Gaston Co. man loses sleep after winning $250,000 on $5 scratch-off ticket

He said he took the ticket home and started scratching it while watching TV.
The final top prize in the Mega Bucks Limited Edition game has been claimed.
The final top prize in the Mega Bucks Limited Edition game has been claimed.(Source: N.C. Education Lottery)
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 1:16 PM EST
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GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) – A Gaston County man had a tough time sleeping on Saturday after his $5 scratch-off ticket netted him $250,000, lottery officials said.

“I was just trying to figure out if I was dreaming or something,” Paul Cobler Jr., 51, of Dallas, said. “I could barely sleep after it happened.”

According to the North Carolina Education Lottery, Cobler, a machinist, bought his lucky Mega Bucks Limited Edition ticket from the Walmart on Northwest Boulevard in Newton.

He said he took the ticket home and started scratching it while watching TV.

“I was in disbelief,” he recalled. “I just kept thinking, ‘This can’t be real.’”

Cobler went to lottery headquarters Monday to collect his prize and, after required state and federal tax withholdings, took home $178,126, lottery officials said.

He said he would like to use the winnings to pay off his house and car, and save for retirement.

“Hopefully from here on out it will be an earlier retirement than I was expecting,” he said.

According to the N.C. Education Lottery, Mega Bucks Limited Edition debuted in August with five $250,000 prizes.

Since Cobler won the last $250,000 top prize, the lottery will begin steps to end the game.