North Carolina Scratch-Off Ticket Gets $1M Win for Teen

Last week, an 18-year-old student from Raleigh, North Carolina, won a $1 million scratch-off jackpot prize.

Jalen McLean paid his sister to pick up the winning Jumbo Bucks North Carolina lottery scratch-off from a Valero store in Fayetteville, about an hour south of the state capital of Raleigh. 

The youngest of five siblings, McLean made the admirably sensible choice to take the prize across 20 yearly payments of $50,000 rather than a lump sum. Post taxes, that works out to $35,753 per year. This week, he took home the first of his yearly checks from the lottery office.

“How many 18-year-olds win something like this,” he said, speaking to the North Carolina Education Lottery.

“I feel like the luckiest guy in the universe,” he said.

Jumbo Bucks Win

Mclean thought it was a normal Tuesday when he asked his sister, Dasha, to pick up some lottery scratch-offs as she was going to the store, and threw her some cash.

She came back from the Valero in Fayetteville with a $10 Jumbo Bucks scratch-off for her brother. McClean scratched it off, and realized he’d hit the $1 million top prize. 

“He had a huge smile on his face,” Dasha told the Lottery. “Like so big it looked like the movie character, Venom.”

The $1 million prize is a big win by anyone’s standards, and is enough to set you up for life if you invest most of it somewhat wisely.

Too Much Too Young?

However, spare a thought for one British teenage lottery winner who says it ruined her life. Callie Rogers, of Cockermouth, Cumbria, hit a £1.8 million (US$2.3 million) scratch-off jackpot in 2003 at age 16. 

Rogers then went on to spend the majority of the money by 2010, finally declaring complete bankruptcy in 2021. During that time, she crashed a luxury Range Rover while high on cocaine and had to be pepper-sprayed by police. That’s as well as reportedly spending, £300,000 partying and giving some £500,000 away to people she says took advantage of her.

Since her story, the minimum age to play the Lottery has been increased to 18.

‘It was too much money for someone so young,” Rogers said in a 2013 interview. “Even if you say your life won’t change, it does – and often not for the better.”

Sharing is Caring

Back in North Carolina, the young lottery winner McClean won’t be thinking about that kind of thing right now. He’s already picked the annuity option over the $600,000 in cash, meaning his capacity to spend unwisely will be limited. 

He said he plans to use some of his winnings to buy an Audi. And he also will share some with his siblings, who accompanied him to the Lottery office to collect his win.

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