At first, Doug Delk of Cross couldn’t believe his good fortune.

“I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me,” he said.

But they weren’t. Delk really had won $200,000 playing a “scratch-off game” offered by the South Carolina Education Lottery.

After taxes, he got a check for $136,000, more than enough for a new home and truck.

His cash windfall happened on April 20, 2011, when Delk purchased a $10 “Emerald Green 7s” card at Wildwood Convenience Store on South Live Oak Drive in Moncks Corner.

That particular contest has since been retired but the “instant games” continue to thrive as the most popular offerings by the Education Lottery. The instant prizes fall short of the multi-million dollar jackpots of Powerball and Megamillions but they offer immediate gratification — or disappointment — and they can lead to winning plenty of lifestyle-changing cash.

In April, the Education Lottery averaged about $22 million in sales per week. Scratch-off tickets were the biggest sellers, bringing in $15 million weekly.

Read more in The Post and Courier tomorrow.