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VT Lottery had $1 million in unclaimed prizes

Vermont LotteryVermont Lottery: VT Lottery had $1 million in unclaimed prizes

The Vermont Lottery ended its budget year with $1 million in unclaimed prizes for winning scratch-off tickets, a $400,000 jump over the amount of prize money that players failed to collect the previous year.

The extra money went to the state's Education Fund.

Why would people fail to collect their winnings?

"That is a good question," said Alan Yandow, executive director of the Vermont Lottery Commission. "People have the opportunity to scratch the instant ticket right away," he said. "If they have a win, why don't they claim it?"

He speculated some people lose the tickets, others misplace them. "We get calls each year asking if tickets are still good."

Tickets for instant games are valid for 365 days after games close, Yandow said. Games close when all the tickets are sold or when the top prizes have been won and interest is waning.

Lottery players spent $80 million to buy 28.4 million instant game tickets last year. Tickets cost $1, $2, $3, $5, $10 and $20.

The Vermont Lottery offers two kinds of games — instant tickets that players scratch to see if they won prizes, and tickets sold from terminals, such as Megabucks and Powerball, with the winning numbers drawn several times a week.

The $1 million in unclaimed prize money came only from the instant games. Unclaimed prizes from Megabucks and Powerball must, by law, be returned to players.

With instant tickets, there's no record of which tickets are sold at various outlets, he said. "We don't know where those big wins take place," Yandow said. "We don't know what pack of tickets they are in, and we don't want to know."

Tickets purchased through terminals can be traced back to the stores where they were sold. That allows lottery officials to publicize when winning tickets haven't been exchanged for prizes.

"We did that a month or so ago," Yandow said. Lottery officials publicized that a significant unclaimed prize had been sold from a Swanton store. Yandow said, "A fellow found a $10,000 winning ticket in his pocket."

Burlington Free Press

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3 comments. Last comment 9 years ago by rdc137.
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United States
Member #10720
January 23, 2005
933 Posts
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Posted: August 6, 2007, 9:59 pm - IP Logged

AGAIN - people buy too many tickets at a time and RUSH through checking them. I routinely find discards that a more careful check reveals small prizes that were missed by impatient players. I even have a program that checks Crossword tickets. You always see the ones that they don't scratch every letter, just a few whole words. I can't figure how they can do this "in their head" without revealing all of the letters and without sometimes missing.. I've seen THREE missed words on one. Stores should post a list and/or the Lottery site, of all unclaimed tickets.

    tnlotto1's avatar - logo
    nashville
    United States
    Member #49896
    February 18, 2007
    1181 Posts
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    Posted: August 7, 2007, 11:28 am - IP Logged

    AGAIN - people buy too many tickets at a time and RUSH through checking them. I routinely find discards that a more careful check reveals small prizes that were missed by impatient players. I even have a program that checks Crossword tickets. You always see the ones that they don't scratch every letter, just a few whole words. I can't figure how they can do this "in their head" without revealing all of the letters and without sometimes missing.. I've seen THREE missed words on one. Stores should post a list and/or the Lottery site, of all unclaimed tickets.

    I Agree! i try to check my lottery tickets and scratch my tickets at home where i wont feel rushed. i think most people scratch the tickets at the store so they can immediately redeem a smaller winner but they do run the risk of tossing a winner accidentally

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      Delaware
      United States
      Member #30273
      January 14, 2006
      494 Posts
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      Posted: August 7, 2007, 4:07 pm - IP Logged

      I Agree! i try to check my lottery tickets and scratch my tickets at home where i wont feel rushed. i think most people scratch the tickets at the store so they can immediately redeem a smaller winner but they do run the risk of tossing a winner accidentally

      If you have a complicated ticket, such as a crossword puzzle ticket or a bingo ticket, best thing to do is to have it scanned at a terminal, just in case. If in doubt, SCAN.

      Once, I randomly scanned a few of the tickets in a dead ticket basket a store put out (a store with a self-checker). One came up $50.