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Millions Of Dollars Worth Of Winning Lottery Tickets Go Unclaimed Each Year

Reported by: Send eMail Katelyn Sykes
Web Producer: Katelyn Sykes
Reported: Dec. 17, 2013 11:50 AM EST
Updated: Dec. 17, 2013 1:15 PM EST

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Unclaimed Lottery Winnings
Eyewitness News Photo

Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia

Millions of dollars worth of lottery winnings go unclaimed every year and lottery officials said if you have an old lottery ticket laying around, it might be worth a second look.

Nearly $800 million worth of winning lottery tickets go unclaimed every year. Lottery officials in West Virginia said unclaimed winning tickets account for less than one percent of total lottery sales every year. They said for the most part, people who play the lottery and win are diligent about claiming their prizes.

Since Powerball was introduced in 1986 there's only been two times where a million dollar ticket went unclaimed in West Virginia. One was just this year in Beckley.

Lottery officials said any money that's not claimed is returned to players in the form of prizes.

"All of our promotions, second chance games, that money is what is used to fund those prizes," said Randy Burnside, P.R. Manager for the West Virginia Lottery. "Here in January we have a game out right now, our Monopoly Millionaire, with a second chance component that this January we're going to give away a million dollar prize from that."

Lottery officials are urging players to check their tickets. Just because you might not have won the big prize doesn't mean your ticket isn't worth anything. If you play Mega Millions, you have a one in 21 chance of winning some cash. Just matching the Mega Ball will put a dollar back in your pocket.

Mega Millions has been a hot seller across the Mountain State, Tuesday. Lottery officials said during the morning rush stores were selling 30,000 tickets an hour. They expect to see similar sales during the evening rush as well.



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