Wendy Hester of Leland said she can fulfill her longtime dream of buying a house for her family after she won the first $1 million top prize in a new scratch-off game.
“This is a dream,” Hester said. “We can finally get our home.”
Hester bought her lucky $10 VIP Platinum ticket from Fairhaven Mini Mart on Walker Street Northeast in Leland.
“Something just told me to buy it, so I did,” she said. “It was just meant to be, I think.”
Hester took the ticket home and started scratching it.
“I just kept looking at it thinking, ‘This can’t be right,’” she recalled. “But it was right.”
Hester said she contacted her husband as soon as she realized she won.
“I called him and told him, ‘I just won a million dollars,’” she said.
When Hester arrived at lottery headquarters Thursday, she had a decision to make. She could choose to receive her prize as an annuity of $50,000 over 20 years or a lump sum of $600,000. She chose the lump-sum amount of $600,000 and, after required state and federal tax withholdings, took home $427,503. She said in addition to buying a home, she will pay off her car too.
“This is a godsend,” Hester said. “We really needed this.”
The VIP Platinum game debuted this month with five $1 million top prizes. Four $1 million prizes remain to be claimed.
The N.C. Education Lottery’s Play Smart™ program educates and empowers North Carolinians to make smart decisions when they play the lottery. March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month and the lottery highlights Play Smart to help ensure when North Carolinians play the lottery it doesn’t become more than a game. Visit nclottery.com/PlaySmart to learn how the Play Smart program helps someone create a game plan to keep lottery play fun. If you or someone you know needs support, visit morethanagame.nc.gov/ for free, confidential help.
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