RALEIGH – Debbie Keener, a surgical technologist from Hickory, plans to use the $100,000 prize she won playing the lottery to pay bills and save for the future.

Keener is the first player to win the top prize in the new $100,000 Taxes Paid game. The $5 game marks the first time the lottery has offered players the chance to take home one of six after-tax prizes of $100,000. She scratched her winning ticket at Jack B Quick on Falls Avenue in Granite Falls, where she made her purchase.

“I couldn’t believe it at first,” Keener said. “I kept looking at the ticket. I was shaking. I was so excited. I didn’t realize right away that the taxes were paid.”

The lottery will pay the minimum mandatory required federal and state tax withholding as part of the top prizes awarded for each of the three instant games. The actual top prize Keener claimed was $147,059.

“I’ve always thought it would be great to win a prize like this,” Keener added. “I don’t need the million dollar prizes or anything like that. This money will make life easier.”

As of Wednesday morning, five top prizes remain to be claimed in the game. The NCEL advises winners that they discuss with a tax professional any additional federal and state income taxes that may be due.

Two similar instant scratch-off games are now on sale: $5,000 Taxes Paid, a $1 game, and $30,000 Taxes Paid, a $2 game. The actual top prizes for each game are as follows: $7,353 for the $5,000 Taxes Paid game and $44,118 for the $30,000 Taxes Paid game.

Since the lottery began through June 30, 2011, Catawba County education programs received more than $27.8 million in lottery funds. By law, those funds pay for teachers’ salaries in grades K-3, school construction, need-based college scholarships and prekindergarten programs.