Boni Cortez Pelagio of Yadkinville said he was “visiting a friend” when he decided to stop in Mount Airy for water at the Speedway on Rockford Street, officials said in a news release. Yadkinville is about 25 miles west of Winston-Salem.
While at the store, he splurged on a $25 ticket in the Spectacular Riches scratch-off game.
Odds of winning $1 million in the game are 1 in 1,470,000, according to the lottery’s website.
Pelagio called the win “a miracle” — and it apparently left him wondering if he should have bought more tickets.
“I only bought the one ticket,” Pelagio said. “You never expect to win anything big, but especially not $1 million.”
He picked up his cash at the lottery office in Raleigh on Nov. 1, officials said.
Winners have the options of claiming “the $1 million as an annuity of $50,000 a year over 20 years, or a lump sum of $600,000.”
Most people go with the lump sum, experts say.
“Pelagio chose the annuity. After state and federal tax withholdings, he walked away with his first payment of $35,382,” lottery officials said. “Pelagio said he is looking forward to taking a vacation and maybe buying a house.”
Lottery experts suggest the lump sum option is often a better move for winners, due to tax issues.
“Choosing a lump-sum payout can help winners avoid long-term tax implications and also provides the opportunity to immediately invest in high-yield financial options like real estate and stocks,” Annuity.org reports.
However, the annuity payouts are more likely to help winners get more money — in the long run.
“Those payments include interest that will accumulate from investments over the life of the annuity. Annuities also protect winners who might otherwise spend everything after a lump-sum payment,” Annuity.org says.
The Spectacular Riches game was launched last month with eight $1 million prizes, officials said, and two have already been won.
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