RALEIGH – Hitesh Patel of Monroe has claimed the last $1 million prize in the lottery’s Holiday Gold game.

Patel said he bought the ticket at his store, the Save & Go on Pageland Highway in Monroe, because it was his son’s birthday and he felt lucky.

Winners of the top prize have the choice of taking a $1 million annuity that has 20 payments of $50,000 a year or a lump sum of $600,000. Patel chose the lump sum and after federal and state tax withholdings he received $415,503. He said he planned to use the prize money to invest in his business by buying the property where his store is located.

Since all top prizes in the game have been won, the lottery has started the steps to end the game.

Ticket sales made it possible for the lottery to raise more than half a billion dollars for the state last year. For details on how more than $91.6 million in lottery funds have made a difference in Union County, click on the “Where the Money Goes” section of the lottery’s website.