Unclaimed Lottery Tickets

The $1.5B Mega Millions still has not been claimed.

Unclaimed $1.5B Mega Millions lottery ticket

$1.5B Mega Millions still unclaimed

The Mega Millions lottery ticket worth more than $1.5 billion has still not been claimed and with just two months left to do so, the winners are getting perilously close to the cut-off date.

David Stevenson, a CPA in South Carolina said, "I could understand there might have been tax advantages to wait until 2019 but I see no purpose in waiting now. Honestly, I think it's lost."

That said, the billion-dollar winner could still walk into the lottery headquarter and walk out with a lump-sum payout of $878 million!

The State of South Carolina would also benefit from the win as they would receive a $60 million tax payment which would go to good causes.

All we know so far is that the incredibly lucky ticket was purchased at the KC Mart in Simpsonville, S.C., on October 24, 2018.

Locals in Simpsonville say there are rumours flying about who the lucky winner might be and everyone is a suspect, especially if they have suddenly decided to quit their jobs for no particular reason.

C.J. Patel, owner of the KC Mart where the ticket was sold told the press that his business has definitely picked up since his store hit the international spotlight.

For those who purchased Mega Millions lottery tickets for the draw and have decided to once again go dig through their drawers to see if they forgot to double check their tickets the winning numbers were 5, 28, 62, 65, 70 and Mega Ball 5.

Stevenson said no one has come to him looking for advice on how to invest $1.5 billion.

"I keep waiting for them to walk into my door and ask me to do their taxes," Stevenson said. "Of course, the cost of preparing their return might go up a bit from $200, but I would be nice about it."

More unclaimed lottery tickets

It’s not just the $1.5 billion Mega Millions lottery jackpot that has still not been claimed. The following lottery wins are also still waiting to be paid out to their respective ticket holders:

The wait continues for several winning unclaimed lottery tickets sold in Quebec, Canada, to come forward, two of which are worth a massive $1 million. These lottery tickets have remained unclaimed since last June 2018.
Four $1 million prize-winning tickets that remain unclaimed. The longest wait for a winner to come forward is two $500,000 Lotto Max winning tickets sold in the June 1, 2018 draw.

Lotto Max also has its fair share of unclaimed lottery wins. On September 12, a Lotto 6/49 ticket sold in Brome-Missisquoi won $1 million. Later that month a lucky ticket sold in Longueuil also scooped $1 million in the September 28 Lotto Max draw.

Lotto Max again, and this time a ticket purchased in Terrebonne won $1 million in the October 26 and it too remains unclaimed.

Most lotteries have a time limit in which you can claim your winning ticket once the draw has taken place. The majority of time limits vary between six months up to one year. After that, the ticket prize is declared "unclaimed."

What happens to unclaimed lottery winnings?

For those who love playing the lottery, you might have wondered what happens to winnings that are never claimed. Who gets it? Where does it go?

Before we can answer these questions, we first have to understand that the way unclaimed winnings are handled can vary from one lottery to another. For instance, one lotto game may have a second chance drawing while another doesn’t.

Second chance drawings

In some states in America, unclaimed winnings go into pots for player prizes related to second-chance games and promotions and other bonus prizes. In Wisconsin, however, unclaimed winnings go to the state's general fund and is used for property tax relief.

Time Limit to Claim Lottery Winnings

Just about every lottery has their own set time limits they set for players to come forward and claim their winnings. These time limits are usually between 6 months to a year.

In the event that nobody comes forward in this time frame to claim their winnings, how that money is handled also varies from one lottery to another:

Powerball and Mega Millions

In the United States, most unclaimed lottery winnings are returned to the community, while others go back into the lottery fund.

EuroMillions and UK Lottery

The EuroMillions Lottery and the UK Lottery has a novel way of dealing with lottery winnings that players let slip through their fingers. They take all the unclaimed lottery winnings and add to their “Good Causes” fund. More than £1.4 billion of National Lottery winnings have gone unclaimed since the game began. The highest amount of unclaimed money is 2011/2012 - taking the title from 2005/2006 when £102 million was not collected.

A spokesman said: "The vast majority of prizes are claimed within the 180 days but to avoid these unfortunate situations I would urge all National Lottery players to check their tickets on a regular basis."

This fund is distributed to over 390,000 charities that have benefitted people, communities and projects across the UK.

U.S. Unclaimed Lottery Winnings

On average in America, an incredible $800 million in lottery winnings goes unclaimed every year. That’s a huge sum some of money.

For those thinking that this gargantuan sum of money comes from nickel dime winnings, think again. The truth of the matter is that a huge proportion of these unclaimed lottery winnings come is made up from rather large amounts in second and third prize tiers.

We just have to look back to 2013 for example, when the Powerball jackpot had surged to a then-record high of $587.6 million. While the jackpot got claimed by two lottery tickets and the press went wild introducing the winners to the world, there were also two $1 million winners who never claimed their winnings.

Reasons People Don't Claim Their Lottery Prizes

The most common reason that lottery players don’t come forward to claim their wins is due to the fact that they simply forgot about the ticket.

The fact that so many people only buy lottery tickets when the jackpot soars to a huge sum money means that they don’t have a set habit of buying a ticket and remembering to double-check the winning lottery numbers after the draw.

Therefore, even though the winning lottery ticket in question may be neatly tucked in their wallets or car sun visors, they become oblivious to the fact that they even purchased the ticket. It’s simply a sad case of, "out of sight, out of mind" scenario.

Some lottery players also simply forget where they put their tickets and are unable to find it to double-check. They eventually just give up looking for it, thinking that the probability of them even winning the jackpot is so remote that it’s not worth all the attention.

Other players also don't even realize that they have won a secondary prize. Since they didn't win the jackpot, they assume they didn't win anything and throw their ticket away, effectively throwing money away.

Unfortunately, all these prizes go unclaimed. And there are many stories of people finding winning lottery tickets years after the draw. Unfortunately, they are unable to collect the prize due to the claim period limitation.

How to Avoid Losing Your Lottery Tickets

How do you ensure that you are not the person who ends up missing out on your lottery win? One good method is to always place your tickets in a safe and regular spot in your home that you will never forget. A sensible spot would be a place where only lottery tickets are kept. That way there will be nothing on top of the tickets to hide it. You might also want to keep it near your car keys so that you are constantly reminded to have them double-checked when you leave the house.

Another great spot would be on the fridge as we all know just how often we open that door and you will be constantly reminded about the ticket.

Playing the lottery online, however, offers a solution to the problem of potentially forgetting about your lottery tickets or losing them. Not only are your tickets stored in a safe place online, you will also receive email notifications if you were lucky enough to win a prize.

Last but not least, remember to check your tickets fully and carefully after every draw. Don't just look for the main numbers. Check all the secondary and bonus numbers and draws to make sure that your ticket does not have a winning combination before you discard it.

Although there will still be players who will miss out on wins, make sure that whether it's one dollar or millions of dollars, you are not one of them.


This post was written by
Jason L - who has written 2466 articles
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