Lottery pays off for store

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The Stop-n-Go sells gas, snacks, drinks, and sundries, but the big draw for the store is lottery tickets.

In 2019 alone, the store sold $1,072,272 in winning South Carolina Education Lottery (SCEL) tickets.

Just recently, a $130,000 ticket was sold at the same store, making the Stop-n-Go on North Jefferies Boulevard the number one place in Colleton County for lottery winnings.

Sai Patel, manager of the convenience store, is happy with the reputation the site now has for paying out winning lottery tickets.

“This is very nice,” said Patel. “Maybe just coming here makes you lucky,” he said laughing.

Patel gives his customers all of the credit. “They are the ones who buy the tickets and are so friendly. Without my customers, there would be no winning.”

Maybe so, but According to Lottery USA, the odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302.6 million and the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million. Combine those two and the odds of winning both jackpots for more than a billion dollars comes out to 1 in 88 quadrillion.

So, you stand a better chance of being struck by lightning, bitten by a shark or injured in your bathroom.

Some important facts about the lottery come from the State of South Carolina Education Lottery Commission are that paying rent and buying groceries are more important than buying a ticket. If you can’t afford it, don’t play the lottery. Be a responsible player.

Another fact is that as soon as you get any lottery ticket, sign your ticket in the space provided on the ticket back. If you lose a ticket before you sign it, you no longer have valid ownership of tan unsigned ticket.

Once your ticket is signed, if the winnings are valued at $500 or less, you may redeem your ticket at any lottery retailer. Lottery retailers can award up to $500 in cash, store check, money order or a combination. Winnings over $500 up to and including $100,000 may be claimed by mail or at the Columbia Claims Center.

To redeem winnings by mail, you have to fill out a claim form and include a copy of a picture identification card (driver’s license, state or military I.D. or passport), then mail the signed ticket, the claim form, and the copy of the I.D. via registered mail to the Columbia Claims Center. Winnings greater than $100,000 must be redeemed in person at the Columbia Claims Center.

While the South Carolina Education Lottery is not responsible for deciding which programs are funded with lottery proceeds, more than $1.9 million scholarships have been awarded to South Carolina students since the first ticket was sold in 2002. Through June 30, 2019, lottery proceeds have been appropriated by the General Assembly as follows: $3,877 billion for scholarships, $255 million for other higher education programs, $180 million for the Smartstate Program™, and $171 million for technology.

K-12 schools in the state have received $960 million, which includes $517 million for reading, math, science and social studies, $184 million for other programs and the Technology Initiative, $154 million for school buses, and $144 million to support the Education Accountability Act.

According to Sam Litchfield, chairman S.C. Lottery Commission, “We will continue to work even harder to provide proceeds for education. This stewardship maximizes the funds available to improve education here in South Carolina, which makes for a bright today and an even brighter tomorrow.

“Always remember, when you buy a lottery ticket from SCEL, you don’t just take a chance, you also give one,” said Litchfield.

But also remember that not everything is great about playing the lottery. You have to be 18 or older to play, if you lose your ticket you are out of luck, you have 90 days to claim your prize, and yes, you have to pay taxes on your winnings.

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