Unclaimed Lottery Wins in Australia
Did you win? Did you check your numbers this week? Have you lost the winning ticket? Are you a lottery millionaire now and don’t even know it? It could be you, but if you didn’t check you will never know.
Despite our big dreams when buying a lottery ticket of what we would spend it on and how it would change our life, millions of dollars each year go unclaimed.
Unclaimed prize money sits in state lotteries across Australia waiting to be collected. South Australia for example has on average a staggering $3 million in unclaimed prize money every year with every state reporting millions of dollars in unclaimed winnings.
State lotteries are all regulated individually, with different claim regulations and timeframes. In some states the winnings needs to be claimed within six months or the money is lost to the winning ticket holder forever. However, in other states it remains open longer.
The one constant is whatever state you’re in it’s up to the winner to come forward and claim the prize. All lottery websites have information about whom you’ll need to contact to claim your prize but it’s down to the winner to claim.
$23 Million Lottery Ticket Lost
Australia's largest unclaimed lottery prize was $23 million and went unclaimed for 2.5 years before a Brisbane man came forward and claimed the prize in 2007.
It was reported that he lost his ticket and gave up hope of claiming the jackpot. But a 12-month investigation involving detectives, forensic accountants, lawyers and government agencies resulted in a successful claim for what was then Queensland's biggest lottery prize.
Entire Town Searches for Missing Lottery Ticket
Another example was in 2001 the town of Kalgoorlie was in a lotto media frenzy when a winning ticket worth $1.5 million was not claimed for months.
The town was rife with speculation on the location of the winning ticket rumours circulated that maybe it had accidentally been thrown out, this lead to media reports of locals searching the local rubbish tip for the missing ticket.
Eventually a couple came forward that had forgotten they purchased the ticket and had left it in the glove compartment of their car. The winners were infrequent lotto players who had not watched the draw and incredibly were unaware of the speculation and media reporting surrounding the mystery.
Man Waits to Claim His $1 Million Prize
However, some winners choose to not come forward straight away on May 15th 2008 again in Kalgoorlie a man won $1 million dollars on a system 7 ticket then waited more than three weeks to claim his prize.
The reason for his delay in claiming was he wanted the town-talk to die down and also wanted to make the claim on his 55th birthday. What a nice birthday gift!
No matter how frequently you play the lottery, you should always check your tickets after the draw. To make things easier you can sign up for our results newsletter and receive the winning numbers directly into your inbox shortly after the official draw. If you decide to wait until you claim your winnings, here are a few tips from us:
- Don’t tell anyone. If you do, someone might try to find your ticket and claim the prize instead.
- Keep the lottery ticket in a safe place. Safe enough for no one else to find it but ensure you remember where you put it.
- Protect the ticket from water by putting it in a safe container.