Well, just days after all my fuss over the 2nd Mecca Millionaire, the story has taken an unexpected turn for the worse. The previously unnamed pensioner has now been named as Jean McCullagh of the South Lanarkshire village Uddingston. According to the BBC’s news report, she’s in dispute with the 3 people she was playing with – her sister and sisters-in-law.
The dispute is over whether or not the four had agreed to share their wins. Jean says she didn’t, the other three say she did. As a result, the prize money has been frozen by a judge and will remain with Mecca Bingo until the dispute is settled. Both parties now have lawyers involved (and if they’re not careful, that’s where all the money will go.)
It’s not the first time we’ve seen a dispute like this over a big prize. I’m sure all off us who play with friends have thought what would happen if we won the National and had agreed to go shares, but had I said I would, I’d certainly not go back on it. We don’t know if that’s what happened here or not. I think this case will run and run and ultimately be a difficult one to prove one way or the other.
It’s a shame that what was a truly remarkable win will now be remembered for what happened afterwards. It should serve as a reminder to all players to ensure the rules are laid down, and any prize splits agreed on before hand. I wouldn’t go as far as to say put it on paper – but with the growth of these big new million pound prizes, it might just be worth doing it the once for just the occasion of one of the sharers winning.