RALEIGH – Travis Manning, a builder from Trenton in Jones County, won the fourth and final $1 million prize in the Carolina Gold instant game.
The win came Thursday afternoon when Manning stopped at the Wilco on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in New Bern where he often buys coffee. Manning said he only plays lottery games occasionally. On this visit, he saw that the store had just loaded a new roll of Carolina Gold tickets into the dispenser, so he decided to buy ten.
“I went out to the truck to scratch them off, thinking maybe I’d win enough to buy a couple more,” Manning recalled. He won a total of $80 on the first four tickets before scratching off what he thought was a $100 prize on the fifth ticket.
“I saw the one, and two zeroes,” Manning said. “Then the ‘M’ showed. I sat there for about five minutes and waited for it to hit me.”
Manning called his wife, Mary, to tell her they had won $1 million. Then he took the ticket back inside the store to have it scanned. Manning said when the clerk saw the prize shown on the ticket her hands started shaking. When the ticket was scanned, the terminal played the lottery music and displayed the ‘claim at lottery’ message.
Friday morning, the Mannings traveled to lottery headquarters in Raleigh to collect their winnings. They opted to claim their prize as a lump sum of $680,000 rather than receiving $1 million as 20 annuity payments.
The next step, Travis said, was to deposit their after-tax winnings of $462,403 and meet with accountants to make a plan that would include saving for their kids’ college education. Mary said the family would take a trip to Disney World.
“We’re still going to be working,” Travis added. “It will make things easier with this economy.”
Besides Manning, three other North Carolinians collected $1 million Carolina Gold prizes. Players from Kelford in Bertie County and Kernersville in Forsyth County scratched their way to $1 million last fall. A fourth $1 million winner, also from Kernersville, won the prize in a second-chance drawing held in March.
Tickets for Carolina Gold’s sister game, Carolina Black, will be in stores June 5. The $5 game will launch with six top prizes of $100,000 and more than $17.2 million in total prizes.
Through June 30 of last year, Jones County education programs received more than $2.4 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 for at-risk four-year-olds. To date, the N.C. Education Lottery has raised more than $2.35 billion for these initiatives statewide.