This happens more often than you might think. There are millions in unclaimed Powerball prizes out there and it seems impossible that winners haven’t come forward to collect their prizes. If you’re an avid lottery player you wouldn’t let something like that slip past you. But for Susan O’Shields of Henderson, it took quite a while to realise what was happening.
She managed to claim her $100 000 Powerball prize just 5 hours before the deadline.
Her husband actually bought the ticket for a drawing that took place last year on the 5th of December. He left it on the dresser but never went back to check the results. Susan eventually put it in a Ziplock bag and forgot all about it. As the 180-day deadline draw closer, the lottery approached the Mountain Energy store on Airport Road in Arden where the winning ticket had been sold. They asked the store to put up a banner reminding customers of the deadline. Then they issued a request to the local media to help them find the winner.
Her husband heard about the story from a co-worker and told Susan about it. They immediately hauled out the Ziplock bag and started checking the tickets. Even though her husband showed her the ticket several times it took Susan a while to realise what it meant. The shock was considerable and she couldn’t believe it at first.
With only hours to spare they headed to the lottery headquarters at Raleigh to claim the $100 000 prize. After tax, Susan and her husband still have $69 250, which they will use to pay some bills. That’s a pretty good return on their investment in a US Powerball lottery ticket!
Susan’s story has a happy ending, but it also holds an important lesson for all lottery players. You have to check the numbers for each draw because you just never know when you win. Now, if you sign up to play the lottery online that’s one problem you’ll never have. Your tickets are automatically checked against the winning numbers after each draw. And if you’ve won, you’ll be notified via email. So even if you don’t watch the draws or check your tickets you’ll never run the risk of missing out.
And you won’t have to worry about claiming your prize before the deadline. With an online ticket concierge service, your winnings are automatically allocated to your account. From there you can choose to withdraw them to your private bank account, or let the funds accumulate and use them to buy more lottery tickets. It just makes everything more convenient.
About $2 billion in lottery prizes go unclaimed every year. Most of these are only worth a few dollars, but there are some big prizes that just never get claimed. In 2015, there were approximately 114 million-dollar prizes that went unclaimed. The problem is that most people forget about the secondary prizes on offer. The jackpot isn’t the only prize but when people hear that someone else has won it, they don’t bother to check their tickets.
You might be wondering what happens to unclaimed prize monies. It either goes back to the state where the lottery ticket was purchased or into a pool of money for special jackpot winners. Lotteries don’t want people not to come forward and claim their prizes. Even if it’s a small amount of money, they know that people will use it to buy more lottery tickets. And besides, even the small wins could help you take home that jackpot if you keep playing.
By now you’re probably desperate to fish out some of your old lottery tickets to check the numbers. Don’t leave it too late or you might just miss out on a jackpot if the deadline has already come and gone. If nothing else, at least make a habit of checking your tickets after every draw!
It’s a good thing the lottery put so much effort into finding the winner or Susan and her husband wouldn’t have such a great story to tell. But, even though stories like this are always fun to hear about it, it wouldn’t be much fun if you missed the deadline and forfeited your prize! So make it a resolution to buy your Powerball tickets online and avoid the risk of losing out on your jackpot!