It happens more than you can believe. All across America everyday someone fails to claim their winnings. From Detroit to LA, lottery tickets worth tens of thousands of dollars and some are even worth millions. They are expiring because folks failed to claim their winning tickets.
The worst case scenario came in the form of Mr. Clarence Jackson Jr.’s winning lottery ticket. Mr. Jackson was three days late in turning in the winning $5.8 million ticket in 1996 and he never got a penny of it. The NY Times ran the story in 2007 and you can read it here. I’d almost rather lose the ticket than turn it in 3 days late. Mr. Jackson spent several years lobbying to get the claiming dates extended. Apparently one year isn’t enough time to claim a ticket.
The latest unclaimed ticket is a Hot Lotto ticket reportedly worth 16.5 million dollars that was purchased a few days after Christmas in 2010. The location was a Quik Trip in Des Moines, Iowa and the winning numbers were 3, 12, 16, 26, 33 and a Hot Ball of 11. You can read the full article here.
I know one thing for sure, it isn’t mine. Not only was I not in Des Moines lately but I don’t play the lottery. Not with my money anyway. It is a big business though and when these winners do not come forward to claim their prizes within the timeframe allowed, they lose all rights to the money.
Why do people not claim their winning tickets?
There are some even some unclaimed tickets in the UK. If you have ever purchased a ticket from the National lottery in England, you should check the website here.
For now, somewhere in America is a millionaire who doesn’t even know it.
If I did play the lottery, you can be sure that the ticket would be in a safe place until I could claim the winnings – or throw it in the trash.