Welcome Guest
Log In | Register )
You last visited December 4, 2016, 3:15 pm
All times shown are
Eastern Time (GMT-5:00)

Some lottery winners missing their jackpots

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Some lottery winners missing their jackpots

True story:

Elderly man reads the newspaper every morning in the bathroom.

He dies. Widow picks up the old papers, finds a Powerball ticket.

Her kids insist: Mom, check it out. She does — just in time!

Widow claims a $100,000 prize the day before the ticket expires.

That story — from Karen Emery, deputy director of the Arizona Lottery — is a rare happy ending in the history of long-lost lottery tickets.

More than a half-billion dollars in lottery prizes went uncollected last year, a USA TODAY survey found.

These lost riches include dozens of jackpots worth $1 million or greater and hundreds worth $100,000 or more.

In January, a $1.5 million ticket expired in Minnesota.

In June, a $7.5 million ticket expired in Oregon.

On Christmas Eve, a $3 million ticket is set to expire in Florida.

Lottery officials attribute unclaimed prizes to human forgetfulness. Florida had a $30 million jackpot unclaimed in 2003.

"It could have been a visitor who came for a vacation and left ... or the ticket could have gone though the wash," Florida Lottery spokesman Alfred Bea says.

Players often rely on retailer computers to tell them when they've won. Rather than checking numbers, lottery players hand tickets — sometimes dozens at a time — to convenience store clerks for a computer check. Winning tickets are cashed; losers are discarded.

Both human and machine errors are problems.

In Ohio, a computer scan failed to validate a $267 million winning ticket in 2006. Toledo tax attorney Mark Mockensturm, who represented the winner, confirms the story. "The computer system at the lottery office in Cleveland didn't read the encoded ink," he says. The ticket was validated in other ways.

"The size of the jackpot caused a hiccup in the computer program," Ohio Lottery spokeswoman Marie Kilbane says. The software was fixed, and the ticket was paid. "All's well," she says.

Poorly designed scratch-off tickets also make it hard for some lottery players to know they've won.  Winning tickets can end up in the trash can because of confusing designs.

Lotteries publicize big unclaimed prizes before they expire. "We tell people: 'Check your tickets! Hey, you never know,' " New York Lottery spokesman John Charleson says.

In 2001, computer technician Melvin Milligan of Passaic, N.J., saw a TV report on an unclaimed $46 million ticket. He found an old ticket in a junk drawer. The store confirmed the winning ticket, two days before expiration. Milligan mailed the $46 million ticket, by regular mail, to the lottery office in Trenton. The ticket arrived after the deadline. He got the money, thanks to the postmark.

Rushi and Amid Patel, who run Ocean Breeze Liquor and Pub in Jensen Beach, Fla., hope for a similar late arrival. The store sold a $3 million ticket that expires Dec. 24. The store got a prize — $7,500 — for selling the ticket.

Time is running out for the person who bought Florida Lotto ticket 8-13-14-32-43-48 for the drawing June 27. "We sell 350 to 400 tickets a day," Amid Patel says. "It could have been anyone from anywhere."

Expired Prizes

The biggest unclaimed, expired prizes for tickets bought in a sampling of states:

  • California: $28.5 million
  • Delaware: $5 million
  • Florida: $30.1 million
  • Indiana: $51.7 million
  • Iowa: $610,000
  • Missouri: $1.7 million
  • Illinois: $14 million
  • Kansas: $200,000
  • Kentucky: $1.2 million
  • Montana: $100,000
  • New Hampshire: $2 million
  • New Jersey: $19 million
  • New Mexico: $270,000
  • North Dakota: $20,000
  • Ohio: $14 million
  • Oregon: $3.5 million
  • Pennsylvania: $14.6 million
  • Rhode Island: $293,000
  • South Carolina: $800,000
  • Tennessee: $1.3 million
  • Texas: $13 million
  • Virginia: $11.6 million

USA Today

We'd love to see your comments here!  Register for a FREE membership — it takes just a few moments — and you'll be able to post comments here and on any of our forums. If you're already a member, you can Log In to post a comment.

