RALEIGH – Pfafftown resident Rusty Hunter has lived in North Carolina all his life. These days, he’s semi-retired, keeping busy as a self-employed handyman. This week, he became the first winner of $4 million in the lottery’s new $4,000,000 Gold Bullion scratch-off game. No one in state history has won a larger guaranteed instant prize.
“I’m a little more retired now,” Hunter said as he claimed his prize. “To win it – what I won – is like ‘Whoa.’”
Hunter, 60, will receive his $4 million prize in annuity payments of $200,000 for the next 20 years. After depositing his first after-tax check for $136,006, Hunter has already purchased a new Chevy Silverado pick-up truck and shared plans to buy an Airstream trailer. Hunter added that he would like to buy a vacation home in the mountains where he can go hunting and fishing and spend time with his dad.
Alice Garland, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery, presented Hunter with a “big check” on Friday at a celebration held at Three Brothers By-Lo on Reynolda Road in Winston-Salem where he purchased his ticket.
“We are so happy that such amazing luck happened here,” Garland said. “Players like Rusty and local businesses like this one are the reason the lottery has been able to raise more than $2.6 billion for education.”
Hunter said he decided to give the $4,000,000 Gold Bullion game a try because he likes to play new games and his intuition told him a big win was coming.
“You just get a feeling,” he said. “And I knew I was going to win.”
The $4,000,000 Gold Bullion game started Feb. 12 with three top prizes of $4 million and seven prizes of $1 million. Players who win the game’s top prize have the option of claiming it as a 20-year annuity or a lump sum option that can be claimed in either cash or gold bullion. Earlier this week, a preschool teacher from Beaufort County won the first $1 million prize.
Along with draw games, sales of instant tickets make it possible for the N.C. Education Lottery to raise money to benefit specific education programs in all 100 counties.
Since the lottery began through June 30, 2012, Forsyth County education programs received more than $80.5 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 college scholarships and financial aid based on need.
To date, the N.C. Education Lottery has raised more than $2.6 billion for these initiatives statewide.