Top 6 Biggest Unclaimed Lottery Tickets

On 4 March 2019, the incredible $1.5 billion Mega Millions  jackpot prize was finally claimed! The draw for the second biggest jackpot in U.S. history was held in October of 2018 and the winner, whose ticket was purchased in South Carolina, hadn't claimed his prize for almost 5 months, using up 132 of the 180 days he had to claim it! Thankfully, the lucky winner came forward just in time to take his lottery winnings in a one-time cash payment of $877 million. The winner’s name or whereabouts are currently unknown due to his request to remain anonymous.

Unlike this lucky winner who managed to snag their sweet $1.5 billion jackpot in the nick of time, here’s a list of the biggest unclaimed lottery tickets in history to remind you to make sure you keep your tickets safe and check them twice before throwing them away!

The Biggest Unclaimed Lottery Tickets in History

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EuroMillions - £64 million - Hertfordshire, U.K.

The next unclaimed lottery ticket hails from the U.K. and is actually EuroMillions highest ever unclaimed lottery jackpot. The winning ticket was purchased from a shop in the Stevenage and Hitchin area and despite numerous appeals, including a billboard campaign to encourage the player to come forward, nobody ever claimed the prize. The £64 million jackpot, unfortunately, expired on Wednesday, 5 December 2012 after it had passed the 180 days limit. This incredible grand prize was actually won by two winning tickets in the 8 June draw, and was worth an outstanding £127 million! Fortunately, the owner of the second winning ticket from Belgium has since claimed their half of the £64 million prize. As for the other ticket sold in England, the unlucky person's prize winnings have since been contributed to the National Lottery Good Causes which gives the unclaimed money to various charities around the U.K. 

Powerball - $77 million – Georgia, U.S.

One Georgia player may not feel so peachy if they ever find out that they missed out on a $77 million Powerball jackpot prize! The unlucky winner played Powerball at a truck stop in Tallapoosa, Georgia for the 29 June 2011 Powerball draw. Apparently, 180 days just wasn’t enough, and the ticket ultimately expired in December of 2011. This missed jackpot set a record, as it became the state’s biggest unclaimed jackpot since Georgia’s lottery was established in 1993.

Mega Millions - $68 million – New York, U.S.

The third biggest unclaimed jackpot prize, while not the biggest prize out there, it still hurts to think about how much money one person could have potentially won. The winning Mega Millions ticket worth $68 million was purchased in Queens, New York for a draw on being held on 24 December 2002. Unfortunately, this lottery prize was left unclaimed until it surpassed the expiration date.
The story doesn’t end there though. An entire year later in 2003, a man by the name of Fritzner Bechette came forward to lottery officials claiming that he was the lucky winner from last year’s Christmas Eve Mega Millions draw. Fritzner filed a lawsuit in the Queens Supreme Court against the New York State Lottery saying that he’d been trying to claim his $68 million jackpot prize since the day after the results were announced in December of 2002. He consequently sued the New York Lottery for the $63 million jackpot he lost (which officials clarified was $68 million) plus interest of course. His reason for not being able to claim it? His winning lottery ticket conveniently went missing in a “non-retrievable situation”. Sure.

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While you may want to root for the underdog who just wants to retrieve his prize winnings, don’t be too hasty. After carrying out a lengthy investigation, officials found (or didn’t find) that there was no ticket matching Fritzner's description in the New York State lottery’s archive or the place where he claimed that he bought the $68 million ticket. Maybe next time he can do some research and learn how to win a Mega Millions jackpot without having to resort to claiming tickets that aren’t his.

Fun Fact

3 out of 4 of the unclaimed Mega Millions jackpot winning tickets were purchased in the New York boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. The prizes were worth $68 million, $46 million and $31 million. Coincidence? We’ll let you decide.

SuperLotto Plus - $63 million – California, U.S.

In February 2016, a $63 million SuperLotto Plus ticket was left to rot after the 180-day deadline for claiming a lottery prize had passed. Eventually, a Los Angeles, California resident claiming to be the lucky winner did come forward to collect his prize. Brandy Milliner claimed that he bought the winning ticket on August 8, 2015. After submitting his winning ticket to lottery officials he received a congratulatory note.

The second time he was contacted, instead of receiving his $63 million jackpot prize, Lottery officials told him that a payout would be impossible due to the condition of the ticket. At the time of Milliner's complaint, lottery officials said that they’d never received a claim from Milliner to begin with. They also said that after investigating the situation, they had found that Milliners ticket didn’t match the winning ticket whatsoever, as it was purchased on a different date and at a different 7-11 convenience store. Nice try though!

Even with all the evidence against him, Milliner is still adamant that the jackpot rightfully belongs to him. In 2017, he has said in an interview that he will continue to pursue legal action in any way possible to get the jackpot that he claims is his. Unfortunately, this “unclaimed” lottery ticket will probably never find its rightful owner.

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Powerball - $51.7 million – Indiana, U.S.

In September of 2002, a $51.7 million Powerball jackpot prize was won by an Indiana player near the Indianapolis International airport at a Crystal Flash station. This would be the first time since US Powerball was established in 1992, that a jackpot would go unclaimed. The winning ticket was half of a $103 million jackpot. The other half was fortunately claimed by a lucky player from Pennsylvania. In an effort to find the winner, the Indiana lottery office decided to air commercials and hold events at the store where the ticket was bought to get the winner to come forward. No such luck. The lucky (or unlucky) winning ticket finally expired before anyone could claim it. 

Mega Millions - $46 million – New York, U.S.

Either there’s a conspiracy or something in the water because some of the biggest unclaimed prizes seem to come from the state of New York! In this case, a very unlucky Brooklynite missed out on an extraordinary jackpot of $46 million on A Mega Millions draw that took place on the 25th of April in 2006. In New York, unclaimed prize money is returned to the state’s prize pool. On occasion, unclaimed lottery prizes are used to subsidize prizes for larger jackpots, promotions and special one-time games.

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Why Billions in Prize Winnings Go Unclaimed Every Year

Every year, figures of enormous sums of unclaimed lottery winnings are published around the world. Americans for example, lose around $2 billion every year in unclaimed prizes with $103 million lost in New York alone in 2015. Camelot claimed that between 2017 and 2018, roughly £122.5 million in lottery winnings went unclaimed by UK citizens. One begs to ask, why aren’t people claiming their lottery prizes?

One of the most common reasons prizes go unclaimed is that when people see that they didn’t win the jackpot, they automatically assume they didn’t win any lottery prize. Even if you match only a few numbers, you’re still eligible for incredible secondary prizes! Also, when people see that somebody else won the jackpot, they are more likely to feel discouraged enough that they won’t even check if they won smaller prizes. We think this is a huge mistake because secondary prizes can go from thousands to millions!

Another reason why billions of dollars in prize winnings are lost every year is people losing or mistakenly throwing out their tickets! This happens way more often than you would think. With our busy lives, people barely remember when the draw is, much less to where they placed their ticket. This point brings up the advantage of playing through a lottery website , such as Global Lottery Results which will scan your ticket into your personal account. This means that you won’t even be able to lose your ticket if you wanted to. You can also get reminders via e-mail and SMS of draw times, results and if you’ve won any lottery prizes.

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Now that you’ve seen how much money you can miss out on, maybe you’ll think twice before throwing away “scrap paper” and make sure to write a reminder for yourself of the draw date. Or, you can simply play your favourite lotteries online at theLotter where you can just sit back and let us bring the winnings to you. The choice is yours!