Stack of Old Powerball Tickets Hides $1 Million Winner

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It pays not to throw things away, sometimes. When a Myrtle Beach man heard that an unclaimed $1 million lottery ticket had been sold at a Carolina Forest Scotchman, he rummaged through his stack of old South Carolina Education Lottery tickets, and after checking their website, discovered one of his tickets that’d been lying around since June was a big winner.

When he found he’d won, he said that all he could do was stare at the ticket. When his wife heard the news, he said she just giggled.

“I’ve been playing since the lottery started in South Carolina,” said the winner, whose name was not released by lottery officials. “The most I’ve won before was $12.”

There are more than 7,700 players in South Carolina who hold tickets for unclaimed prizes, ranging between $4 and $1 million. After defying the 1 in 5,153,633 odds of winning $1 million (or the better odds of winning a smaller prize), players have 180 days from the drawing date to claim their prizes. When they do, they can choose between a lump sum payout or an annuity. The former option pays out the entire prize in one lump sum, while the latter consists of 30 annual payments that increase over time.

Thanks to the win, the money has now secured the couple’s “retirement and could possibly lead to a new home.”

On the downside, if the new millionaire had spent just one more dollar on the PowerPlay, he would have doubled his prize to $2 million, according to lottery officials. If his Powerball number had matched, the entire jackpot would have been his for the taking.

“I try not to think about that,” said the winner. “I’m just glad to know my footsteps had a little luck in them.”

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