Categories
BLOG

how long are lotto tickets good for

How Old Can a Lottery Ticket Be to Turn in to Win?

How Do Multiple Winners Claim a Lottery Ticket?

All good things must come to an end, so they say, and that includes winning lottery tickets. The state agencies that regulate lotteries and other forms of gambling will set expiration dates on when the ticket can be redeemed. Keep the ticket safe, and whatever you do, turn it in on time.

Lottery Winnings

If you win a smaller amount in a lottery drawing, you can claim your prize at the store or outlet where you bought the ticket. If the winnings are more than $600, in most cases you must redeem the ticket through the state lottery agency. Most convenience stores do not carry a large amount of cash, and any win over $600 needs to be documented on a Form W-2G for federal tax purposes. There’s also a deadline involved, set by state law.

Expiration Dates

Lottery tickets expire, and state law sets the time frame. This can range from 90 days to a year. Some lottery tickets will carry this information in the fine print on the back. Others don’t, but you can always access this information through the lottery agency website. In Minnesota, for example, the expiration date is one year from the date of the drawing. For scratch-off tickets, the deadline is one year from the official end of the game. Minnesota’s lottery website posts a list of the current lottery games and the number of unclaimed prizes in each.

The Fate of the Unclaimed

If you buy a lottery ticket, sign it immediately and keep it safe. If the ticket is lost or stolen without a signature, then anyone who finds it can turn it in. If a prize goes unclaimed, then state law sets down the next step. Either the lottery agency returns the money to the cash pool for another game, or turns the money over to the attorney general of the state. A multi-state lottery will return the money to each state lottery agency in proportion to their ticket sales.

Why Expire?

Strange as it may seem, a healthy number of winning lottery tickets do expire. According to a CNN report, $800 million in lottery money never found its legitimate owner in 2011, out of nearly $40 billion in total prize money. A common reason is that many lottery players don’t realize they’re holding “secondary” winners, which matched some, not all, of the numbers. Another reason may be that the news of a jackpot winner in another state discourages people from even checking their tickets for the smaller prize. Unclaimed jackpots, understandably, are rarer.

More Articles

Can a Trust Claim Winnings of a Lottery in Georgia? →

Tax Laws Regarding Money Won Playing Bingo →

Do I Have to Pay State Taxes on Lottery Winnings if I Don’t Live in That State? →

  • Powerball.com: FAQ
  • Minnesota State Lottery: Unclaimed Prizes
  • CNN Money: $800 Million in Lottery Prizes Go Unclaimed

Founder/president of the innovative reference publisher The Archive LLC, Tom Streissguth has been a self-employed business owner, independent bookseller and freelance author in the school/library market. Holding a bachelor’s degree from Yale, Streissguth has published more than 100 works of history, biography, current affairs and geography for young readers.

All good things must come to an end, so they say, and that includes winning lottery tickets. The state agencies that regulate lotteries and other forms of gambling will set expiration dates on when the ticket can be redeemed. Keep the ticket safe, and whatever you do, turn it in on time.

YOU WON. CLAIM YOUR PRIZE!

NOTICE: All California Lottery District Offices are temporarily closed to the public effective December 7, 2020 following the California Regional Stay at Home order issued on December 3, 2020. Please see below for prize claiming options.

You have two ways to collect your prize:

Option 1: Visit a Lottery retailer

Just take your winning ticket to a Lottery retailer and the clerk will hand you cash on the spot. Talk about easy!

Option 2: Mail your winning ticket and claim form

Download the Claim Form (PDF) or pick one up at any Lottery retail location or District Office. Fill out and sign the claim form, and don’t forget to sign your winning ticket, too! Mail the original ticket and the signed claim form (along with the Claim Authorization Receipt from a retailer, if you have it ) to:

We recommend sending everything by certified mail and saving a copy of every item you submit. We’re not responsible for mail, tickets or claim forms that are late, lost, damaged, misdirected, misaddressed, incomplete or illegible. So, protect your prize by keeping a copy of your winning ticket and claim form. And always sign the back of your ticket.

Your draw game ticket must be postmarked or received by Lottery offices within 180 days of the winning draw date, except that, in the case of Mega Millions and Powerball Jackpots, the tickets must be postmarked or received within one year from the winning draw date. Scratchers ® tickets must be postmarked or received by Lottery offices within 180 days of the announced end of game date.

State law prohibits the sale of a Lottery ticket or the payment of a prize to anyone under 18. Tickets failing validation are void.

All California State Lottery game tickets, transactions, claims and prize payments are subject to California State law and the California State Lottery rules and regulations. By participating, you agree to comply with all laws and Lottery rules and regulations.

You’ve Won! Now claim California Lottery prizes $599 and under at any Lottery retailer or by mail. For prizes $600 and over or 2nd Chance prizes, see instructions provided here. ]]>