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news blog > article

After hours of searching, Buncombe County man finds final $5 million top prize

July 29, 2020 Posted by NC Lottery at 8:41 AM

Last Thursday, Kevin Clark of Candler set out to find the last top prize of the $5,000,000 Mega Cash scratch-off game and after four hours of scouring Buncombe County, his wish came true.

“I had a real good feeling it was going to be in the western part of the state,” said Clark. “I went to about 40 different stores and bought every single last Mega Cash ticket I could find.”

Clark said he’d put in the research and took a “big gamble” in making the decision to buy those $20 tickets. “There was only a handful of stores that even had them,” he said.

He didn’t know it then, but the Stop N Go on U.S. 70 in Swannanoa had the lucky ticket. “I scanned it with my phone and it told me to go see a retailer,” he recalled. “So, I scratched it off and when I scratched it off I couldn’t believe it! I started shaking. And then I cried.”

On Monday morning, Clark decided that he wasn’t going in to work and drove to lottery headquarters in Raleigh to claim his prize.

Clark had the choice of taking the $5 million as an annuity of $250,000 a year over 20 years or a lump sum of $3,000,000. He chose the lump sum and after required state and federal tax withholdings he took home $2,122,506.

“I’m a simple man and I mow grass,” Clark said. “But I’ve always been interested in real estate, so my biggest plans with the majority of the money is to invest in real estate and some small businesses.”

After days of not sleeping due to the excitement, he says he looks forward to going home and getting a good night’s sleep.

Ticket sales from scratch-off games make it possible for the lottery to raise more than $725 million per year for education. For details on how $11.2 million raised by the lottery made a difference in Buncombe County in 2019, visit www.nclottery.com and click on the “Impact” section.


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12/27/2021 07:28 - Jeremy H.

U telling that ticket just so happened to be in that county, That while lottery system is rigged up Smh.NC Lottery
Hi Jeremy! During the secure printing process, winning tickets are distributed at random throughout the entire printing run of each game. Then they're divided up into packs and the inventory is stored securely before being distributed to retailers by the lottery's sales staff. Where a winning ticket might show up is a complete mystery until a lucky player scratches one off and comes in to claim their prize!

10/09/2021 06:29 - Caleb C.

The article didn't say how much he spent in total tickets he bought before winning the 5million. Can they be specific on how much he spend on the ticketsNC Lottery
Hi Caleb! This would be something that the winner could share if they wished, but we only release the winner's name, hometown, game played, and amount won per NC public information laws. Any additional info is up to the winner to disclose. Hope this helps to clarify!

12/13/2020 10:39 - CHARLEEN M.

What's done in the dark will come to the light.

12/13/2020 10:16 - CHARLEEN M.

This really sound fishy and needs to look into it more.Theres no way you going to drive in one particular area not knowing if it's there unless someone who is employed gave him heads up where it was and they got a cut.Im going to talk to a lawyer about filing a complaint against nc lottery.Inside job frauding

8/04/2020 08:16 - William A.

Somethings fishy with this story.Who would drive to 40 stores buying up all the $20 dollar tickets they could find unless they knew something.I'm glad he found it because he had to spend several thousand dollars doing it.

8/04/2020 04:34 - Sal G.

It does seem fishy to me. He went to 70 stores. Does the website say how many stores there are in a given area that sell lottery tickets? Does it tell you what tickets are available at which retailers? For all he knew it could've been in Wake County, or Person CountyNC Lottery
Hi Sal, You can view a map of retailers near you by visiting https://nclottery.com/wheretoplay, however, we do not have specifics on which retailers carry which tickets.

8/04/2020 03:46 - Tim M.

I hate to say about scratch-offs but I can tell you from experience, you can talk yourself right out of winning draw games, particularly Pick 3 and Pick 4. Since 2013, I estimate I could've won the Pick 4 over 20 times, starting with 2222 in April 2013! Most of these times would've been exact order @50/50. If I had 'gone with my gut' I would've won repeatedly but NO!!!!! I repeatedly second-guessed myself like, nah, they wouldn't do that! Oh yes, they did, sometimes even the very day!NC Lottery
Wow! We bet the next time you get that gut feeling, you're going to listen to it!

