RALEIGH – Dan Royal, a carpenter from the small town of Forest City, is one of the biggest winners in state lottery history. After scratching off $750,000 playing “Jumbo Bucks” in February of 2012, this week Royal won the top prize on a “$5,000 a Week for Life!” ticket. The guaranteed value of the prize is $5.2 million.
Royal bought both of his lucky tickets at the same store. It was there on Friday morning that Alice Garland, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery, presented Royal with a check to celebrate his second windfall.
“We are here today at the Little Cubbard in Rutherfordton because this is the store where a really lucky player has had really good luck – twice,” she said. “We appreciate all our players and retailers across the state who make amazing things like this possible.”
Royal, who just turned 60 in June, decided that this prize meant he could call it a career.
“I’m going to quit punching the clock and do what I want to do,” he said. “I feel great. This is what people dream about.”
Royal had the option to claim his prize as an annuity in $260,000 payments each year for the rest of his life. The prize is guaranteed to a winner or his estate for a minimum of 20 years. Royal chose instead to collect a one-time cash payment. After required state and federal withholdings on the $3.5 million lump sum, Royal’s prize was worth $2.4 million.
With the prize money he won last year, Royal bought two trucks and land. This time he is considering the purchase of an RV so he can travel across the country.
“I’m going to build a house in Rutherford County,” he added. “I may open a deer hunt camp in South Carolina.”
Not only did Royal share plans for his lottery winnings, he offered advice for other players who hear about his good luck.
“Play within your means,” Royal said. “If you don’t have it, don’t spend it.”
Since the lottery began through June 30, 2012, Rutherford County education programs received more than $16.3 million in lottery funds. By law, those funds pay for teachers’ salaries in grades K-3, school construction, prekindergarten programs for at-risk four-year-olds, college scholarships and financial aid based on need, and digital learning. The N.C. Education Lottery has raised more than $2.9 billion for these initiatives statewide.