For Charlie Carroll Jr. of Smithfield, the luckiest part about winning a $200,000 lottery prize wasn’t that he won it the first time he played, it was the fact that he didn’t throw the ticket away.
Carroll was at the Speedway on U.S. 70 in Garner when he decided to buy his first scratch-off ticket.
“I bought one ticket, won $100, and then decided to get two more,” Carroll said.
His third ticket turned out to be the big winner, but he didn’t realize it.
“I didn’t know what it was,” Carroll said. “I thought I didn’t win anything.”
He tucked the tickets in a folder and didn’t look at it for a week, until he was about to throw it away.
“It’s so surreal,” Carroll said. “I still don’t know why I saved it.”
When he checked the ticket again, he saw the words ‘instant winner’, and took it back to the store. When the clerk told him he won $200,000, he didn’t know what to think.
“I was overwhelmed,” Carroll said. “It’s kind of unbelievable.”
Carroll claimed his prize Thursday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. After required state and federal tax withholdings, he took home $139,003. He plans to use some of the money to pay bills.
Carroll won the last of five $200,000 prizes. The lottery will begin steps to end the Carolina Black game.
Ticket sales from games like Carolina Black made it possible for the lottery to raise more than $634 million for the state last year.