• 52°

Lottery trio strike it big

The North Carolina Education Lottery (NCEL) opened with a bang on Thursday.

While there were no reports of big winners locally, NCEL officials presented its first check on Friday to a top prize winner in the $100,000 Carolina Cash instant scratch-off game.

Richard Garland of Newton purchased the winning ticket worth $100,000 at BJY Fast Stop in Conover.

After taxes, Garland’s prize is worth $68,001.60.

When asked what he would do with his money Garland said, “I think I’m going to buy me a house.”

Two other people visited NCEL prize claims offices on Friday to collect their winnings. James Greene, a sergeant in the Army stationed at Ft. Bragg, purchased his winning $10,000 ticket at BP Family Fare in Fayetteville. Greene said he was going to pay bills and buy an Xbox.

Steve Moore bought his “Tic Tac Toe” ticket worth $5,000 at Boone’s Corner in Candler. He said he was going to use his money on a drag racecar.

He too was excited about being a winner. Moore said, “It’s just plum neat.”

Locally, there were reports of Roanoke-Chowan area residents earning small prizes. Most ranged between $10 and $50.

Local retail outlets for the NCEL reported brisk sales on Thursday. One local convenience mart manager told The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald that lines were long in her store.

After years of effort, North Carolina becomes the 42nd state in the nation to offer games of chance. More than 5,000 retailers across the Tar Heel State, including 59 here in the four-county Roanoke-Chowan area, began selling “scratch-off” tickets on Thursday. Those “scratch-off” games include BlackJack ($2 per ticket with prize amounts from $2 to $21,000), Tic Tac Toe ($1 per ticket with prizes ranging between $1 and $5,000), Carolina Cash ($5 per ticket with prizes between $10 and $100,000) and North Carolina Scenes ($1 per ticket, prizes ranging from $2 to $5,000).

According to NCLE officials, North Carolina is expected to join 28 other states in offering a Power Ball lotto effective May 30. Other games are scheduled to be up and running later this year.

The General Assembly estimates that $425 million will be produced by the Education Lottery for education purposes in the 2006-07 fiscal year.

For more information about the NCEL, visit the websites at www.nc-educationlottery.org or www.lottery.nc.gov. The phone number to call is 919/715-6886 (71-LOTTO).