Lifelong Friends Made A Lottery Pact Back In 1992. Now They’re Both Millionaires

Friendship is a beautiful thing. It provides us with a companion-in-arms, someone to bear the best and worst that life can throw our way. Loyal friends are together through thick and thin, staying true to their word. So, if you promised to split a big jackpot with your best friend, decades ago, would you do it? For a couple of Wisconsin buddies, the answer is a resounding “yes”.

Humble Origins

Joseph Feeney and Tom Cook had known each other for countless decades. These elderly Wisconsin gentlemen shared a long history of close friendship, as well as similarly humble origins. Feeney points out that neither he nor Cook grew up with much. In fact, Feeney himself was raised in a cramped two-bedroom home, which he shared with his parents and 12 siblings.

Tom and Joseph met when they were both young men. It was a chance encounter, with Tom inviting Joe to take a seat at his table in a restaurant. This would spawn a friendship that spanned their whole lives since, including road trips and weekly outings.

Promise & Tradition

In 1992, the friends made a promise that might be familiar to many. They were both longtime lottery players and decided that they’d split the prize if they ever won the Powerball. For the next 28 years, Tom and Joseph would buy Powerball tickets separately, every single week. That’s over 2,800 tickets between the two of them.

However, the largest prize they ever got to split was a $100 reward. Little did they know that their lottery-playing tradition would soon yield a handsome profit.

Uncommon Fortune

Halfway through 2020, unusual fortune struck the two. Tom was enjoying a breakfast outing with his wife when his heart skipped a beat. The winning Powerball numbers looked a lot like his ticket


He asked his wife to check. Then they asked a stranger to check, still in disbelief. Once the stranger confirmed that they had apparently won the jackpot, Cook immediately called Feeney to share the big news. Joseph was floored. The $22 million jackpot will amount to $11.4 million after taxes. Each of the friends walks away with more than $5.7 million.

Other Pacts

Tom and Joseph aren’t the only ones, though. Five friends recently split a $1 million Iowa Mega Millions prize. Meanwhile, in Australia, two Canberra buddies got to share a $2.2 million lotto jackpot. However, it’s not always an amicable process. A few years ago, a woman who won a $1 million jackpot was sued by her ex for half the prize, due to an old promise. Interestingly, the court upheld the promise.