Local News

Record-breaking jackpot boosts earnings for NC education

Posted March 31, 2012 2:12 p.m. EDT
Updated March 31, 2012 3:06 p.m. EDT

— Thanks to the largest Mega Millions jackpot ever, the N.C. Education Lottery on Friday recorded its highest day of sales on the sixth anniversary of its existence.

Sales of Mega Millions tickets Friday, added to the figures from all 19 drawings that occurred during the jackpot’s climb to $640 million, resulted in an estimated $12.9 million extra for education programs across the state, lottery officials said Saturday.

“Lots of North Carolinians had fun this week dreaming of winning that jackpot on Friday and we were glad to see four tickets in our state produce wins of a quarter of a million dollars,” Education Lottery executive director Alice Garland said in a statement. “The biggest winner, however, was education.”

Sales for the 19 total drawings between Jan. 25 and March 30 were $34 million for the Mega Million game alone. During those drawings, more than 735,000 tickets in North Carolina won prizes ranging from $2 to $1 million, totaling $8.1 million.

Those sales also provided a big boost to the local economy, as retailers recorded $2.3 million in lottery commissions. The Education Lottery set a new record for a single day of ticket sales Friday, with more than $17 million in tickets being purchased.

In Friday’s Mega Millions drawing, tickets sold in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland all matched the winning jackpot numbers to split the $640 million jackpot. In North Carolina, there were 369,594 winning tickets totaling $3 million in prizes.

Four tickets sold in North Carolina beat odds of 1 in 3.9 million to match all five white balls and win $250,000 each. The lucky tickets were purchased at the Piggly Wiggly on Richlands Highway in Jacksonville, the Kroger on Six Forks Road in Raleigh, the Swift Mart on Marshburn Road in Wendell, and the Seminole Mart on U.S. 421 North in Broadway.

The winners have 180 days to come to lottery headquarters in Raleigh to claim their prize.

By law, lottery 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 $2.2 billion for these initiatives statewide.