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Millions in lottery jackpots expire every year

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Millions in lottery jackpots expire every year

If you are the ticket holder for the winning Massachusetts Mega Millions consolation prize with the numbers: 2, 7, 10, 16 and 29, we have some bad news for you. You have just missed your chance to claim $250,000. The jackpot expired Wednesday.

In six more days, on Aug. 3, a $900,000 jackpot is in danger of becoming little more than wishful thinking for some unlucky "winner" in Florida.

ABC News have found at least six other jackpots ranging from $10,000 (two in Arizona expiring Aug. 8 and Aug. 22) to $16.5 million (in Iowa expiring in December) that are about to evaporate over the next four months.

Other prizes at risk of vanishing are $55,404 in Florida on Aug. 23, and $297,525 in California next month and a California treasure of $226,991 on Sept. 22.

In a sampling of just four states, ABC News found $17.5 million of unclaimed prizes in danger of expiration, leaving would-be winners with not even a penny of their prize money.

Tops in the annals of the biggest losers is Clarence Jackson, a Connecticut man who turned in his winning ticket three days too late in 1996, missing out on a $5 million bonanza. Any unclaimed ticket has since been known in the business as a "Clarence Jackson."

Some poor — or poorer — lottery player is blissfully unaware of missing out on a $51.7 million Powerball ticket sold in Indiana in 2002.

Less heartbreaking, but still lucrative tickets expire every month throughout the country. In fact, approximately 2 percent of lottery prizes in the U.S. go unclaimed each year, according to Alex Traverso, the spokesman for the California lottery.

Millions in Lottery Prizes Due to Expire

That percentage may seem miniscule but in California alone that was $17.25 million of unclaimed prize money last year.

Lottery officials attribute most unclaimed tickets to human forgetfulness, but some believe machines may be part of the problem.

Many players rely upon computer scanners located at lottery retailer to check their tickets. In 2006, one such machine in Ohio failed to recognize the $267 million winning ticket. The computer system has been fixed since and the ticket was validated in a different way, according to USA Today.

The machines that print the tickets can also make costly mistakes. Jeanne Consola of New York had the winning numbers, but never received her $5 million prize in 2009 because the winning number '6' had a misprinted type of 26 underneath it. Instead of winning $5 million, she was refunded $20 which she paid for her ticket.

Traverso said that incidents of mechanical screw ups are extremely rare and that machines are regularly inspected by retailers, vendors and sales staff to ensure that they are operating as they should.

New Jersey Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman is introducing a bill that she hopes would provide more people with other means of checking their numbers.

While many states are no longer broadcasting drawing results on television, Watson Coleman, a Democrat, hopes to bring it back in New Jersey. New Jersey recently stopped television broadcasts, and switched to live drawings on the state lottery website and its Facebook page.

The intent behind the new bill that would require the public channel New Jersey Television to broadcast the lottery drawing is "to continue greater access for people," said Nikki Graham, assemblywoman's chief of staff.

The Massachusetts Lottery recently announced it too will stop television broadcasts and rely upon Internet videos of its lottery drawings.

Lottery players can check their lottery ticket numbers at Lottery Post's Lottery Results page, and links to all the state lottery Web sites can be found on Lottery Post's Lottery Links page.

ABC News, Lottery Post Staff

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43 comments. Last comment 5 years ago by rdgrnr.
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Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
Zeta Reticuli Star System
United States
Member #30470
January 17, 2006
10351 Posts
Offline
Posted: July 29, 2011, 10:08 am - IP Logged

I wonder if this isn't most common in Florida, with "snowbirds" heading back home in the spring and losing or misplacing tickets.

Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any.

Lep

There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

    Avatar
    ny, ny
    United States
    Member #98736
    October 12, 2010
    10025 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: July 29, 2011, 11:23 am - IP Logged

    It is funny how the Lottories make every attempt to announce the prizes so people can buy tickets (through commercial, internet, newspaper, by any means necessary) but then if there is a winner that has not claimed in about a month or 2 they keep quiet about it until it nears expiration or it expires.  Why is that?

    I think if these lottories made more of an attempt to tell people of unclaimed jackpots, people would not miss out on claiming there money.

      rdgrnr's avatar - walt
      Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
      United States
      Member #73904
      April 28, 2009
      14903 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: July 29, 2011, 12:59 pm - IP Logged

      The machines that print the tickets can also make costly mistakes. Jeanne Consola of New York had the winning numbers, but never received her $5 million prize in 2009 because the winning number '6' had a misprinted type of 26 underneath it. Instead of winning $5 million, she was refunded $20 which she paid for her ticket

       

      Now I don't care what anybody says, that was wrong.

      She doesn't get her 5 million dollars because the machine screwed up the numbers?

      If I was her I'd probably be in jail right now.


                                                   
                           
                                               

       

       

       

       

                                                                                                         

      "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                  --Edmund Burke

       

       

        maringoman's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcTbRxpKQmOfcCoUqF2FyqIOAwDo7rg9G-lfJLAALPGWJWwiz19eRw
        Massachusetts
        United States
        Member #37433
        April 14, 2006
        2747 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: July 29, 2011, 2:43 pm - IP Logged

        The machines that print the tickets can also make costly mistakes. Jeanne Consola of New York had the winning numbers, but never received her $5 million prize in 2009 because the winning number '6' had a misprinted type of 26 underneath it. Instead of winning $5 million, she was refunded $20 which she paid for her ticket

         

        Now I don't care what anybody says, that was wrong.

