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Navy corpsman continues scratch-off lucky streak with $1 million prize

July 12, 2019 Posted by NC Lottery at 2:23 PM

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.


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7/22/2019 05:04 - JIM B.

@Tim and all others-you can pretty much use the tax formula of the following to figure out your net that NCEL gives you after taxes with prizes over 5,000. Multiply the prize by .7051 and you will be very close to what your check will be. Any more (owed) or less (refund) on your next tax return will be determined by your 2019 income on your 1040 etc. They will send you a G2 to add to your 2019 gross and it's tax time as usual! Save all your (losing) tickets to offset your winnings for that year. Best to save this information for the next 7 years. Am I pretty close NCEL?NC Lottery
Hi Jim, we can't give tax advice which is why we advise winners to consult a tax professional. You are correct in the sense that everyone's financial situation is unique.

7/21/2019 10:59 - valerie b.

Good catch, Valerie. The folks who make our scratch-off games create them in many different ways. Different players prefer different games. That's why we make available the odds and prize structure for every single game on our website--so you can make the decision on what game works best for you.

7/19/2019 09:16 - NC Lottery

Hi @TIM M, each game has different structures and rules. For example scratch off prizes of 1 million and larger do have the option of annuity. We share all of the information on how to play so players can choose what they want to play and know how to play it. We recommend checking the how to play section when choosing what game you want to play.

7/18/2019 05:08 - Tim M.

@NC LOTTERY, to add to the issue of the 400K, I'll give you an example of what they're trying to say. OK, say for the sake of argument that the Cash 5 reaches 1 million. Sometimes it's more. Anyway, say it's 1 million. Only one winner. So..........NCEL proceeds to tax the million and the winner actually gets 600K or more AFTER taxes. The Cash 5 has no annuity no matter how large it gets. Also, that 400K is based on the million. IF the winner only won 100K then they receive over 60K after taxes. I suppose if it ever reaches 2 million then one winner, unless it's shared, would get 2 million MINUS actual taxes, whatever that is. But with the 1 million example, they actually get 600K. The problem with scratch-offs and larger draw games is if you take the lump sum of 600K, they then take 200K more. I know your answer will be that same answer you've already given but do you see the point? Cash 5 you get 600K AFTER taxes. Other games, because of lump sum option, are not even taxed yet. It somehow seems unfair.

7/17/2019 02:14 - Sheila I.

NC Lottery I think what Barry is asking is why is $400k taken out up front and then we still get taxed from federal and state. Where is the $400k going? NC Lottery
Hi Sheila, Winners are given the choice between a $1 million payment paid out over 20 years, or a lump sum. The $400,000 difference between the lump sum and the annuity would be earned on interest over the course of 20 years and used to pay out the $1 million prize to the winner.

7/16/2019 09:34 - Tracy N.

Wow, what a streak. I rarely buy $20 tix but when I do I never win. Sigh...

7/15/2019 03:02 - Denver G.

Cool beans.I don't know about Della,but I wasn't about to spend a half hr on a phone call. I just wanted to let you know more then one person had an issue with the same ticket.

7/15/2019 02:15 - NC Lottery

Hi @DENVER G & @DELLA B, The issue with entering Carolina Black tickets has been resolved and you should be able to enter the tickets now!

7/15/2019 11:03 - Denver G.

I am getting the same message as Della when try to enter 658. I have 5 tickets. It excepted one ticket from one pack. The other 4 are from another pack. It will not except those 4, on desktop or mobile app.NC Lottery
Hi Denver, sorry for the trouble. Please give our technical customer service folks a call at 1-855-767-1863, so someone can troubleshoot the problem with you.

7/14/2019 12:43 - Briskel L.

Congratulations seems like your on a roll buddy.

7/14/2019 12:04 - Tatiana D.

Wow, you are a truly lucky person. Congratulations!

7/13/2019 10:05 - Della B.

I got a Carolina Black ticket and when I try to enter this ticket I keep getting that the entry is not recognized. What up with that? NC Lottery
Hi Della. Sorry, you are having trouble. Please give our technical customer service folks a call at 1-855-767-1863, so someone can talk you through it.

7/13/2019 08:28 - Ken H.

Congratulations , Michael, stay STRONG!

7/13/2019 05:53 - Mario I.

Congrats!!! Share some of that luck if you don’t mind. Lol

7/13/2019 05:49 - charles c.

Congrats Doc , so glad to see a vet get lucky be safe and take care man

7/13/2019 01:15 - Berry B.

Happy 4 u and THANKS 4 your service to our Country!

7/13/2019 11:15 - Brenda S.

Great winnings. Good luck.

7/13/2019 09:46 - Ruth C.

Happy for you.

7/13/2019 08:48 - Richard M.

26 winners out of 27 scratch offs? I would be happy with 1 big winner.

7/13/2019 12:40 - Pam M.


7/12/2019 09:57 - Kenya C.

Will there ever be a chance to redeem winnings online to put into our online wallet. We have that option in the lottery vending machines, instead of getting a cash payout you can choose to get credit back into the vending machine. Is that something you would consider for online? NC Lottery
Hi Kenya! We appreciate your feedback and suggestion. I will pass your suggestion along to our customer service department for further research. Thanks again!

7/12/2019 09:18 - BARRY C.

I don’t know what the rest of you think but winning 1 million and then deciding to take the lump sum shouldn’t cost to 400,000 dollars. Just seems so unfair to the player? Wait 20 years or forfeit 400k.I wish just ONCE we could have a darn lottery that pays you what you won minus your taxes.....will that ever be a possibility? Why does the lottery need 20 years to pay out 1 million? I think I know why,You have hundreds and hundreds of millions in the account that draw massive amounts of interest every month. Would it be that difficult to have a “exact amount” pay win of 1 million? Thank you for your time. NC Lottery
Hi Barry. The $1 million prizes are $1 million prizes. The winner has the option of claiming in 20 annual payments of $50,000 or a one-time cash payment of $600,000. Either way, we are required by law to withhold taxes on the winning amount.

7/12/2019 06:54 - Gregory G.

Reading about everybody but me winning is getting old. Then when the store I get my tickets from had a 350 million PB winner last month and it wasn't me? My realtor won twice $800,00 and $130,000. My friend won the LUCKY REWARDS Mustang Package ...TWICE!!!! Its my turn

7/12/2019 04:10 - Mary J.

Woohoo ???? congrats ??

7/12/2019 03:17 - Douglas H.

OUTSTANDING Doc!! Semper Fi!! No one deserves it more. Congratulations

7/12/2019 03:14 - William A.

26 out of 27 I don’t think he’s being 100percent truthful

7/12/2019 02:48 - vanessa b.


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