Unclaimed lottery wins may seem a bit confusing. The chances are we’ve all spent hours dreaming about and discussing how we’d spend huge sums of money won on a lottery. Whether that includes a well-defined list of amazing holidays, a huge house, dream car, or
you’d like to support, those potential winnings are often planned before you even buy a lottery ticket.
With that in mind, you’d expect people to keenly check the results as soon as possible to see if their numbers have come in. You’d also expect that those lucky winners would claim their prize as quickly as they can.
However, there are some people that have bought a winning lottery ticket and still not claimed huge winnings. Let's look a little closer at some of the biggest unclaimed lottery prizes and the mysterious circumstances that surround them.
£63.8million unclaimed in Hertfordshire
What should have been a bumper Euromillions for one Brit on the 8 June 2012 draw was never claimed. A ticket that matched all five numbers and two lucky stars was confirmed as having been bought in the Stevenage and Hitchin area of the UK.
While there was also a winner of this prize in Belgium, the UK winner did not come forward. Despite a huge publicity campaign in the area and even pressure from MPs to try and identify the winner, the prize money ended up being distributed to various charities.
£77million unclaimed in Georgia
In June 2011, a Powerball ticket was purchased at Tallapoosa’s Pilot Travel Center in Georgia.
The buyer of the ticket correctly guessed the five numbers and additional Powerball number that were drawn on 29 June 2011. While this should have resulted in a life of luxury, who purchased that winning ticket remains a mystery.
The winner had 180 days to secure their prize but the winnings were not claimed. Subsequently, the prize funds were returned to the prize pool in Georgia for future draws.
$68million unclaimed in New York
It should have been the best Christmas ever for the holder of a ticket for the Mega Millions on 24 December 2002.
The New York Lottery has since confirmed that a winning ticket was purchased at Brooklyn’s Kings Plaza Newsstand on the same day as the draw, but the $68million prize went unclaimed. However, that’s only half the story.
The following year, The New York Post reported a lawsuit had been filed against the New York Lottery by Dr Fritzner Bechette. He claimed to have ‘lost the ticket in a non-retrievable situation’ and that he had been attempting to claim the prize since Christmas Day in 2002.
An investigation found the description of the ticket and the place of purchase did not match the Lottery’s records and the claim was unsuccessful. A double loss… if you believe his side of the story.
It can be quite common for winners to take a while to come forward to claim their prize. When it’s a big prize, it can generate a fair buzz as mystery and speculation grows.
Here are a couple of false alarms about unclaimed lottery tickets you may remember.
A ticket that was purchased for the Euromillions draw on 3rd December 2019 won £40,957,696.60. It went unclaimed for over month, meaning the deadline for being able to claim the winnings in the event of a lost or damaged ticket had passed. However, after much coverage (and speculation), the winners were eventually able to claim their prize in March 2020 and enjoy their winnings while retaining their anonymity.
In January 2021, it was announced that a single ticket holder had scooped £20million on a National Lottery special draw. With confirmation coming that the winning ticket was purchased online, national media coverage urged players to log in to their online accounts to check if they were now a multimillionaire.
It took almost three weeks but eventually the lucky winner was found. It must have been a delight (possibly following a panic, if they couldn’t find their winning ticket!) for those lucky winners when they realised they had won and could claim their prize.
Health Lottery players can easily check the numbers of each of our draws on our lottery results checker
Playing through our mobile app can make it even easier to find out if you’ve won:
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