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A millionaire lotto winner who won his fourth jackpot this year has warned about the perils of winning big.
Mike Luciano has bagged an eye-watering $4.6m (£3.79m) in his four biggest wins since 1999, including scooping up $1m (£823k) in a prize draw back in January.
But despite his seemingly incredible luck, Luciano has issued a chilling warning to fellow gamblers – and said that winning big isn't always all it's cracked up to be.
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"Winning money in the lottery obviously is very helpful, it helps the family, helps you get that little break in life. But there’s also drawbacks to winning money," Luciano told the Daily Star.
"The hardest thing with winning money is, you know, you have to control your spending habits.
"Winning a lot of money like that isn’t as much money as you think, it can go pretty fast, and you have to be careful."
Luciano's first win was in 1999, which saw him bag an impressive $100k (£82k).
The 55-year-old bar owner later won $500k (£412k) from the Pennsylvania state lottery in the US last year, after scooping up a whopping $3m (£2.47m) back in 2016.
On January 6, 2022, he bought his most recent winning ticket at a shop along Pennsylvania Route 764.
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Since then he has entered a few scratch-card and Pick Four draws, with his biggest win since January amounting to $5000.
Luciano said he feels "blessed" but knows that his luck is unusual – and admits that he has struggled with a gambling problem in the past.
"It’s been well-documented that I played a lot of lottery in my life and I’m trying to cut back, trying to control this," he added.
"I should probably quit or cut back. I’ve been trying for several years now. But [I’m] still very lucky and still way ahead of the game. We’ve invested and hopefully, those things work out for our future when we decide to walk away.
"I’m in a good place now financially and I plan on being there in the future without being one of those people that have stories that they lost all their money. I will not let that happen to me.
"I continue to work hard for my business and I’ve been blessed. The people I’m surrounded with, my wife and family, and the people I love the most, that’s number one in my life. I’ll always make sure we’re taken care of."
Luciano said his wins quickly made him a household name in Altoona, Pennsylvania, where he lives and runs a tavern called Mike's Court.
"We’re in a small town here, about 44,000 people, and when you win money it becomes public knowledge," he said.
"And the fact that I’m a business owner, it becomes even more public knowledge.
"Because I’m in the bar business, I talk to people about it. It’s always great when you win, but it’s a very troubling thing when you win a couple of hundred dollars and that’s your paycheck. There are people that do that.
"I’ve had four lottery wins, which is pretty incredible, but that’s not what happens to everyone."
Warnings aside, Luciano has decided to make his most recent major win count and is saving up the cash for a very special trip this summer.
"We're putting on a trip to Italy," he said.
"It was a lifelong dream of my dad and mum who passed away.
"We're going to go there and think about them when we're over there because we always wanted to take them but unfortunately we weren't able to do that."
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- National Lottery
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