RALEIGH – Farmers, a waitress, a prekindergarten teacher, and an accountant were among those winning $1 million or more in lottery prizes during fiscal year 2013 as strong ticket sales led to record lottery earnings for North Carolina of $478 million.

The wins occurred as the N.C. Education Lottery achieved for the seventh year in a row an increase in lottery ticket sales and earnings. Sales as of June 30, the end of the fiscal year which began in July 1, 2012, were $1.69 billion, up 5.8 percent. Based on preliminary, unaudited results, earnings grew an estimated 4 percent.

“When people enjoy playing our games and winning prizes, then our sales go up,” said Alice Garland, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery. “And as our sales go up, so do our earnings for education in North Carolina. The money the lottery is raising is making a difference for education in every county in the state. Teaching jobs, scholarships, new school buildings, and Pre-K seats for four-year-olds wouldn’t be there without the lottery. The dollars to help such worthwhile causes are needed today more than ever.”

Garland attributed the record year to strong growth in the sale of instant tickets which exceeded $1 billion for the first time in the lottery’s history. She said the lottery also benefited from a record Powerball jackpot of $587.5 million in November and a second record Powerball jackpot in May of $590.5 million.

The Education Lottery awarded an estimated $1.02 billion in prizes, on average about $2.8 million a day. A breakdown of the 49 wins of $1 million or more shows:

• Twenty-six of the wins occurred with instant games; 17 occurred with Powerball; four wins came with the Mega Millions game; one came with the Carolina Cash 5 game; and one came with a second-chance drawing in the Holiday Millions instant game.
• Winners of $1 million or more lived in 27 different North Carolina counties with six residing in Guilford County, five in Mecklenburg County, four in Wake County, three in Forsyth County, and two each from Rowan, Buncombe, Iredell, and Cabarrus counties. The Triad also saw a group of 20 workers from RF Micro Devices share a $1 million Powerball prize and a Triad family share a $1 million Powerball prize. Buncombe County also had two friends share a $1 million instant prize. And a father and son from Lenoir and Pitt counties in Eastern North Carolina shared a $1 million Powerball prize.
• Occupations of big winners included farmers, a waitress, a prekindergarten teacher, an accountant, security guards, a barber, a customer service rep, a hospital housekeeper, nurses, and an owner of a health club.
• Plans for spending winnings included paying bills, saving for retirement, college funds, charities, churches, helping family, buying new homes and cars, and taking vacations.

Other highlights of the year included:

• Surpassing $9.6 billion in total sales since inception. As of June 30, sales totaled $9,655,319,269.
• Exceeding $2.92 billion in total contributions to the state and education in North Carolina since inception.
• Collecting $14.2 million in state income taxes in FY13 from prize winnings and $1.3 million in debts owed to state and local governments.
• Transferring $1 million to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services for gambling addiction, education and treatment programs.
• Paying $118 million in commissions to retailers.
• Supporting minority-owned businesses in North Carolina with $11.2 million in contracts either from the NCEL or its vendors.
• Increasing the number of retailers selling lottery tickets to 6,839 retail locations, up 1.2 percent from the year before.