How are North Carolina lottery tickets distributed?
James Belich was on his regular lunch break when he decided to stop for a lottery ticket at Cigarettes & More on Pineville-Matthews Road in south Charlotte. He scratched the $30 ticket in the store and realized he’d won $10 million, NC Education Lottery officials said Friday.
“You never expect it,” Belich told lottery officials when he claimed his prize at lottery headquarters in Raleigh on Tuesday, according to a lottery news release. “You think maybe you’ll win something, but not $10 million. It’s unbelievable.”
Belich won the top prize in the $300,000,000 Supreme Riches scratch-off game. He beat odds of 1 in 3.2 million, according to the lottery website.
He is a logistics manager in Charlotte who lives in Lancaster, SC.
Belich couldn’t wait to tell his family when he got home but was speechless when he opened the door, his wife, Emily, told lottery officials.
”He was so shocked, all he could do was hold the ticket up in front of my face,” Emily Belich told lottery officials, according to the release. “Our two boys are too young to really understand. Our oldest is five, and he thinks we won $20.”
James Belich called his three brothers, his best friend since childhood and his uncle in Raleigh before he drove to his mom’s house, officials said. He wanted to tell her in person.
“My mom was a single mom,” Jame Belich told lottery officials. “We’re all really, really close. It’s important for me to share this win with them. When I told her, we both just cried.”
Belich could choose between a $10 million annuity with 20 annual payments of $500,000, and a $6 million lump sum. He chose the lump sum. After taxes, he took home $4,245,009, lottery officials said.
Belich and his wife plan to use the winnings to pay bills and invest.
“We like where we live, it’s great to raise a family,” James Belich told lottery officials. “We may buy a few extra rounds for folks when we go out, but this prize will create a brighter future for our kids. That’s what’s important. It’s awesome, just a blessing.”
Belich is the first player to win the top prize since the game started in April. Three $10 million prizes and five $1 million prizes remain to be claimed, according to the lottery’s website.
Cigarettes & More will receive a retailer incentive of $10,000 for having sold the ticket, lottery spokeswoman Townley Cheek told The Charlotte Observer.