Didn’t Hit the Lottery Jackpot? You May Still Be a Millionaire

Photo (cc) by pirateyjoe

Last time you played the lottery and got wind that no one hit the jackpot, what did you do with the ticket?

My guess is that you tossed it in the nearest trash can without bothering to check your numbers, hoping for better luck next time. Smart move? Probably not.

With the near record Mega Millions jackpot of $636 million looming on the horizon, now is the perfect time to discuss lottery ticket etiquette, if you will.

About $800 million in lottery prizes, which equates to 2 percent of the total prize money distributed, goes unclaimed each year, says CNNMoney.

Many of the winning ticket holders are only eligible to collect a prize of a few dollars. But a select few have a bit more luck and can rake in a million or more. But what good is a winning ticket if the owner fails to redeem it in a timely manner to collect the winnings?

“Lottery tickets aren’t good forever — they must be cashed in by a deadline, which is generally between three and 12 months after a ticket is purchased, depending on the state,” CNNMoney says.

Unfortunately, expired tickets are a common occurrence nationwide.

Check out the list below for a few mind-blowing statistics from CNNMoney on unclaimed lottery winnings:

  • In the last fiscal year, the states of New York and California had unclaimed lottery winnings of $65 million and $22 million, respectively.
  • A Florida Powerball ticket worth $16 million expired in May.
  • Two New Jersey Powerball tickets worth $1 million expired in November.
  • A Florida Powerball ticket worth $1 million expired in October.

“You just hope for their sake that they never know they missed out,” Connie Barnes, communications director for the Florida lottery, told CNNMoney.

So, next time you play the lottery, be sure to check your numbers. You may not be the grand prize winner, but you may still be sitting on millions.

Did you throw away your last lottery ticket without checking the numbers? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Common Online Shopping Mistakes That Will Cost You
7 Common Online Shopping Mistakes That Will Cost You

How many of these costly online shopping missteps are you making without realizing it?

11 Signs That You Chose the Wrong Place to Retire
11 Signs That You Chose the Wrong Place to Retire

Health and happiness in retirement rely on some key factors.

Here’s the Average Retirement Age in Your State
Here’s the Average Retirement Age in Your State

Are you on track to retire at the same age as most residents of your state?

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

5 Monthly Bills You Can Easily Negotiate Down
5 Monthly Bills You Can Easily Negotiate Down

Here’s how to bring down recurring expenses and save hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars each year.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

This Cellphone Carrier Has the Worst Network Quality, Customers Say
This Cellphone Carrier Has the Worst Network Quality, Customers Say

One major wireless provider stands out for the least reliable call, messaging and data services.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.