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Wilson man’s dream came true as he wins $167,635 lottery prize

December 3, 2021 Posted by NC Lottery at 3:46 PM

James Penny of Wilson saw a dream become reality when he turned $5 in Cash 5 tickets into a $167,635 lottery win.

“I’ve dreamed of winning the lottery my entire life,” Penny said. “It’s a dream come true.”

Penny purchased his winning ticket on Sunday from the comfort of his recliner using the lottery’s Online Play program on his smartphone.

When he got up in the morning to check his email, he saw a notification that said he won. Penny said his wife had to calm him down because he was so excited.

“I almost passed out,” Penny said. “I was stunned.”

When asked how he would celebrate his big win, Penny, a 52-year-old factory worker, said he is looking forward to taking a family trip with his wife and two children over the holidays, either to Pigeon Forge, Tenn. or Orlando, Fla.

Penny was one of three winners who matched all five numbers in Sunday’s drawing, so the $502,905 jackpot was divided three ways. A Florida woman purchased one of the other two winning tickets in Bryson City at the Ingles Markets on Hughes Branch Road, and the third ticket was purchased in Raleigh at the Han-Dee Hugo on Hillsborough Street.

Penny arrived at lottery headquarters on Friday to collect his prize. After required federal and state tax withholdings, he took home $118,603.

Cash 5 is one of four lottery games in North Carolina where players have the option of buying their tickets through Online Play, either through the lottery’s website or with the NC Lottery Official Mobile App. Cash 5 tickets are $1 and drawings are held every night.


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12/13/2021 09:18 - Roger K.

Wow, simply amazing how them 3 sets of the same numbers came out on 2 tickets and a online play. Quick picks, 3-14-15-31-41

12/11/2021 09:05 - Eugene H.

Hi NCEL, Has the Wednesday, Nov 17 CASH 5 jackpot been claimed yet?NC Lottery
Hi Eugene, the winning ticket from the Nov. 17, 2021 Cash 5 jackpot has not yet been claimed.

12/07/2021 08:24 - Lachanda F.

congratulations ??

12/06/2021 10:29 - Linda T.

thanks a lot NCEL...the points have shown up now .

12/06/2021 10:02 - Linda T.

entered a holiday ticket & played the white elephant game this a.m. didn't get points for either of them. refreshed the page and logged out/back on too, still no points for either of those. Got the "ENTRIES" into the holiday game but no points added to my acct. Please look into it, looks like problems on NCEL's end with Mega bucks tickets too. won't call, n/t . maybe if you get enough complaints here your techs will look into it. NC Lottery
Hi Linda! We will definitely let our engineers know that multiple players are experiencing issues with earning points on their accounts. In the meantime, if you would like to chat with someone from Online Support (we offer phone conversations, email, and online chat for convenience if you have limited time) and someone can look into this for you: We apologize for the inconvenience.

12/05/2021 11:12 - Merydolkis G.

Congratulations to all 3 winners!

12/05/2021 09:55 - JULIA J.

I still cannot enter the Mega Bucks tickets i Lucke Rewards, please fix the problem.NC Lottery
Hi Julia, thanks for reaching out and letting us know you are experiencing this issue! If the issue is persisting, please contact our Online Support team at 1-866-934-0289 or visit and a member of our team can look into this for you. We apologize for the inconvenience!

12/05/2021 10:50 - Roger K.

Wow! Congratulations on your win! Never dreamed of winning, but I have always thought about it. Does the double play drawing, drawn before or after the regular cash5 drawing has taken place? Again congratulations on the 3 winners. Waiting patiently on my win.NC Lottery
Great question, Robert! The Double Play drawing is conducted offscreen after the Cash 5 drawing due to limitations with TV production timing. However, with all of our drawings, we have strict security protocols in place, including an independent auditor being present for each live drawing, to ensure the integrity of the draws. If you’re interested in seeing a specific Cash 5 Double Draw, you can request the recording by emailing Hope this helps!

12/05/2021 09:57 - Janet K.


12/05/2021 07:25 - Amy G.


12/04/2021 09:59 - Deborah C.


12/04/2021 08:05 - Jeffrey F.


12/04/2021 07:39 - JIA L.

All the $5Mega Buck tickets say "invalid ticket submission" while entering for reward points, what's wrong?NC Lottery
Hi Jia! We apologize for any inconvenience and frustration caused by this. Please contact our Online Support team at 1-866-934-0289 or visit and a member of our team can look into this.

12/04/2021 06:13 - shirley b.

Where is 999 NCEL?NC Lottery
Hi Shirley! The odds of a particular triple coming out in a North Carolina drawing are the same as in a Pick 3 drawing anywhere else -- exactly 1 in 1,000. Those odds never change, no matter how recently or long ago a triple came out. We love it when popular numbers come up at random, because that means our players win a bunch of prizes! But for draw games to be fair, every number has to have the same chance of being drawn. We hope your favorite number hits soon!

12/04/2021 12:50 - joanie m.

Congratulations ??

12/04/2021 09:29 - Darlene E.

Was purchsing tickets on last night and the retailer asked if I wanted a FREE KENO ticket I said yes.He scanned 2 slips and gave me 2 keno tickets( which I won 1.00 on each one) Question is other retailers say they know nothing about this. WHY? Also some retailers scan your winning tickets an staple together, say has to be accounted for. But othes scan ,tear in half an trash them? Again shouldn't the lottery rules apply to all retailers? It's just not right!!! Thanks for any consideration in these matters.NC Lottery
Hi Darlene! Sometimes, our sales representatives will have coupons, such as the free Keno ticket you received, that they will distribute to retailers. However, this is random - so some may have them, others may not. As for the stapling of tickets, this would just depend on the retailer's internal accounting procedures, which is up to each individual retailer. Hope this helps clarify things!

12/04/2021 09:21 - Darlene E.

Regardin Pick 4. On friday 12/3/2021 day came 9919, I played the 9999(1off) my ticker had for the 150.00 9998-9990-9989-9909-9899-9099-8999-0999. Thought I won with the 9909 that was one number off of the 9919. Retailer scanned an said NO WINNER!!!Several times I've has numbers like this, How exactly is the 1off played???? It says 1 number off number thats drawn. So confused. please explain. ThanksNC Lottery
Thanks for your question, Darlene! 1-Off plays require at least one digit to be 1 digit up or down from the drawn number. So if you had purchased 9909 for a 1-Off ticket, this would have been a winner. However, 9999 is two digits off of the drawn number, so unfortunately it was not a winner this time. We hope your next ticket is a lucky one!

12/04/2021 12:32 - Richard C.

Congratulations to all the winners!

12/04/2021 12:24 - Cedric B.

Congratulations! I’m so glad for you. I hate you had to split it. I wish NC did their Cash 5 like SC. They have a Multiplier(2-5 and sometimes 10). The pot stays at $100,000. But multiple people can win and not have to split it.

12/03/2021 10:13 - lori j.


12/03/2021 09:24 - Selma P.

Always love when someone local wins.. congratulations!

12/03/2021 08:54 - willie s.

It's my time!

12/03/2021 07:59 - zhi x.

For the $5 Mega Bucks, all tickets can't be entered for reward points, it says Invalid ticket submission! what happened!?NC Lottery
Hi Zhi! Thank you for reaching out and we apologize for the inconvenience. We will pass this information along to our engineers. Please reach out to our Online Support team at 1-866-934-0289 or visit and we can look into this for you further.

12/03/2021 06:59 - Sabrina D S.

Congrats ????

12/03/2021 06:32 - Steve M.

God Is Good and On Time!!! Congratulations To All Winners!!!

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