6 unbelievable stories of unclaimed lottery prizes

You will hardly believe it, but it still happens that a jackpot prize is not claimed by the winner. And maybe you are asking yourself: what happens with all the money? There are billions of euros in unclaimed lottery winnings. Most of the unclaimed prizes are small. Powerball has a $4 prize for picking just the Powerball correctly and with EuroMillions you need to match two numbers to win a prize of approx. €4. But some of the secondary prizes can be worth €1 million or more. Some people don't even realize that there are secondary prizes. And even if they do know, people still forget to check their tickets once they hear there is no jackpot winner. There have been massive jackpots that nobody came out to request.


Four different ways lottery prizes remained unclaimed


1. Nobody ever showed up to claim the jackpot

A huge gain of £64 Million (approximately €52 Million) was not claimed in 2012. This has become the largest ever unclaimed jackpot of the EuroMillions lottery.

The winning ticket was bought in the Stevenage and Hitchin areas in England. But after few days looking in the neighbor towns for the lucky person who bought the ticket, no one responded. The time passed and the deadline for the application eventually expired.


2. The ticket mysteriously disappeared

A curious story happened in August 2007. The winning ticket for EuroMillions lottery would bring £6.9 Million (almost €8 Million) to its holder. It is believed that the ticket was purchased in the Devon area, in the UK, but, unfortunately, no one claimed the prize in six months and the deadline was missed.

Nevertheless, after the announcement in the media, the winner was finally found. A man, named Nick shared his story on the web (however, many people had doubts about its truthfulness): he said he was staying for 1 month in the UK, where he bought his lottery ticket, and then went back home to the US. He found out that he won, but wanted to keep it secret for a while before getting his prize. So, he was keeping his lucky lottery ticket under his PC keyboard and when he finally decided to claim the winnings, he realized that the ticket disappeared.


3. The winner realized he won only four years later, watching a TV show

It is perhaps one of the most incredible stories about unclaimed lottery prizes and it happened in Australia. In 2001, Robert Clemett, was watching a TV programme about unclaimed winnings when he realized that they were talking about him! Four years before he took part in fact in an Oz Lotto draw, exactly on September 23rd, 1997. He was sure that they were talking about his golden ticket worth 3.3 Million Australian dollars (€2 Million), because he saw the winning numbers were the same he used to pick every time!

Later, he stated that he did not remember to check the results of the draw, because he was in a stressful moment of his life. So, he finally tried to claim his prize through a legal battle that went on for almost 17 years, but in vain. Indeed, the judge affirmed that the five winning digits written down in Clemett’s receipt book weren’t a valid proof to support his claim.


4. The winning ticket was too damaged

One of the biggest unclaimed lottery prizes in the US is the $63 Million (more than €51 Million) worth ticket of the SuperLotto Plus Jackpot that in February 2016 became officially valueless. The lucky winner had 180 days to claim the prize, but nobody came forward to make the claim.

Only after the 180 days period a man named Brandy Milliner came forward to sue California Lottery, affirming he did attempt to make a claim. In response, he was told his ticket was way too damaged to be used for the purpose of proving that he was the winner of the jackpot and a payout would be impossible.

Today Brandy Milliner still hasn't been successful in claiming the jackpot but he continues pursuing in any way possible to get his prize. 

unclaimed lottery tickets


Of course, unclaimed jackpots represent few rare cases and big winners almost always collect their prizes. But keep your eyes and ears open. And if you decide to make a claim for a jackpot or another big prize, better think carefully about it. Claims of lost or damaged tickets can't do the trick. You have to be more creative and smarter to fool the lottery. So we give you a wise lesson: if you buy a lottery ticket always keep an eye on the results. Believe us, you don't want to miss a millionaire jackpot!


It didn’t always end bad


1. The winner almost threw away the ticket

There are cases that almost became part of the history of unclaimed prizes, but fortunately a small twist changed everything, like it happened to a woman from the American state of Michigan that almost lost a prize of $2 Million (approximately €1.6 Million) on April 2018.

It all started with her birthday, when her husband gave her a ticket of Multiplier Spectacular (a game that belongs to the Michigan lottery) as a gift. Days later the woman thought she hadn’t won anything and she was about to throw away the ticket when, luckily, her husband took it, went to a local retailer and found out that they won a big prize. The lucky couple decided to remain anonymous, but declared that with the money they would pay their children’s college tuition.


2. It took weeks for the winner to realize she had won

The Russian National Post Office in Voronezh region (South of Russia), was looking for a citizen, who, in the period between the 23rd of October and the 3rd of November 2017, had purchased a winning ticket of the "Russian Lotto". A jackpot of 506 Million rubles (approximately 6.6 Million euros) was drawn on the 5th of November 2017, but the lucky winner hadn’t shown up for 2 weeks after the drawing. In November 18th it turned out the lucky winner was Natalia Vlasova, a 63-year-old woman, who said she used to check draws results on her own, but that time she decided to rely on her daughter, who checked the results and mistakenly thought they didn’t win anything.

Almost 2 weeks later Natalia wanted to check them again and she couldn’t believe that they actually won a jackpot!


If you play lotto with EuroMillions.com, then it’s easier to stay updated with results. After each draw, all players that win something receive in fact an email notification. This is why we recommend you to believe in your luck and pay attention to the emails you receive. Maybe one day, it will let you know that you are our new EuroMillionaire!

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