Every year, $9 million in Washington Lottery winnings go unclaimed.
Case in point: Someone bought a Mega Millions ticket earlier this month at a 7-Eleven on North 36th Street in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood but has yet to collect the $250,000 in prize money that goes with it.
Right now there's about $400,000 in prize money that can still be claimed before the deadlines imposed by the state are reached. A winner has 180 days from the date of a drawing to collect winnings.
A prize of $100,000 remains unclaimed from a Hit 5 game drawing May 1. The ticket was purchased at an Albertson's in Marysville.
Many of the unclaimed prizes are from the Lottery's Match 4 game, where contestants choose four numbers from 1 to 24 and the computer draws the winning numbers.
According to the state, Match 4 gives players better odds of winning $10,000 than any of the state's other lottery games. Of the 13 unexpired unclaimed prizes this year, 11 are from the Match 4 game.
The largest unclaimed jackpot was in 1993, when no one produced a winning $6 million Lotto ticket. Since then, the only other one that came even marginally close was a $1.2 million Lotto prize in April 2005.
From the time Washington's Lottery sold its first ticket in 1982 through June 30 this year, it has awarded $5.9 billion in winnings.
Under state law, a portion of the money brought in by the lottery goes to an economic-development fund, another portion goes to the general fund, and the rest goes into Lottery funds to be used as prize money.
Legislation creating Washington's Lottery was approved by the House on June 30, 1982, during a special session to deal with a projected $253 million budget deficit.
By the way, if you're holding that Mega Millions winning ticket, you have until Feb. 16 to claim your prize.