RALEIGH – Raleigh resident Martrail Utley plans to use the $100,000 he won playing the new $100,000 Crossword game to pay bills and buy his mother a dog.
Utley, a kitchen worker at a local hotel, takes care of his mother who stays home due to having multiple sclerosis. He regularly purchases lottery tickets and lets his mother scratch them off.
“My mom has always loved schnauzers,” Utley said as he collected his winnings. “She’s going to get the best one there is.”
Utley was at home when his mother scratched off the winning ticket for him.
“My mom was sitting at the kitchen table when she scratched it,” Utley said.
“She doesn’t get out much, so I buy her lottery tickets as a form of entertainment. She really likes the crossword tickets. This feels really good.”
Utley is the first player to win the game’s top prize. After taxes were withheld, Utley received a check for $68,001. He purchased the winning $5 ticket at the Resco Mart on Purser Drive in Raleigh.
The $100,000 Crossword game launched Tuesday with the largest top prize ever offered on a crossword game in North Carolina. As of Friday morning, four top prizes of $100,000 and many other prizes remain unclaimed in the game.
Ticket sales for games such as instant scratch-offs have enabled the lottery to raise more than $2.58 billion for education initiatives statewide. Since the lottery began through June 30, 2012, Wake County education programs received more than $189.4 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.