$1.5bn Lottery Winnings Still Unclaimed
The owner of the winning $1.5bn (£1.24 bn) Mega Millions lottery ticket has yet to come forward and reveal their identity. The prize for America’s multi-state lottery is the second-largest lottery prize in the country’s history. The winning ticket owner has until the April 19, 2019 to claim the prize.
The winning lotto ticket was sold at a KC mart in Simpsonville, South Carolina between the days of 20 October and 23 October. It was revealed in October that the winning player had correctly matched all six numbers, becoming the sole winner of the money pool. In this case, the winning lotto numbers were 5, 28, 62, 65, 70 and the mega ball 5. Anyone who matches the winning numbers can choose between an immediate cash payment of $904m or receive the entire prize amount through payment instalments over 29 years.
No player has successfully drawn the Mega Millions numbers since July 2018. As a result, the top prize continued to roll over for months leading to the huge sum of money that sits waiting to be claimed. With the $1.5bn, one would be able to buy an NFL team or The Washington Post.
The Guardian reached out to lottery experts to determine how normal it is that winnings go unclaimed. Russ Lopez of the California Lottery pointed out that “the larger the prize the longer it takes,” adding “That’s an amazing amount of money. Their life is going to change.”
The lead director of the Mega Millions lotto, Gordon Medenica echoed Lopez stating that he did not expect that the winner would come forward immediately, but now that months have passed, “we’re sort of running out of reasons on why anyone would wait this long.”
What Happens if the Winner Never Comes Forward?
Each of America’s states has its own unique procedures with regards to how it handles lotto winners. It is likely that the identity of the Mega Millions victor will never become public as South Carolina is one of the eight states, in which winners can keep their anonymity. The other U.S. states that allow anonymity are Georgia, Kansas, Texas, Ohio, Maryland, North Dakota and Delaware.
If the winner never comes forward and claims the prize sum, there will be a few consequences. The $1.5bn prize will be redistributed between the 44 participating states alongside Washington D.C. Although this doesn’t seem like the end of the world, South Carolina would come out of this deal a loser.
Because South Carolina was home to the winning ticket sale, the territory can tax the winnings. South Carolina had included the $61m tax revenue in the state’s budget, which would have amounted to 0.5% of the state’s annual spending. All those who filed their taxes are also entitled to a $50 rebate due to the new tax revenue. Should the winner never come forward, South Carolina will be forced to readjust its spending.
The owner of the KC Mart in Simpsonville will also forfeit a $50,000 bonus, which he would get as the merchant who sold the winning lotto numbers.
Jee Patel, a store employee noticed that the store experienced aa huge boost in sales after it was announced that it had sold the winning lotto ticket. Although this has no bearing on the likelihood of winning, many customers felt the luck may lead to future lotto success.
History of Unclaimed Lottery Prizes
Jackpots have been unclaimed before. The biggest unclaimed prize happened in 2002 and was a $68m Mega Millions jackpot. The ticket was sold in New York. One of three winning tickets went unclaimed for a 2002 Powerball jackpot valued at $103.5m. At the beginning of 2019, The Sun reported that there was a total of £9m of unclaimed lottery winnings in the UK alone.
If you would like to see all of the unclaimed lottery prizes currently in the UK, visit the official website of the National Lottery. At the tie of writing this article, there were nearly £7 million worth of unclaimed prizes, most coming from the EuroMillions lottery. The next prize claim deadline is March 10, 2019.
If you would like to participate in lotteries, players must be 16 and over and physically located in the UK or Isle of Man. You can purchase EuroMillions tickets from thousands of shops across the country, or online at https://www.euro-millions.com/play. Full details of draws, history and the various available games that you can play can also be found on the lottery’s site.