What happens with unclaimed lottery tickets? - WNEM TV 5

What happens with unclaimed lottery tickets?

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

Millions of dollars have gone unclaimed from the Michigan Lottery.

"Sometimes we have to break bad news to people," said Jeffrey Holyfield, with Michigan Lottery.

Just about everyone has fantasized about winning the lottery and getting rich quick.

What has to be excruciating is winning the lottery and never knowing it.

Holyfield said there are a lot of unclaimed prizes when it comes to the Michigan Lottery - more than $18 million as of today.

"We have had players who called us and say, 'Hey, I see on your website there is this unclaimed prize. I think I have got that,'" Holyfield said.

Holyfield said often times people misplace tickets. Last year alone $28 million in unclaimed prizes exceeded their expiration date. It is not all bad though, he said all that money goes to helping Michigan public schools.

Holyfield said draw games like Mega Millions and Powerball have to be claimed in one year, but scratch offs have two years before they expire.

He said if winnings are not claimed within that certain time frame there's nothing the lottery commission can do. He said check your glove box and old jackets, you may be surprised with what you find.

"As many lottery players as there are there are many options for a winning ticket to go undiscovered or unclaimed," Holyfield said.

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