$188M lottery winner speaks out

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Shallotte native Marie Holmes is $188 million richer today. She says she bought the winning ticket in the Powerball yesterday.

“I was screaming in the house. Telling my kids, we made it, and they ran away talking about, ‘I scared them.’ I don’t have to worry about depending on nobody, I can do it all by myself. I can go back to school and make an even better life for my kids,” Holmes said.

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She is on her way to Raleigh to officially claim her ticket and get some much needed financial advice.

The winning ticket was sold at the Scotchman at 359 Whiteville Road in Shallotte, according to GPM Investments, LLC, which owns the store. The ticket is worth an estimated $188 million, according to the NC Education Lottery.

“We are so very excited for the lucky Scotchman customer who will enjoy this big win,” GPM’s Senior VP of marketing Bill Reilly said in a news release. “And we could not be more pleased that the ticket was purchased in one of our stores.”

The store gets a $50,000 retailer incentive award for selling a winning jackpot ticket.

The owner of the ticket has not yet come forward, lottery officials say. The winner has 180 days from the date of the drawing to claim the prize at NCEL headquarters in Raleigh. The win is the fourth time that a North Carolina ticket has claimed a Powerball jackpot.

“It’s a lucky day to be in North Carolina,” NCEL Executive Director Alice Garland said in a news release. “We look forward to meeting the jackpot winner, but the most important thing for the winner to do today is sign the back of the ticket and secure it in a safe place. This is a life-changing event. The lucky winner should take some time and get sound professional advice before coming in to get the big check.”

This was one of three winning tickets in the state. Two $1 million tickets were sold in Raleigh and Greensboro, lottery officials said.

The $188 million prize was one of three winning tickets sold of the more than $560 million jackpot. The other winning tickets were sold in Texas and Puerto Rico.