true. Winning the lottery is wacky.

For example, I've dealt with over 2,000 lottery winners, and I've never dealt with anyone I know personally.

So actually doing my job makes you think it's normal to win, when really it's so unusual.

Mark and Helen Francis stand in a soccer stadium, popping a bottle of Champagne and holding a giant check for £1 million as they celebrate their lottery win in 2022.
Mark and Helen Francis celebrate their $1.26 million lottery win in 2022.Huw John/Camelot

Now, as someone who likes to chat, and associate themselves with funny stories and successes, I think that if you can't win then the very next best thing is speaking to people who do win every single day of your working life.

And also, these people have come across their win through fair means. They haven't come to it through dubious means or underhand behavior.

And it is just interesting to be around. It is fascinating.

It might just be that it's part of the DNA that you need to do this job. The rest of the people in my team, they will all feel the same.

It's a myth that lottery wins always make people miserable, though

The biggest misconception people have about lottery winners is that everyone goes out and blows their money. It couldn't be further from the truth.

The British public are overwhelmingly very, very conservative with their lottery win. The amount of people who go out and buy a Lamborghini is pretty low, percentage wise.

But the impact can be huge.

People have managed to not be evicted from their home because of it. I've had people who've sent family members off to the US for health treatment. Sometimes, I've shed a tear at the difference it can make.

And the really big winners — the handful who've won more than £100 ($125) million — all of them have benefited tens or hundreds of people with some sort of charitable setup. They all gift money to friends and family members, who in turn, at that level, can regift. And you have this ripple effect.

So you get a fascinating insight into human nature. It's just nice to see what they do, what they spend their money on. I get lots of pictures sent to me from people who are at events, at a concert or meeting a famous person, or have the best seats at a football match. And that's great because it's lovely to hear what they've been doing.

Even on the best day of their lives, you've got to read the room

In this job I think you've got to be a bit of a chameleon and change your style depending on who you're dealing with.

So are you dealing with the 85-year-old who feels overwhelmed, just wants to help her family out, and is worried about the future?

Or are you dealing with the group of lads on the building site who've all won a syndicate between them, and want to go out and celebrate?

Maybe you're dealing with parents who are worried about the impact on their teenager.

A series of inflatable lottery balls being tossed around in a crowd in Liverpool, England on May 7, 2023
Inflatable lottery balls in the crowd during a National Lottery event on May 07, 2023 in Liverpool, UK.Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

So you've got to be able to change your tone. You've definitely got to be happy for someone, but you've also got to make sure that if they are worried, you can't go in there bouncing up and down. You've got to read the room.

Doing this job, I just feel happy. You just feel like it helps people — you've been part of their life.

If you've won the lottery, you will always remember that day, even in 30 years' time.

They might not remember my name, but they'll remember that this guy came round and sat with them, had a cup of tea and talked them through it, and told them it'll all be okay. That's quite nice.

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