Religion In The News

Texas Lottery Winner Loses it All

by Elroy Willis -- June 13, 2005


WICHITA FALLS, TX (EAP) -- A Texas man lost all of the $20,000 he recently won on a scratch-off lottery ticket after his brother-in-law bet him $1 that he couldn't do it again. After losing the bet yesterday, the man threatened suicide and said that God had forsaken him, and had to be taken to a local hospital for what appears to have been a panic attack or nervous breakdown.

"When my brother-in-law started boasting that God had lead him to buy the winning scratch-off ticket, I wanted to knock the wind out of his puffed-up sails," said 32-year-old Leroy Wingstrom, who claims that gambling goes against the Bible and is one of the deadliest sins, right up there with greed.

"When he started talking about some 'mysterious feeling' he got at the checkout stand which told him to buy the winning ticket, I knew it was the Devil at work, not God," he said.

"I bet him $1 that he couldn't do it again, and he took the bet, just like I knew he would, since it was obvious that he was being controlled by Satan and had gambling fever."

After taking the bet, Wingstrom and his 34-year-old brother-in-law, Oliver Renquest, drove around Wichita Falls, visiting different stores which sell scratch-off lottery tickets.

They had $15,250 in cash to start with, after taxes were taken out of the original winnings, and they ended up with only $25 left, which Renquest had to give $1 of to Wingstrom to pay off their bet.

"We won $2 and $5 and $10, and even $200 on one of the tickets, and I felt like God was giving us hope when those tickets paid out, so we kept going, hoping for another $20,000 payout," Renquest said.

After over five hours of driving around and scratching tickets, the two found themselves at one convenience store, almost out of gas, arguing over whether to spend the last $25 on gas or start walking on foot to the next store to buy more tickets.

"It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, handing over that last $1 and admitting that God forsook me, or doesn't really exist, or doesn't approve of gambling or lotteries."

"I thought of suing Leroy for the $15,250 I lost, since he tempted me into gambling it away, which he says is wrong in the first place. I could've used some of that money to pay off some of my credit card bills and set up a college fund for my daughter, but now all that money's gone," Renquest said.


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