LUMBERTON — What were the odds?
Well, according to the North Carolina Education Lottery, they were 575,757 to one.
But Robert and Paula Stallings, a married couple who live in Lumberton, overcame that stacked deck in Saturday’s drawing of the Carolina Cash 5 and, in doing so, lost a house payment and found some fun time.
According to a statement by Ryan Kennemur, Public Information officer for the North Carolina Education Lottery, the couple won a $319,680 jackpot in the Saturday drawing, which will leave them with $217,832 after Uncle Sam gets his bite.
They plan to use part of the money to pay off their mortgage, according to Kennemur. The rest of their winnings? A family vacation.
The Stallings’ felt lucky after matching four out of five of the numbers the night before and cashing in a more modest amount.
“We had just won $321 the night before,” Robert Stallings said. “So we decided to use some of those winnings to buy 10 more Cash 5 tickets. The next morning when we saw the numbers online, we must have checked it 30 times. This feels wonderful.”
The winning ticket was bought from the Sun Do Kwik Shop at 2935 N.C. 211.
“We like playing because the odds are better than Powerball,” Robert Stallings said about the Carolina Cash 5 game. “Also, every five dollars we spent got us an entry into the Bonus Bucks drawings, so we’ve got another chance at winning some money later on, as well.”
Jeffery Ross, the manager of the store, said he hopes others will try their luck at Sun Do Kwik Shop.
“I’m glad we had a winner. I’ve been the manager here since February of 2011 and I’ve been hoping we’d have a winner,” said Ross. “I think it will help us increase our sales, just by word of mouth it’s already helped us a lot.”
According to Kennemur, the Public Schools of Robeson County had received more than $38.4 million in lottery money through June 30, 2011. The N.C. Education Lottery, which was established by the state General Assembly in 2005, has raised more than $2.45 billion throughout the state to help pay for teachers’ salaries, school construction, prekindergarten programs for at-risk 4-year-olds, and college scholarships and financial aid.