Million-dollar winning lottery ticket to expire: Where the cash could go

By FeaturesFOXBusiness

Man wins lottery three times in one day

FBN's Stuart Varney on a Michigan man winning the lottery three times in one day.

A $1 million lottery winner in Michigan faces a 4:45 p.m. ET deadline on Monday to cash in – or lose the prize.

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The winning Mega Millions ticket was purchased on March 2, 2018, at a CVS Pharmacy in the town of Ypsilanti, according to local news reports.

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In Michigan, winners have a year to claim their prizes. However, since March 2 fell on a Saturday, the deadline was shifted to Monday.

If the winner does not collect the prize with the state’s lottery office by the deadline, the money will be allocated toward Michigan’s School Aid Fund.

Americans forego about $2 billion in total unclaimed prize money annually, the founder of mobile lottery app Lottery.com told FOX Business. And the higher the drawing, the higher the likelihood there will be multiple, smaller unclaimed prizes.

In fact, earlier this year a $250,000 Powerball ticket expired in Michigan after no winner came forward.

In 2016 alone, California’s unclaimed winnings registered at more than $24 million, according to state gaming officials. While winners in Michigan raked in more than $2 billion in claimed prizes during fiscal 2017, lotto players in the state missed out on winnings worth $27.6 million. Meanwhile, in the state of New York, unclaimed lottery winnings for fiscal 2016 through fiscal 2017 were $74 million. In the year prior, they were more than $103 million.

What happens to the unclaimed prize amounts varies from state to state. In Michigan, the money goes to the state’s School Aid Fund. In California, the money also goes toward supporting the state’s public school system. In other cases, states will put the unclaimed money back into the prize pool to increase payouts for future games, according to the National Association of State and Provincial Lotteries.

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And yes, even massive jackpot winners fail to claim their prizes. In 2002, a Mega Millions windfall worth $63 million went unclaimed in New York.

Meanwhile, the winner of a $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot has yet to come forward to claim the money. The winning ticket – for the second-largest prize in U.S. history – was purchased in South Carolina. The deadline for this individual to present his or her ticket is April 15. However, if this money goes unclaimed, the pot will be redistributed to states.