A Rego Park sushi chef may be going into business for himself, after scratching off a $1 million prize in the New York Lottery’s “Extravaganza” scratch-off game.
According to the Lottery Commission, Bing Sheng Zou, 27, started playing the lottery eight years ago for “the chance to give his family the American Dream.”
Zou purchased his big winner on Sunday, April 12, at the Quick Stop store on Woodhaven Boulevard in Rego Park.
“I like to play the scratch off tickets and won some money earlier that day,” Zou recalled through an interpreter.
“I went back to the store and asked the clerk behind the counter which ticket I should buy and he said the Extravaganza ticket was really popular. The father of one declared, “I am glad I took his advice!”
A sushi chef for a neighborhood Japanese restaurant, Zou said his wife was just as shocked as he was when he told her the good news. “I didn’t want to tell her we had won until I could verify the ticket with the lottery,” he said, adding, “When I finally told her she was very excited.”
As is the case with most instant game prizes, the Zou’s million-dollar winner will pay off as a 20-year annuity, lottery officials said.
Zou will receive his prize in annual payments of $50,000 a year before required tax withholdings – he’ll net an annual check totaling $32,251.
The lottery contributed nearly $2.54 billion in fiscal year 2008-09 to help support education in New York State, over 12 percent of total state education funding to local school districts.
New York’s Lottery continues to be North America’s largest and most profitable, earning over $36.7 billion in statewide education support since its founding over 40 years ago.
Lottery officials also announced that the “Jumbo Bucks” scratch-off game tickets are being withdrawn, now that a Bedford-Stuyvesant man purchased the last of the top-prize $3 million winning ticket.
Fifty-year-old Wallace Morris purchased the $10 ticket at a store in Brooklyn, just a day after Zou bought his.
Zou already has an idea of how he will spend his winnings. “I love working as a sushi chef,” he said. “Now that I am a millionaire maybe I’ll open up a Japanese restaurant of my own.”