8/03/2020 09:27 - Tatiana D.

Thank you for the link to the article, NCEL. It is very interesting information.

8/03/2020 02:44 - dexter m.

That is truly a crazy story, I have been buying $30 scratch offs since they began never any big winners have submitted hundreds of 2nd chance drawings to still no avail but what are the odds he knew they were in that part of the state it could have been in Fayetteville, Charlotte etc. I truly believe the stores that do huge sales only have the small winners in order to keep sales up and big winners go way out in the middle of nowhere for some random person to just wander in and strike it big. I know I have spent $35k or better all over the state but same results

8/03/2020 11:39 - Radford H.

Congrats on the win. Hypotheticaly speaking, if you knew there was a 10 million jackpot in your town, would you go berserk buying only that particular game? Lol. Btw, God doesn't care about the lottery.

8/03/2020 11:39 - Radford H.

Congrats on the win. Hypotheticaly speaking, if you knew there was a 10 million jackpot in your town, would you go berserk buying only that particular game? Lol. Btw, God doesn't care about the lottery.

8/03/2020 08:38 - Shaunda C.


8/03/2020 08:09 - DOROTHY D.

Congratulations!! May all your plans bear positive fruit!

8/02/2020 11:02 - Stephanie G.

Congratulations on ur big win was he already rich to even go and buy every single ticket wow I’m waiting on these drawings I need a big win to.

8/02/2020 10:00 - Tim S.

This is an inside job it feels like to me. No way is anyone just going to go around buying 20 dollar scratch offs like that without knowing something. I've spent so much money and never won over 200 dollars. It really upsets me and I'm sure many more people. I just hope he sleeps well. I'm devastated. I bought a lot of those 20 dollar tickets myself because thwy wasn't a whole lot of them left. This really stinks!NC Lottery
Sorry to hear you didn't have more luck on this game, Tim. While we can't say for sure why this winner felt like the lucky ticket was near him, we can say that lots of winners have a "lucky feeling" before they end up finding a winning ticket. Here at the lottery we don't know or control where winning tickets end up. We have strict security procedures in place that ensure this.

8/02/2020 09:59 - IDINA D.

This is why NCEL should consider allowing ppl to claim prizes anonymously.No winner should be subjected to the amount of ridicule or negativity! These comments, smh. NC Lottery
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Idina. We wanted to let you know that the lottery does not have the power to make or change the law, we simply operate according to the law.

8/02/2020 06:54 - Laurence T.

This is exactly the type of thing that discourages good people from playing the Lottery. This player was just a Stooge for a Worm at Lottery Headquarters. What other lottery games have been compromised? A thorough investigation should be done.NC Lottery
Hey there Laurence, We hear you, and we wanted to let you know that all of our games undergo thorough audits to ensure the integrity of the game. The News & Observer wrote a great article that details the distribution process for our scratch-off games, you can read it here: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article215574905.html?fbclid=IwAR2cP1Q_EhuFJM6xyOv45H5gpvJJIEdUo7SPimDW6FmKwQmMN-a-AOH4Jpw

8/02/2020 06:00 - Tatiana D.

I believe in the integrity of the lottery, however, this story sounds very fishy. I think NCEL should investigate this. To implement such a strategy, this man should have known that the winning ticket is at his county. And at this particular time!

8/02/2020 04:16 - Rachel W.

Congrats, Kevin! Very happy for you and hope to someday become a jackpot winner myself! To all the negative commenters saying that it is “sketchy” and he must have had “insider information”, he was simply looking at it from a statistical/odds perspective and that combined with a “hunch” led to his win. Everyone that plays has some level of faith in winning or else why play? Some players, such as myself, even believe that we can manifest winnings or that God and/or the universe can guide us towards our winnings. Enjoy your winnings, Kevin!

8/02/2020 03:38 - john a.

