REGIONAL: Rowan County man can buy first house after $700,000 win

Published 10:13 am Wednesday, June 1, 2022

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Stephen Kardos of Kannapolis said that a stop to get a drink before visiting the pier at the beach led to a $700,000 win.

“I almost started crying,” Kardos said, “because I can finally own my own house now.”

Kardos, 28, bought his lucky $10 Scorching Hot 7s ticket from the Han-Dee Hugo’s on Carolina Beach Road in Wilmington. He said after he scratched the ticket in his car, it took him a few minutes to process what happened.

“I freaked out for a second there,” Kardos said. “I thought it was fake or something.”

Kardos said he loves to fish so he might move to Wilmington when he buys his house.

He claimed his prize Tuesday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh and, after required federal and state withholdings, took home $497,073.

The Scorching Hot 7s game debuted in April with four top prizes of $700,000. Two $700,000 prizes remain to be claimed.

Ticket sales from scratch-off games make it possible for the lottery to raise more than $900 million per year for education. For details on how $7.4 million raised by the lottery made a difference in Rowan County in 2021, visit and click on the “Impact” section.