How Many Winning Lottery Tickets Go Unclaimed?

Unclaimed Lotteries
Thursday December 27, 2018 05:14 am

The Lottery Lab Staff

Powerball and Mega Millions are widely popular lottery games played in almost every state in the US. Mega Millions results are to be drawn this evening as the drawings take place every Tuesday and Friday. Nobody hit the Mega Millions Friday night, but there are still 3 million winning tickets out there. The question is how many of them will be claimed?

Looking at historical behavior, you would be surprised to learn that thousands of winning tickets are never claimed. Although the cash prizes that are not claimed tend to be relatively small, the total value adds up. According to Brett Jacobson, a lottery expert, there were about $2.89 billion in unclaimed lottery prizes in the 12 months ending June 2017.

Powerball pays out $4 as for picking the correct Powerball number whereas Mega Millions gives $2 as a prize for getting its Mega Millions number. There are some other secondary prizes worth $1 or more.

Looking at the records, there were 167 prizes worth $1 million or more went unclaimed in the year 2017 alone. Some prizes can still be claimed but most of them are invalid now as they have passed their deadlines. The major cause for unclaimed prizes is that people don’t even realize that there are secondary prizes. And even when they are aware of the secondary prizes, they don’t bother to check their ticket for secondary prizes once they hear that there was no jackpot winner or the winning ticket wasn’t bought within their jurisdiction.

But even jackpot-winning tickets go unclaimed. Those unclaimed prizes range between $31 million and $77 million from Queens, New York or Georgia. The oldest unclaimed ticket on record is from New York purchased on Christmas Eve in the year 2002 worth $68 million. Of course, this ticket is already way past its deadline and can’t be claimed now.

People lose jackpots worth millions because they forget about the lottery ticket they’ve purchased. To avoid something like that happening to you, keep track of the tickets you’ve purchased along with the numbers and dates. You never know when it will be your turn to win. You want to be prepared for that moment rather than regretting your bad luck. Also, check for the secondary prizes, you can purchase more tickets with the smaller prizes and may win big next time. The lottery is a game of patience and persistence so don’t give up on the smaller prizes and keep playing! Also, read some incredible lottery winning stories to preserve the inspiration to play more lottery games and win big.