What Happens to Unclaimed Lottery Prizes?

Can you imagine someone spending money on lottery tickets, actually winning a big jackpot, and never claiming their prize? That sounds crazy, right? Who in their right mind would not claim a big lottery win? Actually, although it is hard to believe, it does happen and there are numerous reasons why it does happen. Sometimes people make a mistake when checking their numbers and don’t even realize that they won. Sometimes people lose their tickets. Sometimes people don’t even remember that they bought a ticket and, hence, don’t even check it. Absolutely anything can happen. It’s true because, every year, there are hundreds of millions of dollars in unclaimed lottery winnings. What, then, happens to unclaimed lottery prizes?

Every lottery is different but, generally, one of two things happens with unclaimed lottery prizes: Either the unclaimed money goes back into the prize pool or the lottery corporation distributes it back into the social services that it supports, like education for example.

Let’s look at one of the biggest lotteries in the United States – Powerball. If a Powerball jackpot goes unclaimed, the prize money is distributed back to all of the state lotteries that participate in the game, proportionate to their total sales. The state lotteries then can decide what to do with the money and, often, it goes right back into helping the communities thai and lottery result.

Now consider one of the biggest lotteries in Canada – Lotto 649. If a Lotto 649 jackpot goes unclaimed, unlike Powerball, the unclaimed money does not go back to the provincial lotteries. Rather, it goes back into the prize pool and returned to players through future bonus jackpots or promotions. So, for example, Lotto 649 might increase the size of the guaranteed jackpots for a few subsequent draws in a row. Or they might have a special one time only bonus where they will draw an extra set of numbers that players must match to win the prize. Either way, the players benefit with extra prizes.

As you can see, all lotteries have variations on what they do with their unclaimed lottery prizes. Each one treats the unclaimed prizes differently. If you want to know what exactly happens with unclaimed money for the lottery that you play, the best thing to do is to log onto that lottery’s website and look at its FAQ section. There, it will tell you what happens to the money.