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A JOB FULL OF TEARS, SMILES AND SECRETS

If you play the lottery then meeting Pina Compagnone is going to be a major ambition. She works in the Lotterywest winners’ room in Subiaco, Australia and if you get to meet her, then you’ve just won a massive lottery prize.

Pina has been working as Lotterywest’s senior public relations officer for the past eight years and says, “It’s a pretty exciting job.” She gets to meet people “from all walks of life,” just like UK Lotto adviser Kathy Garrett. Every week Pina sees “lots of tears – tears of joy – and lots of laughter.” One winner even cried for two hours, no wonder the winners’ room has lots of tissues on hand.

She recalled how one man thought he’d won a few thousand dollars but then discovered it was a much larger amount. A similar thing happened to Cindy and Steve Ooley from Indiana, USA, who were shocked when told they’d won $1m playing Powerball.

On another occasion she witnessed a big winner call his employer while still in the winners’ room and tell them he was quitting his job. That’s just like the $16.4m winning Australian Powerball syndicate from Sydney, Australia, who soon announced their retirements.

When asked what the most common question Pina hears, she replied that it’s ‘when will I get paid?” but that tends to be by direct debit a fortnight after the day they had their lottery win. Lots of financial advice is given face to face and a winner’s pack full of information including tips on seeking financial advice and who to tell about your big win is given out.

Her job also includes keeping secrets, as many winners wish to remain anonymous, not even telling family members and friends. In Ireland a man won a €500,000 EuroMillions prize and initially kept the news a secret from his wife.

Most winners quickly claim their prizes but “from time to time they do keep us waiting,” the lottery official says. She recalled how one woman took ten months to claim a $10m prize after putting the ticket in a drawer and forgetting about it. Perhaps history is repeating itself with the winner of the $55m Australian Powerball jackpot in January 2018 who still hasn’t claimed their winnings

Pina’s final tip is to think positive. “A lot of our winners say it’s all about being positive,” she says. “Many say they had a feeling they would one day win.”

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