Michael Strong has been on a lucky streak lately when it comes to scratch-off games. His luckiest ticket to date? The $150 Million Cash Explosion ticket he bought Wednesday that won him a $1 million prize.
“I decided to play this game because $20 tickets are my lucky tickets,” said Strong. “I always win when I play them. I’ve won 26 out of the last 27 $20 tickets I bought.”
Strong, a Navy corpsman, currently calls Waianae, Hawaii home, but has been stationed all over the world, including North Carolina. He was in Richlands to do some work on his home when he decided to continue his lucky streak at the Scotchman on South Wilmington Street.
“My friends were joking with me about my luck,” said Strong. “They said I should buy a ticket since I was back in town. So I took a break from the fence I was building, bought a ticket, and won $1 million!”
Strong claimed his prize Thursday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. He had the choice of taking an annuity that has 20 payments of $50,000 a year or a lump sum of $600,000. He chose the lump sum. After required state and federal tax withholdings, he took home $424,506. He plans to use his winnings to invest and pay off bills.
The $150 Million Cash Explosion game launched in October with four top prizes of $4 million and six $1 million prizes. Two $4 million prizes and three $1 million prizes remain to be claimed.
Ticket sales from instant games like $150 Million Cash Explosion make it possible for the lottery to raise more than $650 million a year for the state. For details on how $11.8 million in lottery funds have made a difference in Onslow County, visit the “Impact” section of the lottery’s website.