Business owner Jimmy Kennovin thought Sept. 9 was a good day after he won $100 on a scratch-off lottery card. He went back into the store and bought a couple more tickets.
“You hear about people that buy the $50,000 winner and the next one they buy wins a million,” Kennovin said of the hunch.
His odds of winning a jackpot by walking back into the Grocery Boy Jr. on West Garner Road remained the same as before: 1 in 2.5 million. But letting it ride turned a good day into an insanely lucrative one. After the second $20 ticket stiffed him, Kennovin won a cool $4 million (a $1.66 million immediate payout after taxes) on the third.
Kennovin owns Deluxe Home Comfort, a home heating and air business he has run for more than two decades, and says he doesn’t plan on changing much about his life. To reach him Monday, his office had to page him because he was out in the field, doing his job.
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“I just want to keep on working,” Kennovin said. “I’m going to pay off some of my house, buy a car for my son and a boat. And I’m sure we’ll take a vacation. But outside of that, I’m going to save for retirement and go back to work.”
The $4 million Multiplier Spectacular prize could have come in 20 annual $200,000 payments, or a $2.4 million lump sum. Kennovin elected the lump sum, and taxes took out about a third of the winnings.
The $20 game has about a 1 in 3 chance of winning at least the ticket cost back, and about a 1 in 29 chance of winning $100 or more.
Half of the N.C. Education Lottery’s revenues go into payouts, while 35 percent goes into education. The rest goes into operating costs and marketing.
Kennovin said he plays for fun and doesn’t worry about losing because the money helps support a good cause. He won one of the game’s four top prizes; there are an additional 10 prizes of $1 million.