Lottery winners lose £1.1bnThursday March 3rd 2011
British lottery players have missed out on prizes worth in excess of £1billion, according to organisers. In the 17-year history of the National Lottery, huge jackpots have gone unclaimed, including a £9.4million jackpot prize which should have been claimed by a player who bought a ticket in Doncaster in 2005.
According to a report by the Metro newspaper, an average of £68million a year goes unclaimed, either because players have lost their winning tickets, or they failed to check their numbers and were never aware of the win.
Organisers say there are currently 17 prizes totalling £100,000 waiting to be claimed.
Of course, the unclaimed cash does not go to waste. UK lottery organisers will take the prize money and any interest earned and divert it to a good causes fund after 180 days. The money will then be used to help fund a variety of schemes including arts and community projects and sports initiatives.
A UK lottery spokesperson said: "No one wants to see players miss out on prizes, so we always encourage people to check their tickets every time they play. We try lots of things to keep the ticket in the public eye whenever there is an unclaimed win."
Last month, a pair of North Carolina Lottery players came within a whisker of losing their claim on a $1million prize after leaving it 179 days before registering the win. The couple, who live in Mecklenburg County, had less than 24 hours left before their winning lottery ticket would have become void.
Written by Samantha Jones