Oh to win the lottery! A big, fat jackpot that promises you’ll never have to work again, if that’s what you wish. But what about those who’ve won massive lottery jackpots and almost missed out on claiming them? You might be surprised, it’s more common than you think!
The biggest story was a recent win in the US Mega Millions. In October 2018, the jackpot hit $1.5 billion and was won by one ticket holder. One of the biggest jackpots in lotto history. The world held its breath as everyone waited for the winner to step forward and claim their life-changing win – but no one seemed to be coming forward! What we did know was that the ticket was bought from a KC Mart in Simpsonville, South Carolina and that the winner had just 180 days, or until the 21st April 2019, to collect their winnings.
Speculation ran rife that the winner could possibly be on the run from the police and fearing a background check. Others suggested that perhaps the winner had seen his/her winning numbers and died of shock on the spot! A less wild speculation was that perhaps the ticket had been part of an office pool and was now the subject of litigation. Luckily lottery winners in South Carolina are allowed to remain anonymous; yet still no one came forward.
If no one claimed the jackpot, each state participating in the Mega Millions would be given back the money they contributed towards that jackpot. Each state decides how to spend this money, for instance, Maryland is one state which puts these unclaimed winnings into prizes related to second-chance games and promotions and bonus prizes. States such as South Carolina put the winnings into a fund which is used for educational expenses.
The Winner Takes It All
Luckily the winner stepped forward in March 2019, just in time to claim the big jackpot. The winner chose to remain anonymous but said that he/she had allowed a fellow customer to cut in front of them in the line to buy a lottery ticket for the same draw! The anonymous winner chose the one-time cash payment of $878 million, making it the largest single winner payout in US lotto history.
This isn’t the only story of a lottery winner nearly missing out on his winnings. A 68-year-old New Jersey man claimed his $24.1 million win just two days before his winning ticket was due to expire. He saw a story on the evening news about how time was running out for the winner to step forward and went to find his ticket tucked away amongst many more in the pocket of an old, favourite shirt. The retired security guard said he was so shocked he stuck his head out the window to breath in some fresh air. He decided to take the annuity, receiving his winnings in laddered payments over 26 years.
You Win Some You Lose Some
Other lottery winners haven’t been so lucky. In 2015 a winner from California lost his ticket and the $1 million prize he’d won. Without a ticket, the Lottery Officials won’t allow anyone to collect a prize, for obvious security reasons.
CNN reports that billions of dollars in lottery prizes actually go unclaimed each year. The big winners usually come forward, but sometimes even they go MIA!
If you’re a hoarder of unchecked tickets, it might be best to run and get them before it’s too late! Who knows, you could’ve won millions without even realising.
If you don’t have any tickets lying around, take this chance to buy a few and maybe you’ll be the next winner.
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