Los Angeles, CA – March 21, 2010 – Unclaimed lottery winnings are up and on the rise, just as the jackpot in America’s favorite lottery game continues to climb higher and higher! The grand prize was not awarded Saturday evening, but one lucky ticket in Colorado matched all 5 white numbers with the Power Play and won $1 million!
Because no one correctly matched all six numbers on Saturday’s drawing the jackpot will grow to an estimated $66 million!
Last year, more than $600 million in lottery fortunes went unclaimed in the United States. Right now, the clock is ticking for someone who bought a California Lottery Fantasy 5 ticket in Pittsburg. A month has gone by without anyone claiming it. The winner has five more months to come forward or else the money goes to education spending instead of a new Porsche or perhaps a trip to Las Vegas. However, a number of smaller prizes – sometimes worth hundreds of thousand of dollars – go unclaimed because people just don’t bother to check their tickets after learning that they didn’t win the ultimate prize.
“The California Lottery tries its best to notify the public that unclaimed tickets are out there,” said the spokesman Eric Alborg. It sends out news releases whenever a ticket is set to expire and adds the information to its Web site. For whatever reason, sometimes no one comes forward.
“A lot of time people lose their tickets,” Alborg said. That can be remedied at times, he said. The state lottery’s security system may be able to determine if someone purchased a ticket. He declined to give specifics, noting the system is a guarded one. “In all, 2 percent of the prizes go unclaimed,” Alborg said.
One of the first lotteries was the New Hampshire lottery which was founded in 1964 and since then lotteries have raised over $200 billion for government programs throughout the United States. For example, in fiscal 2009, the State of Michigan’s lotteries alone, contributed $724.5 million to schools and since its inception in 1972, the lottery has contributed more than $15 billion to education in Michigan.
A Lottery Ticket in Benicia, California, worth nearly $800,000 from the MEGA Millions ® prize is still unclaimed. The ticket, purchased for the September 29 draw, matched five of six numbers and is worth $796,804. The winning ticket was sold at the CVS Pharmacy located at 2100 Columbus Parkway. The winning numbers were 45, 21, 50, 25, 2 and the Mega number – the only number the ticket did not hit – was 21.
“There could be a number of other reasons contributing for unclaimed lottery winnings, but still would be so unfortunate for the game to go to a wasteful conclusion. It will only kill the spirit with which it was played,” Alborg said.