There’s nothing more thrilling than checking your lucky lottery tickets after a draw to see if your numbers have finally come up; but what happens to winnings that aren’t claimed when you buy your tickets from the local corner shop? Today we’ll take a look at why so many lottery winnings go unclaimed, how you can claim these winnings, as well as some of the largest unclaimed lottery winnings across the globe.
How long do you have to claim your winnings when not playing online?
All international lotteries have their own rules regarding how winnings will be paid out and how winners can claim. All lotteries impose time limits, or otherwise referred to as claim periods, in terms of how long you have to claim your prize. These claim periods range between 6 months and can even be up to 3 years. This gives players the opportunity to get their affairs in order before they come forward to claim their winning ticket.
A lottery can also have various claim periods depending on where the ticket was purchased like Euromillions. For Euromillions lottery players, claim periods are ruled by the location you were in when you bought your ticket. You will have up to 180 days to claim your winnings. This includes jackpot wins as well as smaller winnings. Whether you pay tax on these winnings or not, will also depend on where your ticket was bought.
If you buy a US Powerball or Mega Millions ticket in America, you will have to check what state you bought your ticket in to see what the claim period is for your winnings. This information can usually be found on the back of your physical ticket bought, but you can also check in with the store on the claim period rules.
It’s important to be aware of these claim periods if you buy physical tickets in-store when you are in these countries, as you may not be able to claim your winnings if you are not able to go back to the country where you bought your winning ticket.
What happens if the winnings remain unclaimed?
Again, every lottery has their own way to deal with unclaimed winnings after the claim period has passed.
Euromillions donates all its unclaimed winnings to the Good Causes fund which distributes money across four main categories in Europe:
- Health, Education, Environment and Charitable Causes
The fund uplifts various initiatives and aims to serve communities.
US Powerball is part of a state-run lottery which means any unclaimed winnings are kept by the state the lottery ticket was bought in. If the main jackpot prize goes unclaimed, all the money is returned to the lottery in proportion to the lottery sales for that draw run, the money is then distributed based on the laws that govern that state, the lottery’s general fund and other state laws that apply to lotteries.
Some of the biggest unclaimed winnings around the globe:
- US Powerball - US $77 million (2012)
- Mega Millions - US $68 million (2002)
- EuroMillions - £65 million (2012)
- US Powerball - US $51.4 million (2002)
- Mega Millions - US $46 million (2003)
Benefits of playing international lotteries online:
You can’t lose your winning entry. With a firm digital record in your transaction history of your account; all entries purchased are logged in your account. You’ll never have to worry about losing your ticket or remembering where you stored it.
You won’t have to worry about forgetting to check whether you’ve won. When you enter any of our international lottery draws on offer, one of our friendly customer support staff will personally get in touch with you if you win anything above 200 ($/€/£).
Human error or technological glitches are a thing of the past. When you buy your ticket in store, you have to rely on store managers or store staff to check your winning lottery entry on the terminals provided. If these terminals are not operated correctly, your win could remain undetected. These terminals could also be faulty, which means you could miss out on your massive lottery win.
Small winnings are automatically added into your account, this means you can choose to enter another draw for a shot at winning the jackpot with ease.