12 comments. Last comment 9 years ago by JackpotWanna.
Page 1 of 1
ThatScaryChick's avatar - x1MqPuM
Idaho
United States
Member #56506
November 21, 2007
6537 Posts
Offline
Posted: December 6, 2007, 12:39 pm - IP Logged

Expired Prizes

The biggest unclaimed, expired prizes for tickets bought in a sampling of states:

    * California: $28.5 million
    * Delaware: $5 million
    * Florida: $30.1 million
    * Indiana: $51.7 million
    * Iowa: $610,000
    * Missouri: $1.7 million
    * Illinois: $14 million
    * Kansas: $200,000
    * Kentucky: $1.2 million
    * Montana: $100,000
    * New Hampshire: $2 million
    * New Jersey: $19 million
    * New Mexico: $270,000
    * North Dakota: $20,000
    * Ohio: $14 million
    * Oregon: $3.5 million
    * Pennsylvania: $14.6 million
    * Rhode Island: $293,000
    * South Carolina: $800,000
    * Tennessee: $1.3 million
    * Texas: $13 million
    * Virginia: $11.6 million

Wow! That is a lot of money to go unclaimed. It's sad that so many people miss out on cashing in on million dollar jackpots. No Nod

    Avatar
    Englewood, Colorado
    United States
    Member #19108
    July 25, 2005
    51 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: December 6, 2007, 1:10 pm - IP Logged

    I have no sympathy for these people. If they don't have the sense to check their tickets after the drawing, then why did they even buy them in the first place? Just seems dumb to me.

      RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
      mid-Ohio
      United States
      Member #9
      March 24, 2001
      19821 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: December 6, 2007, 1:36 pm - IP Logged

      No only do terminals not read tickets correctly but they some times print them incorrectly too.  Terminals have printed QPs on tickets that I completed play-slips for,  printed different numbers than were on my play-slips or just skip boards that were completed on my play-slips. 

      I make out play-slips from numbers in my computer so after the drawings I update my lottery files and check the numbers in the computer so if the terminal printed a winner that wasn't on my play-slip, I could  have missed it.

      After finding such mistakes, I now check my tickets to make sure the terminals printed them out correctly but I still find mistakes from time to time that I didn't catch before leaving the retailer.  I've never found more than one number printed wrong in a combination so it unlikely I've ever missed more than a $2 prize.

       * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
         
                   Evil Looking       

        dumars798's avatar - batman17
        Atlanta
        United States
        Member #28656
        December 20, 2005
        5675 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: December 6, 2007, 2:52 pm - IP Logged

        I have no sympathy for these people. If they don't have the sense to check their tickets after the drawing, then why did they even buy them in the first place? Just seems dumb to me.

        I Agree!

                Smart bets...... Equal Phat Pocket$!

                             

                     





          Avatar
          Mid-Atlantic
          United States
          Member #22203
          September 20, 2005
          35 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: December 6, 2007, 5:35 pm - IP Logged

          There is also the very real possibility that the winning, but unclaimed tickets were jammed in the printer if an online game, or shredded by the Lottery when a game closes for Scratch tickets.

          All things that make you lose sleep if you have ever had a ticket jam on you when you are buying lotto or powerball quick picks.

            Litebets27's avatar - power
            Maryland
            United States
            Member #10465
            January 14, 2005
            6065 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: December 6, 2007, 5:47 pm - IP Logged

            I noticed Maryland didn't make that list. I can't believe that we all have such good memories.

            litebets

            Feeling,  PRICELESS!!!Banana

            Come on Jackpot!!!

              Avatar

              United States
              Member #10720
              January 23, 2005
              933 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: December 7, 2007, 8:32 pm - IP Logged

              The story called it a "happy ending" but someone died in there. The guy reading the paper didn't have such a happy ending.

              I always mention I found a 5 of 5 ticket 2 weeks after I played it. I was distracted because I had jury duty the next day. You don't want to forget to play your numbers sometimes, in case they come out that time, but you also get so busy sometimes you put the ticket aside to check "tomorrow" and then tomorrow you don't get to it.

