North Carolina man wins two separate $25,000 a year for life prizes after accidentally playing same numbers twice

Published 8:00 am Thursday, December 9, 2021

The accidental purchase of two identical Lucky for Life tickets in the November 27 drawing produced not one but two $25,000 a year for life prizes for Scotty Thomas of Fayetteville, according to a press release from the North Carolina Education Lottery.

“I was just laying in bed watching a basketball game on TV and I couldn’t remember if I filled it out or not,” said Thomas, a 49-year-old dump truck operator. “I went ahead and filled it out again and the next morning my son asked why there were two different amounts listed. I realized, ‘I think I filled it out twice.’”

Thomas received two emails because he bought the $2 tickets using the lottery’s Online Play program on his smartphone. Winners get an email notification when they win.

“When I realized I won, I had to lay down on the floor because I really just couldn’t believe it,” Thomas said. “It’s just a blessing.”

When Thomas arrived at lottery headquarters the following Monday to collect his winnings, he faced a big decision. At age 49, he could take both prizes as annuities, receiving a total of $50,000 every year for the rest of his life. He could take one prize as an annuity – $25,000 a year for life – and the second as a lump sum of $390,000. Or, he could take both as lump-sum prizes of $390,000 each.

Thomas said he decided to take both prizes as lump-sum payments – $780,000 total – because he wants to invest in his business, pay off some bills, help out his family and possibly buy a house. After required federal and state tax withholdings, he took home $551,851.

Lucky for Life has a top prize of $1,000 a day for life. The second-biggest prize, $25,000 a year for life, is the prize that Thomas took home. Drawings are now held daily.

For details on how money raised by the lottery made an impact in 2020, visit www.nclottery.com and click on the “Impact” section.

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