James Varnedore of Roanoke Rapids is celebrating his good fortune after winning the first top prize of $1 million in the new Million Dollar Fever scratch-off game.

Varnedore bought the lucky $10 ticket at the New Dixie Mart on N.C. 48 in Roanoke Rapids.

He claimed his prize Tuesday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. Varnedore had the choice of taking a $1 million annuity that has 20 payments of $50,000 a year or a lump sum of $600,000. He chose the lump sum and, after required state and federal tax withholdings, took home $417,009.

The scratch-off game launched on Aug. 1 with five top prizes of $1 million. Four top prizes remain.

Ticket sales from instant games make it possible for the lottery to raise more than $600 million a year for education. For details on how lottery funds have made a difference in Halifax County, click on the “For Education” section of the lottery’s website.