              More recently I found a winning P4box because I ran a backtest on an algorithm and it showed that I should have won, so I checked some stray tickets and, sure enough!

                Miss Charli's avatar - Lottery-028.jpg
                New Member
                FRIENDLY WEST TEXAS
                United States
                Member #36811
                April 7, 2006
                15 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: December 8, 2007, 11:47 pm - IP Logged

                Confused If only I could be there to help these people find their lost - or unclaimed lottery tickets ! ugh  I'd be thrilled .. To help them find the  ticket !!!Lurking

                Miss Charli

                  justxploring's avatar - villiarna
                  Wandering Aimlessly
                  United States
                  Member #25360
                  November 5, 2005
                  4461 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: December 13, 2007, 1:52 am - IP Logged

                  The story called it a "happy ending" but someone died in there. The guy reading the paper didn't have such a happy ending.

                   

                  I caught that too.   Poor choice of words I guess.

                  You won 5/5 ??  Then you won a pick-4 straight?    Good job!

                  Although people on this board always say "don't tell anyone when you win" this article is why I think it's important to trust at least one person. I mean, what if I put the ticket in a safe deposit box and while I was making plans to move, got into an accident? It would sit & nobody would know. 

                  A $2 million MegaMoney ticket expired a couple of days ago in Sunrise, unless someone claimed it at the very last minute.  I actually started to wonder, since I was spending time on the east coast this summer and stopped in Sunrise for gas once, but it was the day I bought my raffle ticket which was just before July 4.

                  lmatlaw, I always check my tickets immediately, but don't be so judgmental. I agree people should take a lottery ticket seriously if they're going to play, but I think if you got some very bad news or lost a love one and had some lottery tickets on your desk, it might slip your mind to check them.

                  RJOh - I posted a couple of weeks ago that, out of nowhere, a number printed on the second line of a FL Lotto ticket.  There were no marks on the card.  I only realized it because she asked me for more money.  I read a story where the wrong dated was printed, but I don't see how that can happen.  Once a woman in FL picked up the newspaper and the wrong winning number was printed and she had actually won, but she threw away her ticket. Fortunately she found it in the trash when a correction was made.  Turns out the newspaper repeated the previous day's numbers.

                    ThatScaryChick's avatar - x1MqPuM
                    Idaho
                    United States
                    Member #56506
                    November 21, 2007
                    6537 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: December 13, 2007, 12:44 pm - IP Logged

                    Although people on this board always say "don't tell anyone when you win" this article is why I think it's important to trust at least one person. I mean, what if I put the ticket in a safe deposit box and while I was making plans to move, got into an accident? It would sit & nobody would know.

                    I Agree! That is a good idea. I am not so paranoid that I would keep it a complete secret when I won. When I win, my mom and my three sisters will know. I won't be telling a bunch of other people of course, but there are a few people in my life that I love and trust, so if I do have an accident or die (God forbid), then they will have the ticket. 

                      Avatar
                      New Member
                      Coeur d Alene
                      United States
                      Member #57041
                      December 15, 2007
                      7 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: December 16, 2007, 3:37 pm - IP Logged

                      I recently read everyone who plays should save all there losing tickets.When you do your annual taxes, those losing tickets can be used to offset taxes applied to large winning tickets. So not only do I save my losing tickets, I occasionally double check my losers. I check them on the state website and the retailers barcode machines. So if I overlook a winner, I may find it when I double check them. So far I have found a couple one dollar winners. I never give my tickets to a retail store clerk and ask them to check it. They could easily claim the ticket was a loser and keep it. Most retailers keep the barcode machines in places that the players can check there own tickets now. Be extra careful and never throw away your tickets.

                      go zags

                        JackpotWanna's avatar - squiz

                        United States
                        Member #4121
                        March 23, 2004
                        817 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: December 16, 2007, 4:39 pm - IP Logged

                        This story brings tears to my eyes.  All that money!  Thud