You’re out there somewhere and, hopefully, you get the message.
On June 24, 2017, a Powerball lottery ticket sold in Philadelphia matched every number except for the Powerball, a feat that earned the ticket’s owner a $1 million prize. Only problem is, the ticket is unclaimed and will expire on June 23.
“In Pennsylvania, draw game prizes expire one year from the drawing date. The ticket holder should sign the ticket and contact the nearest Lottery office. Winners can be identified only after prizes are claimed and tickets validated,” a Pennsylvania Lottery press release read.
More details on the winning Powerball ticket
The PA Lottery provided specific information about the $1 million winner. The ticket nailed the first five balls: 10-22-32-36-58.
However, the ticket missed the Powerball, which resulted in a $1 million prize instead of the $92,000,000 prize that would’ve gone to someone who had all six winning numbers.
PA Lottery archives indicate that nobody won the $92 million prize that day. There was one $1 million winner, a pair of $50,000 winners, and 54 winners of $100 prizes.
Miller: Unused winning tickets “heartbreaking”
According to a 2017 article from Penn Live, $18 million in winning lottery tickets went unclaimed in 2016.
Gary Miller, public relations director for the PA Lottery, told the news outlet it’s gut-wrenching when he thinks about how much prize money goes unclaimed.
“We can’t say it often enough; check every ticket, every time,” Miller said. “It breaks my heart whenever a prize goes unclaimed because that’s money that belonged to the winner.”
An archived article from CBS Pittsburgh detailed the story of two different people who had winning tickets and didn’t know it. One man — Randy Gajewski of Johnstown — had a $50,000 winner about which he was unaware until he had two weeks left to cash it in.
Finding the winning numbers wasn’t as hard as it sounds. Powerball numbers are drawn every four to five days, so Gajewski had around 80 tickets to sort through.
The tough part was that he had to search by date instead of numbers because he played the same numbers every day.
Eventually, he found the winning ticket and obtained his prize.
The other example was that of Roger Custer, who had a $33 million winner and didn’t know it.
He went on a hunting trip after purchasing the ticket, shoving it in his back pocket with his wallet. The ticket stayed in his pocket throughout the trip, enduring rain and snow.
The PA Lottery’s advice for absent-minded ticketholders is straightforward: “Players should promptly check every ticket, every time, using self-service scanners at retailers or with the ticket checker on the Lottery’s official mobile app.”
Should a ticket go unclaimed for more than a year, the PA Lottery donates the winnings to the various state programs to which they donate their revenue, including programs for older adults.