A Franklin man recently became a millionaire after buying a winning Red Hot Millions scratch-off ticket at the Dowdle Mountain Pit Stop just off of US 441.
When Brian Rowland, a real estate broker with Mountain Pro Real Estate, went to Raleigh on Friday so lottery officials could verify his North Carolina Education Lottery ticket was valid, he announced his winnings would help him pay some medical bills and provide for his family's future. He purchased the winning ticket on Thursday morning.
“I am very grateful, and I am going to pay my tithe the very first thing,” Rowland said as he collected his prize at NCEL headquarters on Friday. “My wife is a breast cancer survivor so we are going to pay some medical bills to the wonderful hospital and doctors in Asheville who helped her beat cancer.”
Rowland said he planned to use the rest of the prize money for his family, including paying off bills and the mortgage and saving for college for his two daughters. “It's going to allow us to enjoy our family and slow down,” he said. His win came just three days after the Education Lottery launched the new instant game. The $10 game now has five of the six $1 million top prizes remaining to be claimed.
“I was excited for him. I had never seen anyone win a million dollars before,” said the Pit Stop clerk who sold Rowland the ticket. The clerk asked not to be named. “He didn't really play a whole lot. Every now and then he would buy a ticket.”
The Red Hot Millions game marks the first time that a N.C. Education Lottery instant game has allowed players who scratch off a $1 million prize to choose between a 20-year annuity prize or take a discounted lump sum cash prize.
Players who choose the annuity receive $50,000 a year for twenty years. Those who choose the lump sum receive a cash prize of $680,000. Rowland chose the lump sum option. After taxes, he received a payment of $462,403.
The game is played by revealing any of three winning symbols. If players reveal a red “HOT” symbol, they win the prize shown instantly. Revealing a red “Dollar” symbol automatically wins ten times the prize shown. Players who reveal a “$100 starburst” symbol instantly win one of the 80,000 $100 prizes available in the game. In all, the game has more than $44 million in prizes.
Other big winners in Macon County include a group of ten players who call themselves the “Sunset Restaurant Lottery Group” from Franklin. They won $250,000 earlier this year in the March 15 Mega Millions drawing. Before Rowland's $1 million win, the largest instant prize claim in Macon belonged to Donald Keaton of Franklin. He won $100,000 on a Platinum Payout ticket in July 2008.
Through fiscal year 2010 which ended June 30 of last year, Macon County players have won more than $4.2 million in prizes. Local retailers have earned more than $579,000 in commissions on ticket sales.
Macon County education programs have received more than $4.6 million in lottery funds through the same time period. By law, those funds benefit teacher salaries, school construction, need-based college scholarships and the More at Four pre-kindergarten program. Local officials in Macon County have used more than $1.7 million in lottery funds to pay down school construction project debt.