Editorial

The Biggest Unclaimed Lottery Prizes of All Time

Did you know that there are unclaimed lottery prizes out there? Well, you are probably wondering why there are so many cases of unclaimed lottery prizes. After all, so many of us have dreamt of winning the lottery. We even go as far as planning out what we would do with the money.


Here is the catch; if you win a lottery, there is a stipulated timeline for collecting the prize. In the UK, the allocated waiting time is set to 180 days, in Ireland the grace period is 90 days whereas in the US, the winner is given up to a year to collect his prize.  Many winners do collect their earnings, but interestingly, there are still some unclaimed lottery prizes. Here are some of the biggest ones thus far: 

Indiana, US

Two lucky winners qualified to win the Powerball Lottery jackpot worth $103 million. This took place in September 2002 and the jackpot was supposed to be shared between the two winners. The first winner went to a player in Pennsylvania, who came forward to collect his prize. The second winning ticket from the Crystal Flash Station at the Indianapolis International Airport. Nobody stepped forward to claim this ticket and the Indiana Lottery office tried their level best to find the second winner of the ticket but to no avail. They put in a lot of effort to find the winner which even included putting up adverts on television and radio and regular events at the original store where the ticket was bought. What a loss!

California, US

On 8th August 2015, a winning ticket worth $63million for the SuperLotto Plus was drawn. The ticket was said to be bought in Los Angeles but the winner did not come forward and soon after, one Brandy Miller came forward claiming to be the rightful owner of the prize. His ticket was investigated and it was discovered that not only did his ticket not match the winning ticket but that he also did not buy it at the same convenience store as the original one. This only meant that he was merely trying his luck to claim a prize that did not belong to him. 

New York, US

One of the craziest prizes ever won is the unclaimed lottery prize worth $68 million picked via MegaMillion Lottery draw. The draw took place in New York on 24th December 2002 at a Queens’ convenience store, but no one came for it within the stipulated window. A year later, after the grace period had lapsed, a scammer by the name Fritzner Bechette came forward in a bid to try and claim the money. He even went to the extent of suing the lottery for denying him the prize money. Bechette stated that the reason he took so long was given he had been trying to redeem his ticket that got lost in a non-retrievable situation. Unfortunately for him, a thorough investigation was conducted and it was ultimately concluded that his ticket was purchased at a different store from that of the original, proving he was not the rightful winner. 

Georgia, US

During the state Powerball draw on 29th June 2019, a winning ticket was drawn worth a whopping $77 million. The ticket was said to have been bought in Tallapoosa at a truck stop but once more the official waiting time lapsed and yet nobody had come to claim the money. At least this time, nobody came forward trying to scam their way into getting hold of the prize money!

Hertfordshire, UK

During the EuroMillions Lottery, a total of 68 million pounds in unclaimed lottery prizes was recorded. The lottery took place in December 2010 and is to date the largest unclaimed prize in the history of lotteries in the UK. A sum total of 127 million pounds was to be shared equally between two players. One of the players from Belgium came forward, but the lottery office had little luck finding the second winner. The money had to be distributed to a number of charities. The poor guy has probably been living his life not knowing that he would have been 68 million pounds richer!

Pontiac, US

One very unlucky winner from Michigan missed out on a $70 million prize. The winning Powerball winning ticket was bought at the Huron Plaza Party Store in February 2020 and luckily for them, it is customary that the store that sold the winning ticket receives $50,000 as a prize. The condition for this, though, is that the winner has to claim the prize for this to happen. Store owner Yousef Anton was not so lucky as the prize money went unclaimed, and the winner has never been identified. 

Double Disaster in the UK

It was quite a unique case that saw two winning lottery tickets worth 1.6 million pounds go unclaimed. In the EuroMillions lottery took place in 2006, one of the tickets was traced to Glasgow and the other traced to Warwickshire. Neither of the ticket holders came forward to claim their prize. After the waiting time passed, as is the norm in the UK, the money was donated to various charities across the country.  

Wrap up

Many circumstances would mean that lucky lottery winners don’t get their dream cash prize. Most winners, unfortunately, do not bother to check whether they qualify for secondary prizes which can be worth thousands, and in some cases, even millions! Some people manage to lose or toss out their tickets by mistake. Sadly, without the winning ticket, they cannot claim their prizes.  

 

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