Bluffton man wins $1 million in Georgia Lottery

dburley@islandpacket.comFebruary 3, 2014 

A Bluffton resident won $1 million playing this Georgia Lottery game.

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A few scratches of a lottery ticket last month made a Bluffton man $1 million richer.

James Mollica, 52, beat 1-in-700,000 odds to win $1 million playing the Georgia Lottery's $10 Million Cash Spectacular game.

Mollica, a managing partner at Hilton Head Lexus, bought the ticket Jan. 24 at Parkway Shell gas station in Savannah and marked it off at the store. He claimed his prize three days later.

"I had to look at it a few times," he said in a news release from the lottery. "I feel wonderful."

When reached Monday, Mollica declined comment, saying he wanted to keep private about the prize.

With his wife, Denise, and two children, Mollica said in the release that he intends to save his windfall. He will be paid in 25 annual payments of $40,000, according to the lottery's website.

The auto dealer was the first person to win the $10 Million Cash Spectacular, according to lottery spokeswoman Kimberly Starks.

The game debuted last month and includes 40 top prizes, from $1 million to $10 million.

Mollica's win is the second major victory for a Bluffton resident in less than two months.

In late December, a Bluffton woman nearly threw out an S.C. Education Lottery ticket she purchased at the Publix on Buckwalter Place Boulevard. After marking off a few numbers, she realized she'd hit the jackpot of $250,000 on a "$250 Grand" ticket.

Other recent local winners include a Hardeeville man who netted $200,000 from a Lucky Loot ticket he bought at Handy Dans 3 in Ridgeland, and an out-of-state woman who won $300,000 with a Palmetto Cash 5 ticket sold at the Gulf Oil gas station in Hardeeville. Eight other tickets purchased in Beaufort or Jasper counties during the past two years delivered prizes of at least $50,000 each, according to Holli Armstrong, a lottery representative. Six of the tickets were purchased in Bluffton, she said last month.

Follow reporter Dan Burley at twitter.com/IPBG_Dan.

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