I saw Elvis at the convenience store this morning.

8/02/2020 08:41 - Denver G.

According to what he said in the above article, I don't think he spent a bunch of money buying tickets. He prolly used the winning tickets he got along his way to buy more tickets. Clark said he’d put in the research and took a “big gamble” in making the decision to buy those $20 tickets. (“There was only a handful of stores that even had them,” he said.)

8/02/2020 08:38 - Charles E.

congratulations no more no less

8/01/2020 11:42 - lori j.

Look I’m just happy for the winner I lose a lose a lot but I play for fun I believe it is about luck so let’s just have fun.God bless

8/01/2020 10:35 - Malik S.

Something about this story is not right. I would believe it if they were one or two dollar tickets. But 20 dollar tickets and he was buying ALL of them up? I'm curious to the amount he spent. It had to total a few thousand.To do that he had to have more than a hunch. An investigation should be done. The computers know where winning tickets go, however, people can manipulate computers. I guarantee he know somebody connected to knowing how to manipulate the system. Like really, who go out spending thousands of dollars in search of a winning ticket, unless they got a tip to the area of where it was located? These are 20 dollar tickets! And he cut grass and going around buying up ALL these ticktes! I have spent over 500 dollars on a whole roll and not won my money back. We can't believe that not one person can not manipulate the system. Keep a watch on him, he will end up giving someone a large amount of money and that person will be the one connected to telling him about it all.

8/01/2020 06:54 - darrell h.

Sounds like he had a tip to where it was. Just a hunch ????. So you are gonna spend roughly 10k or more on a hunch to find a winning ticket at 40 stores. Unlikely STORY. I am sure I will get a rebuttle from the NCEL on here . But I still say someone knew something and Not just a hunch.

8/01/2020 09:59 - Denver G.

@jeff. All I know is he found the golden ticket in the county he lived in, that's good enough for me. As for him spending a fortune looking 4 it , maybe yes maybe no. That game was over 3 years old. I bet the vast majority of the stores he went to didn't even have that game much less entire packs. Pure luck, that's it. Just for fun , I went to 10 different gas stations & 5 stores this week. All of them said they haven't had that ticket for a very very long. He was lucky to find ANY to be had...I just don't buy into the whole "the lottery is rigged and conspiracy theory crap".

8/01/2020 09:16 - Michael R.

The fact that he knew it was in the western part of the state makes this suspicious to me. We know the African American population in the Western region of the state is very low. I didn't believe this stuff till a couple of white males once brought it to my attention. They said our area has too much diversity so they are not putting many winners here. LolNC Lottery
We don't control where winning tickets are placed - it's all a matter of random luck. Folks from anywhere in the state can travel to any store and choose to buy a ticket. The games and tickets don't make judgments about who is more deserving to win, it’s all luck. We meet lottery winners from all kinds of backgrounds. Winners win prizes randomly in both draw games and scratch-off tickets regardless of who they are or where they live.

8/01/2020 05:40 - Jeff O.

DENVER G. - You said: "You guys aren't reading the blog...He didn't have a hunch or insider info as to where the ticket was" Exact quote from blog: “I had a real good feeling it was going to be in the western part of the state,” Is that not the definition of a hunch and further is that not a hunch based on the location?

7/31/2020 03:14 - Jason S.

Good for him! Just another lesson as to why you have to follow a hunch. Spiritually speaking you know more than you realize. I hope he does great things with it and it is a blessing and not a curse..

7/31/2020 12:27 - VICKEY G.

How is that possible? Smell fishy

7/31/2020 09:15 - Berry B.

Thank God you finally won,much love 2 u!!

7/31/2020 09:05 - Michael R.

This one stinks to me . Lol. I've gone all over the state for 10 years and cant win a darn thing yet this guy searches for a few hours and viola, there it is.

7/31/2020 05:59 - Gary C.

Congratulations!!! Sometimes you get a vision of winning and it comes true. I had a vision that I was going to win big and a week later it came true with a $1 million win.NC Lottery
What a great story, Gary! Congrats on your win.

