Despite the fact that lottery games have been played in the UK since 1994 and in many other countries for even longer, a surprising number of people still don't seem to be familiar with how lottery prizes can be claimed. To help rectify this situation I will now present a brief summary of the claim process with the UK National Lottery in mind. Prizes in other lotteries can generally be claimed in a similar way, so these basic principles are pretty much universal.
1 - Claim small prizes direct from any retailer
Small cash prizes can be claimed directly from any lottery retailer. So, if you buy a ticket from your local corner shop and you win ten pounds, you can simply take your ticket back to the same shop, hand it over for verification and get your ten pounds on the spot. Of course, you don't have to collect your prize from the same retailer that you bought your ticket from, so it if is more convenient for you, simply take your ticket to the nearest retailer.
2 - Claim medium prizes from larger retailers
Prizes that are technically still rather small in lottery terms, but are worth more than a couple of hundred pounds, must normally be claimed from larger lottery retailers. The claim process is still very simple - just hand over your ticket and collect your cash.
3 - Claim larger prizes from Lottery Post Offices
When you win a prize in the region of four or five figures you won't be able to claim it from a regular lottery retailer no matter how big they are. Instead you will need to visit a Lottery Post Office which has the authority to dispense such amounts. Larger prizes generally require you to complete an official claim form, and in many cases you will be paid via cheque rather than in cash.
4 - Claim life-changing prizes from the lottery itself
If you win what can be described as a "life-changing" sum of money then you will need to visit a lottery regional office to collect your prize. Once again, you will have to complete an official claim form and the prize will usually be paid by cheque. If you have won a jackpot, you will be offered free financial advice and will also be asked whether or not you wish to opt for publicity.
No matter what kind of prize you win, you will need to make your claim within 180 days of the draw itself. Should you miss this deadline, you automatically forfeit all rights to the prize, and the money will instead go to the lottery fund for Good Causes.
As I said earlier, these principles are written with the UK National Lottery in mind, and lotteries in other countries usually operate in a similar way, but you should never take this for granted. Instead, as your lottery retailer or operator for a copy of the claim rules and keep them in a safe place, because you never know just when you might need them...
Article Last Updated: 25/09/2007 15:30:33
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