I am 26 years old and just won roughly $70,000 after taxes playing craps at a local casino. I have no idea what to do with my money. I have a student loan of 17k that I plan to pay off because the interest is so high and a car loan of 16k with a great rate. I have 10k in savings and am an independent contractor making on avg. $43k/yr but with no paid vacation/sick time or 401k. I'm looking to buy my first home and am looking into putting 50k down on it now. Is this smart? I'm looking into a Roth IRA but I just don't like the fact I have to wait until I'm 60 to take from it without penalty. What about high priced stocks like Wal*Mart, etc.? I currently have 0 investments.
You are mistaken about a Roth IRA. You can take out your contributions at any time with no penalty as long as you don't touch the gains. Also, if the money has been in for 5 years you can withdraw for a first time home purchase.
Your concerns about locking up the money are troublesome. You need discipline to save for retirement. That is a known massive expense you will have and it takes a LONG time of saving up to prepare.
Be sure to account for the taxes you may owe on the winnings before you start spending the money.
Before you sink the money into a down payment on a house, make sure you have several (preferrably) six months of living expenses in savings.
If you don't have investment experience, steer away from individual stocks. Invest in index funds with low expense ratios and don't actively trade.