RALEIGH – A lucky streak for Asheville businesswoman Diane Israel began with a $500 win and ended with a $1 million prize.
“I had just won $500 on an Aces High ticket,” Israel said. “I went to the store after I cashed in the ticket and bought a $20 Cash Blowout ticket and won $20. I decided to try one more and scratched it off right then and there. I scratched off the numbers first and figured I had only won my money back. Then I scratched off the rest. I thought I was hallucinating. It was unbelievable.”
Top prize winners in the $4,000,000 Cash Blowout game have the option of claiming their prize as a 20 year annuity, or as a lump sum. Israel chose the $600,000 lump sum, which had an after-tax value of $408,006. She plans to use her winnings to save for retirement and travel.
Israel purchased her winning ticket at the Hot Spot on Brevard Road in Asheville. As of Thursday morning, one $4 million prize and four $1 million prizes remain to be claimed in the game.
Ticket sales for games such as $4,000,000 Cash Blowout have enabled the lottery to raise more than $2.45 billion for education initiatives statewide. Since the lottery began through June 30, 2012, Buncombe County education programs received more than $40.5 million in lottery funds. By law, those funds pay for teachers’ salaries in grades K-3, school construction, prekindergarten programs for at-risk four-year-olds, and need-based college scholarships and financial aid.