It’s one of the dreams that fuel lottery purchases in Pennsylvania and all across the country. A new home. Maybe something by the beach, a lake just a lot more space.
According to a recent survey by PlayPennsylvania, a new home is the No. 1 big purchase lottery players would make if they won.
Some lottery players in Pennsylvania have witnessed their dreams become reality, even appearing on a television show as they pursued the purchase of their new home.
“My Lottery Dream Home,” which debuted its 12th season earlier this month on HGTV, first aired in 2015. (Some calendar years include two seasons of the show). The show is hosted by David Bromstad, who won the first season of HGTV’s Design Star. Each epsiode follows lottery winners as they search for new homes to purchase with their riches.
Bromstad said the lottery winners have varied greatly in both their ages and goals.
“They’re younger, they’re older,” Bromstad told the New York Post. “We had a gentleman who won $4 million who was in his late-20s and wanted to be a landlord. Older couples are frequently looking for a retirement home for the rest of their days. It really runs the gamut.”
Pennsylvania winners on “My Lottery Dream Home”
Over the years, numerous Pennsylvania lottery winners and New Jersey lottery winners have appeared on the show.
Last year, a Leechburg, Pennsylvania woman, Charity Stivason, was featured on the show. Stivason purchased a $20 scratch-off ticket at a local grocery story and won $1 million.
“I sent an email, and the show called me and asked me to submit images of dream houses and tell my story,” Stivason told TribLive. “I was looking for something that didn’t require any maintenance.”
Stivason selected a new home in southwestern Pennsylvania. Her episode was especially emotional because she lost her husband and her father just a few years before her $1 million win and the television appearance. Stivason’s episode was titled “A Million Dollar Hug.”
Two years ago, Nicholas Sanchez of Bangor, PA, was eating chicken wings for lunch and interestingly enough bought a scratch-off ticket titled “Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner.” The ticket turned out to be a $100,000 winner, putting Nicholas and his wife Robyn in the market for a new home and an appearance on the show. After many months of renting, the couple used their lottery winnings to buy a new home in Bangor. Their search was chronicled in Episode 8 of Season 8, “Bangor or Bust.”
Since lottery winners and their dream home desires aren’t always enough to fill the production schedule, the HGTV franchise has occasionally included other big gambling winners as well. In “The House Always Wins,” (Season 6, Episode 8, May 2019), the show featured Mark Herm, a Philadelphia live and online poker player with total winnings of $4 million. He chose from homes near Philadelphia’s Main Line.
New Jersey Winners on “My Lottery Dream Home”
New Jersey lottery winners have also made a few appearances on “My Lottery Dream Home.” In 2016, New Jersey’s first Cash4Life prizewinners appeared on the show. Joseph Ianiro and John Opaluch from Hasbrouck Heights won a Cash4Life prize in 2014 that earned them $1,000 per day for the rest of their lives or a lump sum cash prize of $5 million, which they chose instead.
Another episode from 2016 featured a New Jersey minister and his wife who had a $7 million lottery windfall. The couple chose between a $1.65 million estate home, a historic carriage house and a new build in their neighborhood.
Season 12 of “My Lottery Dream Home” premiered on July 8. This season’s episodes will feature lottery winners from Florida, Massachusetts, and Iowa, among others.
But as long as there are lottery winners, there will be people with newfound riches looking for homes. It’s one of the dreams that fuel lottery purchases all across the country.
Biggest winners on “My Lottery Dream Home”
The show started off by setting the bar high. The first episode of “My Lottery Dream Home” featured the Knudsens who had won $180 million in the California Mega Millions in 2014.
Lead image c/o Shutterstock