Beware of Prize Claim Deadlines

Know when your lottery ticket expires
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Beware of Prize Claim Deadlines
  • Author:
    William Monroe
  • Published:

Did you know that any type of lottery ticket you purchase, from the draws to the scratch-offs, have a limited time for prizes to be claimed before they are then sent to charity or repurposed back into the lottery?

It’s true, and if you don’t claim your ticket by that date, you will have lost your win. No amount of pleading, begging, crying, legal action, excuses, or other reason is going to get you your money.

The rules are clear: if you don’t claim your prize by the due date, you will not get your money. Therefore, it is extremely important that if you find yourself the winner of a large prize or the jackpot, to claim your ticket before the prize expiry date.

How Much Time Do You Have?

For most major lottery draws, the time your ticket is valid is exactly twelve months from the date of the draw.

There are some lotteries where you have ninety to one hundred eighty days for the expiry. Scratch tickets or special draws may even have a shorter claim period.

There are many reasons why people fail to collect on winning tickets by the expiry date. In most cases, it is because the ticket is misplaced, lost, or totally forgotten about, and simply sits in limbo. Many people find winning tickets months to years after the expiry date in drawers, pockets, purses, wallets and in hiding places where even mice won’t venture. And it happens to a lot of people.

We get busy, we decide that we can check the ticket next week at the retailer, and then things get in the way and forget about it.

Why It Can Be Wise to Wait

Now, there are some winners who purposely wait until the very last minute to claim their prize. Why wouldn’t they want to claim it right away? There are many reasons. The most common is that the winner wants to get everything in order before the claim their prize. They might want to talk to family members first, or seek advice from a lawyer or financial adviser.

They really don’t want to do anything rash and want to keep cool and remain calm while they work on a good financial plan for when they do make their claim. Some may do all this before they even talk to other family members.

The are some winners who may be in a very bad domestic relationship and really have no intent of letting their spouse or ex know about the win. They try to avoid sharing the win by making the surprise claim close to the expiry date to hopefully catch the other person off guard so they have a shorter time period to try to make any claim against the win.

Others just hope that by waiting, most people will have forgotten about the win not being claimed and hope it turns into a public non-event.

However, with big unclaimed prizes, many lottery operators work hard to try to find the winners near the end of the validity period. They may post notices at retailers, or prominently on their website.

They might run newspaper, television, or radio ads letting the public know that the draw is close to expiring and urging people to check their tickets and get their claim in.

Set Reminders

So when you purchase your tickets, it’s a really good idea to check when the expiry date is and keep your tickets safe but not in a place where you might forget about them.

It certainly would not be fun to find a winning ticket for a huge jackpot one day after the expiry date. Mark the purchase date on a calendar or in your phone or tablet and circle or set a reminder to check the ticket as soon as you can after the draw. And if it is a winner, you don’t have to claim it right away, but it’s in your best interest to claim it as soon you as you reasonably can.

Dreams can come true and watching ticket expiry dates ensures your dream won’t turn into a nightmare.

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