7/30/2020 08:32 - Sheila I.

I'm 48 yrs old. If I won that amount, I'm gonna' take my chance with the $250k a year for 20yrs.

7/30/2020 04:35 - john a.

If you think it's rigged, why do you keep playing?

7/30/2020 03:16 - joanie m.


7/30/2020 03:16 - natasha a.

He knew the vicinity of the winning ticket. He didn't exactly know where it was. Thats why he spent time and money looking for it cause he knew the whereabouts to find it. I trust no one.

7/30/2020 03:02 - Denver G.

You guys aren't reading the blog! The dude lived in Buncombe County out here in WNC. So he drove around to stores in his area!!!! He didn't have a hunch or insider info as to where the ticket was. He just knew the game was 3 yrs old and there was a top prize still left. Anyone anywhere else could have and might have done the same thing. It's not like he lived on the east coast and said to himself " hey I'm going to the mountains to find this last winner cause I think that's where it is.

7/30/2020 02:26 - Charles H.

I smell a big stinking rat here. The only so-called hunch he had was inside information from someone who knew what area that ticket was sent to. I suspect that he knew the exact location, but went to all the other stores to make it look legit. NC has 100 counties and that ticket could've been in any of them yet he has a hunch it was in Buncombe? I don't think so.NC Lottery
Hey Charles, The folks here at the lottery do not know or control where winning tickets end up. We follow secure and strict security procedures to ensure that no one knows there a big winning ticket is until the lucky person finds it. That said, we can only speculate as to why this winner felt that he might find the winning ticket near him, so we can't say for sure what his thought process was.

7/30/2020 12:08 - Shakeia H.

First Congratulations. But is it not strange that he had a hunch the ticket was in a certain area? Certainly makes me think?

7/30/2020 10:23 - LATAUNYA L.

Definitely a blessing!. How long does it take the state to payout?NC Lottery
Hey Lataunya, In most cases the lottery issues a winner's payment the same day they claim.

7/30/2020 10:14 - Radford H.

I agree with jeff. Even if he bought every mega cash in the western part of the state,that still doesn't guarantee he had the winner.lol those same tickets Are in Wilmington. This guy was buying tickets as if he knew the jackpot in this particular ticket was in the vicinity.

7/30/2020 08:15 - Jeff O.

Yes this guy got lucky but seriously, driving around four hours buying up each and every ticket? There are 30 tickets in a packet, that's $600 per, I can't even estimate how much he spent. And...what if he didn't win? As NC LOTTERY states, it's not by region, it's random and the odds remain the same. Sure you can look at the tickets sold vs. tickets remaining and use that to decide what to purchase. But there's no "strategy" in the lottery like people who only purchase ticket #012 or refuse to purchase ticket #000, it's luck, the odds, and nothing else. I hope others don't use this approach.

7/30/2020 07:34 - Denver G.

Congrats my WNC neighbor. You got lucky, VERY lucky.

7/30/2020 07:13 - Mark Z.


7/30/2020 07:04 - Qadree M.

I like to hear great news like this. Congratulations on your win

7/30/2020 12:25 - Teresa G.

Ok CONGRATS for you. He took the lump sum. Ok but 2mil then taxes then he took 2.1 mil home. So close to 3 mil in takes. That doesn't sound rightNC Lottery
Hi Teresa, The $3 million difference isn't entirely taxes. He chose the lump sum option of $3 million instead of the $5 million annuity paid over 20 years. The 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 $5 million prize to the winner. Minimum state and federal taxes are then withheld from that amount. Which option would you choose?

7/29/2020 10:15 - Sandra B.

Where on the site can you find out how many winning tickets left? FYI, someone hit in Rocky Mount @ the new lotto machine they just installed. Tickets are anywhere.NC Lottery
Hey there Sandra! You can view the prizes remaining for each game here: https://nclottery.com/ScratchOff. Just click on the game you're interested in seeing. We update those totals daily. Good luck!

7/29/2020 10:06 - Kevin F.

