RALEIGH – Danny Langford, an environmental health and safety coordinator from Gastonia, is the first player to win the $1 million top prize in The Color of Money instant game.

Langford learned of his big win after scratching off the $10 ticket in the parking lot of the Raceway on South York Road in Gastonia.

“I had to look at it twice,’” recalled Langford, who beat odds of 1 in 1.1 million to win the prize. “This feels absolutely fantastic. This is going to help my family quite a bit.”

Top prize winners in The Color of Money game can choose to claim the $1 million prize in annual payments of $50,000 for 20 years or elect to receive a one-time cash payment of $600,000. Langford chose the lump sum and, after required state and federal withholdings, received a check for $415,203.

Langford plans to use his winnings to pay off his car loan, share with his family, take a vacation and save the rest for retirement. As of Tuesday morning, four more top prizes remain to be claimed in The Color of Money game.

Ticket sales have made it possible for the lottery to raise more than $3.19 billion for education programs statewide. For details on how more than $65.6 million in lottery funds have made a difference in Gaston County, click on the “Where the Money Goes” tab on the lottery’s website.