Unclaimed Lottery Winnings: What Happens to Them?

Share Button

Unclaimed MoneyIf you love playing the lottery, you might have wondered what happens to winnings that are never claimed.

If the winner doesn’t step forward within the specified time frame, what happens to that money? Who gets it? Where does it go?

To answer those questions, the first thing you should understand is that the way unclaimed winnings are handled can vary from one lottery to another. For instance, one lotto game may have a second chance drawing while another doesn’t.

Let’s begin by taking a look at the subject of unclaimed lottery winnings in general, as pertaining to just the United States.

US Powerball $1.6 Billion Jackpot Draw Last Year!

US Powerball $1.6 Billion Jackpot Draw Last Year!

U.S. Unclaimed Lottery Winnings

According to CNN Money, an incredible $800 million in lottery winnings is never claimed.

That’s a lot of money!

In case you’re thinking that this stupendous sum is nickel and dime winnings that players just don’t mess with claiming…think again.

The fact is that some of those winnings are large amounts. Like $1 million, for example. This doesn’t seem like a paltry sum that a player wouldn’t be motivated to claim, does it?

In 2013, when the Powerball jackpot had surged to a then record high of $587.6 million, there were two $1 million winners that never stepped forward to claim their winnings.

Believe it or not, a Powerball ticket sold in Tampa, Florida was worth $10.4 million and went unclaimed!

Time Limit to Claim Lottery Winnings

Although lotteries do vary in the time limits they set for players to come forward and claim their winnings, you will usually have from 6 months to a year to produce your winning ticket.

In the event that no player claims the money within the allotted time frame, how that money is handled also varies from lottery to lottery.

In the United States and Europe, some unclaimed lottery funds are returned to the community, while others go back into the lottery fund.

The EuroMillions Lottery has a novel way of dealing with unclaimed prize money: it goes into a “Good Causes” fund. This fund is distributed in a variety of ways and a person must apply for a portion of its benefits.

One point that may furnish you with food for thought is that buying lottery tickets online makes it virtually impossible for you to forget you have them or to lose what may have been a jackpot winning ticket!


  1. well its not fair for them to keep it, they should put it back into the lottery and have them pick another winner!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.