You’ve placed your bet, spun the reels, played your hand, or spun the wheel, and you’ve won big. Not just big, but bigger than big, and you’re not quite sure what to do first.
A good place to start is to stop screaming and flapping your hands around in the air. Yes, it’s real; yes, it’s yours, and, yes, you need to do something about it.
Landing your first big win at an online casino can be an intense experience. Some of the real money jackpots on offer can be truly life-changing, so it’s important that you take control of the situation from the moment the game lets you know that you’ve just joined the coveted roll of winners.
Withdraw Your Winnings
When the reality of what just happened has sunk in, get back to that computer, visit the banking page, and request a withdrawal.
If Lady Luck has come through for you once, it may be some time before she smiles on you like that again, so don’t try her patience. Cash out your winnings and keep at least a portion of them aside.
Keep It Quiet
When we said keep quiet about your first big online casino win, we meant it. If you broadcast your good fortune, which would be all too easy to do on countless social media platforms, you can kiss your peace goodbye.
People you last saw at school, relatives you didn’t know you had, previously unheard of charities, and an abundance of self-proclaimed financial experts may all come out the woodwork and ask for money, a loan or offer unwanted advice.
Stay anonymous, if you can. You may find it helpful to deactivate your social media platforms, especially if some of your friends could put a national tabloid or broadcaster to shame.
Seek Professional Financial Advice
One of the first things you might be tempted to do when you land your first huge win at an online casino is draw up a shopping list of all the fabulous things you’ve ever wanted. Don’t do it.
Speak to professional financial advisors, and let them guide you. It’s a better idea to get several opinions, as not all advisors are equal.
The decisions you make should be informed decisions, so check that your advisors are in good standing.
Remember the Taxman
Something else to remember when you land your first big win at an online casino is that, ultimately, you may need to pay tax on it. Depending on where you reside the taxman may want his share, so you need to be prepared for that.
Some online casinos may give you the option of receiving your jackpot in a lump sum or in instalments. The payout method you choose could have an influence on how you pay tax on it, so if you’re given the option, speak to a tax consultant as soon as possible, and find out what the implications would be.
Think About Investing
No, it’s still not time to draw up that shopping list. Before you start splurging on yourself or being a Santa Claus to a hundred and one charitable causes, consider investing a good portion of your first big online casino win.
A good way to start is to look at a short-term investment. Let a healthy chunk of the money produce some good interest for a few months, before you get professional help in putting together an investment portfolio.
Keep your wits about you, though. If an investment offer promises you everything but the moon, it’s probably too good to be true, and don’t be fooled by financial gobbledygook.
Get Rid of Debt
Once you’ve sought professional investment and tax advice, you can do some spending. Well, sort of.
We’re not talking about the shopping list, so you can put that pen and paper down. We mean paying off all your debts. Not some of them; all of them. Yes, all of them.
The reality is that, while some investments might not yield as much as initially hoped, debt is debt, and interest grows. If you’ve ever checked the interest on credit card balances brought forward, you know what we mean.
Budgeting is Best
When all that stuff is out of the way, you can start thinking about how to spend the money that’s available to you. Don’t be tempted to make drastic lifestyle changes or to spend massive chunks of money.
A better idea is to draw up a monthly budget, and then to exercise as much self-discipline as you can so you actually stick to the budget. If you’re desperate to spoil yourself with a few fancy treats, work them into your budget.
A really big win could set you up for life or leave you with a sizable nest egg. By being careful with your winnings you could reap the rewards for years to come.