A Billionaire Won $40 Million Playing The Lottery. Guess What He Did Next.

Billionaire Tom Crist didn't even know which numbers had won him $40 million in the May 2013 Canada Lotto Max game. Photo: CNN

Tom Crist was enjoying a trip to California, having lunch at a golf course in Palm Springs, when the call that could change his life came.

It was officials with the lottery in western Canada, and they were telling him he had won $40 million.

But instead of making plans for a big spending spree, Crist immediately decided that every dollar -- every single buck -- was to go to charity to honor his late wife.

His wife of 33 years, Jan, died almost two years ago of cancer. The lottery jackpot will be placed in trust and will be donated to charities he and his children pick.

"I've been fortunate enough, through my career, 44 years with a company," he told the CBC News. "I did very well for myself. I've done enough that I can look after myself, for my kids, so they can get looked after into the future. I don't really need that money."

Crist played the lottery by subscription so he didn't get paper tickets.

"I wasn't even sure which game I'd won on, or what the numbers were," Crist said, according to a news release from the lottery. "I've paid for the subscription when I get the renewal notice every year, and then I just file it. Sometimes I'd get a check for $10 or $20, but I never expected this."

Crist retired in September as the president and CEO of an electrical products and services wholesale company.

The company was sold in late 2012. Reuters said the deal was for $1.14 billion.

Story: Steve Almasy, CNN.


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