James Belich of Lancaster, S.C. won the top prize of $10 million playing the $300,000,000 Supreme Riches scratch-off. PHOTO: NC Education Lottery
“You never expect it,” said Belich. “You think maybe you’ll win something, but not $10 million. It’s unbelievable.”
Belich, who works as a logistics manager in Charlotte, was on his lunch break when he stopped by the Cigarettes & More on Pineville Matthews Road in Charlotte to purchase the lucky ticket.
He started scratching in the store, and when he realized he was holding a winning $10 million ticket, he couldn’t wait to tell his family.
James bought his winning scratch-off at Cigarettes & More on Pineville Matthews Road in Charlotte.
“When he got home, he was so shocked all he could do was hold the ticket up in front of my face,” said his wife, Emily.
“Our two boys are too young to really understand. Our oldest is five and he thinks we won $20.”
How to find the closest place to play the lottery in North Carolina.
Belich called his brothers, his best friend since childhood and his uncle in Raleigh to give them the good news. Then he drove to his mom’s house to tell her in person.
RIGHT: A $300 million Supreme Riches NC lottery scratch-off game ticket . PHOTO: NC Education Lottery
“You know, I’m one of four brothers,” said Belich. “My mom was a single mom. We’re all really, really close. It’s important for me to share this win with them. When I told her, we both just cried.”
Belich claimed his prize Tuesday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. He had the option of taking a $10 million annuity that has 20 payments of $500,000 a year or a lump sum of $6 million.
He chose the lump sum and, after required state and federal tax withholdings, he took home $4,245,009.
Belich and his wife don’t plan on making any big lifestyle changes just yet and will use their winnings to pay bills and invest.
“We like where we live, it’s great to raise a family,” says Belich.
“We may buy a few extra rounds for folks when we go out, but this prize will create a brighter future for our kids. That’s what’s important. It’s awesome, just a blessing.”
Belich is the first player to win the top prize since the $30 ticket launched in April with four $10 million prizes and six $1 million prizes. Three $10 million prizes and five $1 million prizes remain to be claimed.
VIDEO: The top 3 winner stories in April from the NC Education Lottery. Players across the state claimed 21 prizes of $100,000 or more in April, including one $10 million prize and three $1 million prizes.
ABOUT: NC Education Lottery:
Ticket sales from instant games like the $300,000,000 Supreme Riches make it possible for the lottery to raise more than $650 million a year for education.
For details on how lottery funds made a difference all 100 North Carolina counties last year, visit the “Impact” section of the lottery’s website.