        She doesn't get her 5 million dollars because the machine screwed up the numbers?

        If I was her I'd probably be in jail right now.

        I agree. The NY Lottery should have bit the bullet and paid her the money. Its not like the NY lottery is starving for revenues (+$5B in sales revenues a year.) I wonder whether she still plays, if I was her I would never play in that state.

         

        Anyways, I did some investigation about the unclaimed lottery ticket that allegedly expired wednesday 07/27/2011. I dont know where you got the story from because the MM website shows that 2 people in Massachusetts hit for $250,000 on the drawing of 07/27/2010 and according to the Massachusetts lottery website, two people claimed those prizes. It's all there including their home towns and names. Thanks.

        That money's gone fo ever

          Avatar

          Canada
          Member #113798
          July 17, 2011
          67 Posts
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          Posted: July 29, 2011, 4:15 pm - IP Logged

          I wonder if this isn't most common in Florida, with "snowbirds" heading back home in the spring and losing or misplacing tickets.

          Why do people buys tickets if they aren't going to be bothered to check them? It makes no sense.

          As for the "snowbirds", their reason is probably senility.

            Avatar

            Canada
            Member #113798
            July 17, 2011
            67 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: July 29, 2011, 4:18 pm - IP Logged

            The machines that print the tickets can also make costly mistakes. Jeanne Consola of New York had the winning numbers, but never received her $5 million prize in 2009 because the winning number '6' had a misprinted type of 26 underneath it. Instead of winning $5 million, she was refunded $20 which she paid for her ticket

             

            Now I don't care what anybody says, that was wrong.

            She doesn't get her 5 million dollars because the machine screwed up the numbers?

            If I was her I'd probably be in jail right now.

            It was a printing error. A printing error should not cost $5,000,000.

              haymaker's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
              Egg Harbor twp.south Jersey shore
              United States
              Member #112968
              June 29, 2011
              3856 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: July 29, 2011, 4:25 pm - IP Logged

              Why do people buys tickets if they aren't going to be bothered to check them? It makes no sense.

              As for the "snowbirds", their reason is probably senility.

              not all snowbirds are old enough to be senile.i know a few who are less than 65,wish i could do it too,no my guess is that its ppl. that are not regular players,and have no organized routine for checking tickets.

              Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds    -- Charles Mackay  LL.D.

                haymaker's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
                Egg Harbor twp.south Jersey shore
                United States
                Member #112968
                June 29, 2011
                3856 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: July 29, 2011, 4:29 pm - IP Logged

                It was a printing error. A printing error should not cost $5,000,000.

                inspect tickets immed.if not perfect demand new ticket,if its a QP select same nos. as defective ticket

                Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds    -- Charles Mackay  LL.D.

                  imagine's avatar - WINGS

                  United States
                  Member #85047
                  January 7, 2010
                  102 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: July 29, 2011, 4:58 pm - IP Logged

                  inspect tickets immed.if not perfect demand new ticket,if its a QP select same nos. as defective ticket

                  I think it was a scratch ticket, only they would have the 26 written under it
                  So heart breaking for her.

                    haymaker's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
                    Egg Harbor twp.south Jersey shore
                    United States
                    Member #112968
                    June 29, 2011
                    3856 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: July 29, 2011, 5:10 pm - IP Logged

                    I think it was a scratch ticket, only they would have the 26 written under it
                    So heart breaking for her.

                    yes, you're right,what i said would only apply to draw tics. rarely buy scratchers and this makes me want to even less thanks.

                    heart breaking, most definitly !

                    Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds    -- Charles Mackay  LL.D.

                      sully16's avatar - sharan
                      Ringleader
                      Michigan
                      United States
                      Member #81740
                      October 28, 2009
                      40497 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: July 29, 2011, 5:50 pm - IP Logged

                      Sorry so many have missed the chance to cash in on winning tickets, on a happy note, at least the Patels didn't have them.

                      Did you exchange a walk on part in the war ?

                      For a lead role in a cage?

                       

                                                                  From Pink Floyd's " Wish you were here"

                        rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                        Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
                        United States
                        Member #73904
                        April 28, 2009
                        14903 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: July 29, 2011, 7:24 pm - IP Logged

                        It was a printing error. A printing error should not cost $5,000,000.

                        That's exactly what I said.

                        Thanks for your support.


                                                                     
                                             
                                                                 

                         

                         

                         

                         

                                                                                                                           

                        "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                                    --Edmund Burke

                         

                         

                          sully16's avatar - sharan
                          Ringleader
                          Michigan
                          United States
                          Member #81740
                          October 28, 2009
                          40497 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: July 29, 2011, 7:26 pm - IP Logged

                          It was a printing error. A printing error should not cost $5,000,000.

                          I agree, give her the money.

                          Did you exchange a walk on part in the war ?

                          For a lead role in a cage?

                           

                                                                      From Pink Floyd's " Wish you were here"

                            rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                            Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
                            United States
                            Member #73904
                            April 28, 2009
                            14903 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: July 29, 2011, 7:34 pm - IP Logged

                            Why do people buys tickets if they aren't going to be bothered to check them? It makes no sense.

                            As for the "snowbirds", their reason is probably senility.

                            A very large percentage of the "snowbirds" are Canadians.

                            They are legendary for never leaving a tip for anyone for anything.

                            But you've now explained it - they're senile.

                            Thanks ever so much.


                                                                         
                                                 
                                                                     

                             

                             

                             

                             

                                                                                                                               

                            "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                                        --Edmund Burke