Teenager wins $2m lottery jackpot from one of first times he ever bought ticket

Donnie Leviner bought a ticket on a whim while filling up his lawnmower at convenience store

Dan Gooding
Thursday 02 May 2024 18:08 BST
Donnie Leviner, 18, won $2m on the lottery in North Carolina
Donnie Leviner, 18, won $2m on the lottery in North Carolina (NCEL)

A teenager has won a $2 million lottery jackpot, after saying he trusted a gut feeling that it was time to play.

Donnie Leviner, 18, had gone to the convenience store in Laurinburg, North Carolina, to fill up his lawn mower.

“Something just told me to buy it,” he told the North Carolina Education Lottery after his big win.

The teen has only bought a few tickets in his life, and took the chance on a $20 Big Cash Payout game.

Mr Leviner couldn’t believe it when his numbers came up. “I was in disbelief,” he said. “I really didn’t think it was true.

“I initially just went there to fill up the lawn mower.”

The 18-year-old collected his winnings on Monday, opting for a $1.2m lump sum, rather than the $100,000 a year option.

After taxes, he took home $858,006, which he told the lottery that he would spend wisely.

North Carolina Education Lottery benefits local schools. Scotland County, where Mr Leviner lives, received $1.6m in funding for projects since the Big Cash Payout debuted last July.

The odds of winning something in the scratch-off game are 1 in 3.21, but to win the top-prize of $2m the odds ride to nearly 1 in 1.6 million.

Four people have won that jackpot so far, according to the lottery’s website, with two more prizes to be won. Most prizes given out range from $5k to $20k.

Across North Carolina, the lottery funds free Pre-K for over 13,000 children, offers scholarships to students in need and pays for school transportation.

In 2023, the lottery raised more than $1 billion for these projects across North Carolina.

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