Unclaimed Prizes

Coloured Money Recent news that a British EuroMillions player has missed out on a second tier prize worth almost £7 million makes me question the mentality of some people.

The ticket was bought in Devon for the draw on Friday 28 September, and it matched two main numbers and a lucky star to win £6,989,367.

Fast forward 180 days and the deadline for claiming that particular prize expired on Wednesday 26 March. In short, somebody who went to the trouble of buying a ticket in Devon – presumably with the hope of winning – has both succeeded and failed on a massive scale.

Winning a lottery prize worth several million pounds, dollars or euros is not something that happens on a regular basis. A seven-figure prize is not like a bus that you can casually miss and be fairly confident of catching another one soon after. For almost all players, winning millions is a once-in-a-lifetime dream come true, and this makes throwing it away almost sacrilegious in my book.

Of course, I’m not saying that whoever failed to come forward to claim their multi-millions did so deliberately. Anyone who did do such a thing would be quite mad. What I am saying is that, if we play the lottery, we owe it to ourselves and to other players to make sure that we check our numbers and claim any prize well before the deadline.

Some readers may wonder why I say we owe it to both ourselves and other players. Well, my answer is that we owe it to ourselves because we bought the ticket in the first place. And we owe it to other players because if we don’t claim, the money gets stuffed into the Good Cause fund, robbing everyone of a rollover in the case of jackpots and of a higher payout in the case of shared lower tier prizes.

Okay, so having unclaimed money going to Good Causes is a darn sight better than having it go to the lottery organisers themselves, but it really should go to the players who – through their entry fees – made the prize possible. After all, money has already been sliced off the top of our ticket price for Good Causes, so why should the rest of it go there too?

In my opinion, unclaimed prizes should be added to the jackpot fund of the next draw after the deadline. This would be fair to everyone involved, and although the Good Cause fund would miss out on a few millions, it would still get the cut we are willing for it to get when we buy our tickets.

Article Last Updated: 04/06/2010 15:02:59

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