I want to know what app to use to scan a ticket and can you scan the ticket before you buy itNC Lottery
Hi there Kevin, You can download our NC Lottery Official Mobile App here: https://nclottery.com/MobileApp. In order to scan a ticket with the app, the ticket must be purchased and scratched off to reveal the barcode. Hope this helps!

7/29/2020 06:29 - Helena M.

That is great, but I don't understand how he would of known that particular ticket would be in that particular county.

7/29/2020 04:55 - David B.

You really dont pay attention to the jackpot winners do you Coriante, or big winners on scratchoffs all together. The majority of the jackpots in the lottery existence in NC have been in the center of the state, the bigger prizes as well. Especially here in Burke where we've had 2 jackpot winners in the last 10 years, and dont say the colossal cash one because that was bought in Hickory, where the guy worked but lived in Burke.

7/29/2020 04:52 - Gloria C.

Congratulations to you and I wish you many more happy wins.

7/29/2020 04:27 - charles d.

Congrats,that let's you know the lucky charms has to be in rare form Ha!

7/29/2020 04:20 - Mike S.

NCEL, she asked how many tickets were left, not how many winning or losing tickets were left or or how winners and losers are distributed. To be more exact there are 176,814 tickets left. Based on the winning ticket percentage of 33.4448%, there are 59,135 winning tickets and 117,679 losing tickets available, whether they are in the warehouse or at a retailer.

7/29/2020 03:05 - Anita A.

So happy for you - enjoy your winnings and invest wisely.

7/29/2020 01:39 - Joshua M.

Awesome story! I'm glad this guy came out on top! :D

7/29/2020 12:54 - Mike S.

Jackie C. As of this morning there were 176,500 tickets left. Add up the remaining prizes and multiply that by the odds to figure it out.NC Lottery
Hey there Mike, Thanks for commenting! This is a great way to find an approximate estimate of how many tickets remain, but may not be entirely accurate, since winning and non-winning tickets are not distributed in exact intervals.

7/29/2020 12:13 - coriante s.

This is what I’m talking about rural areas in western nc. They talk about the odds I think these jackpots on cash 5 or scratch off are given out in certain areas in the state of North Carolina my opinion congrats to this guy who clearly knows the demographic of how the nc lottery issue out these jackpots I will be traveling out west near the mountains etc.... NC Lottery
Hey there Coriante, Visiting another area in the state isn't a way to beat the odds, as the odds will remain the same no matter where you are in the state. That said, we have strict security procedures in place to ensure that no one -- not even the lottery -- knows where a winning ticket is located until a lucky winner finds it.

7/29/2020 12:04 - Jackie C.

Fantastic win, congrats!! Question - how would you know how many total tickets are left in circulation? I see the chart with "prizes remaining", but that wouldn't list the losing tickets, so not sure how someone could tell the number of tickets left? NC Lottery
That's a great question, Jackie. You could send an email to player.info@lotterync.net and our team would do their best to estimate the number of tickets that remain in circulation for you.

7/29/2020 10:24 - Kim-Fai L.

The reason he did that is the last top prize has not hit, and the ticket is very low, the chance to hit the top prize is greater than all the other $20 tickets. But remember there is still 1 more $1,000,000 ticket out there, but this ticket is very limited now , not many store carry them.

7/29/2020 10:22 - Sheila I.

I took a chance a purchased 3 $30 Colossal Cash scratchers and won $50, $40 and $300....pure luck to win on all cards ??NC Lottery
That sounds like quite a good luck streak - way to go, Sheila!

7/29/2020 10:10 - Douglas H.

PS: I wonder how many tickets it took him to find this winning ticket it would be a fun fact know ;-)

7/29/2020 10:07 - Douglas H.

Wow Kevin that’s amazing sometimes that gut instinct just really leads you. You did it!! Congratulations

7/29/2020 10:01 - Michael B.

Nice strategy

7/29/2020 09:48 - natasha a.

Awesome. Let me go from store to store and buy all the tickets. I will end up broke

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