Kelford man strikes ‘Carolina Gold’

Published 10:33 am Wednesday, October 26, 2011

KELFORD – A $10 investment made a Bertie County man an instant millionaire.

Michael J. Thompson, a truck driver from Kelford, says the $1 million he won (before taxes) playing the Carolina Gold instant game means he can pay off some bills, slow down a little at work, and enjoy a bit more of life.

The win made Thompson the first person from Bertie County to win $1 million while playing the N.C. Education Lottery.

Thompson said he decided to buy the $10 instant ticket while making a stop at the Duck Thru Food Store on North Main Street in Rich Square because he had $10 in his pocket.

“Bought it, went home, scratched it, and almost passed out,” he said.

The Carolina Gold game allows players who win the top prize to choose between a 20-year annuity paying $50,000 a year or a discounted lump sum payment. Thompson chose the lump sum payment of $680,000 and after taxes received a check for $462,403.

The game launched Sept. 27 with three top prizes of $1 million that could be won instantly. Players can enter their non-winning tickets into a second chance drawing for a fourth $1 million prize.

From March 30, 2006 through June 30, 2011, Bertie County players won more than $11 million in prizes and local retailers earned more than $1.5 million in commissions on ticket sales.

During the same time frame, Bertie County education programs received more than $5 million in lottery funds. By law, these funds benefit specific programs. More than $1.1 million paid salaries of 23 teachers in grades K-3; more than $1.9 million provided 499 prekindergarten opportunities for at-risk four year olds; and more than $330,000 went to 307 need-based college scholarships. Bertie County officials decided how to utilize more than $1.6 million in school construction funds provided by the lottery.

To date, the N.C. Education Lottery has raised more than $2.11 billion for these initiatives statewide.