When Winning $1 Million isn’t Really Winning $1 Million

Published Friday, May 18, 2018 at 2:11 pm

By Nathan Ham

The recent North Carolina Education Lottery news release of Boone resident Nancy Eastman winning $1 million on the Carolina Millions scratch-off shows just how much the state gets back from one winning ticket.

She could have chosen to take a $50,000 per year payment for 20 years, or a lump sum of $600,000. With the lump sum, that’s already $400,000 that she’ll never see. 

None of that even counts the taxes.

After state and federal tax withholdings, the $1 million ticket turned into $423,009. That’s still a good chunk of change and will most definitely help her financial situation. However, her and any of the other million dollar scratch-off winners will never see almost 60 percent of their initial “winnings.”

The rest of the money that the government doesn’t get and Eastman doesn’t get appears to be included in the money that is given back to the school systems across the state. After searching through the disclaimers and the information on the N.C. Education Lottery website, however, we did not find any exact wording as to why the $400,000 is taken out of the lump sum payment. 

The lottery keeps records of how much money each school district receives. According to their numbers, Watauga County Schools received $1,851,044 during the 2017 Fiscal year that went towards educational programs. $1,054,201 went to non-instructional support, such as office assistants, custodians and substitute teachers. $296,050 was allotted for school construction and repairs. Pre-Kindergarten is also another main benefactor of the North Carolina Education Lottery with Watauga County receiving $226,637 to go towards that program. $190,910 was allotted towards college scholarships and another $83,246 in financial aid. Over the last decade, Watauga County has received just over $16 million.

For Avery County, the school system received $941,011 for the 2017 Fiscal Year with $506,238 going to non-instructional support, $142,167 going towards school repair and construction and $226,468 allotted for the Pre-K program. College scholarships received $51,500 and financial aid received $14,638. Avery County has received $8,597,107 from the N.C. Lottery in the last decade.

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