RALEIGH, NC (NC EDUCATION LOTTERY) — Mega Millions players trying their luck at the biggest jackpot ever led to the N.C. Education Lottery on its sixth anniversary recording its highest day of sales ever. Sales of Mega Millions tickets Friday, added to those for all 19 drawings that occurred during the jackpot’s climb to $640 million, resulted in an estimated $12.9 million extra for education programs in North Carolina.
“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,” said Alice Garland, executive director of the Education Lottery. “The biggest winner, however, was education because we’ll raise a lot more money this year for teacher salaries, school construction, college scholarships and our pre-k programs.”
Sales for those 19 drawings, recorded 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 boosted the local economy as lottery retailers recorded $2.3 million in lottery commissions. The Education Lottery set a new record for a single day of ticket sales on Friday, the sixth anniversary of the start of the lottery on March 30, 2006. The new record is $17,660,273, up $8.7 million from the previous record of $8.8 million set on March 12, 2008. Mega Millions ticket sales on Friday accounted for $12.3 million of all the day’s sales.
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.
Ten other tickets sold in the state matched the numbers on four of the five white balls plus the number on the Mega Ball to win $10,000 each. Two other tickets matched numbers of four white balls plus the Mega Ball and are valued at $30,000 because they were $2 Megaplier tickets. The Megaplier number drawn on Friday was the No. 3 so the initial $10,000 win was multiplied by three.
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.