Damaged Lottery Tickets
You may still be able to claim prizes with a damaged lottery ticket or scratchcard, even if the retailer cannot scan the barcode. There's a strict process in place for claiming prizes with damaged tickets - find out exactly how it works on this page.
To find out what happens if you lose a lottery ticket or you believe a winning entry has been stolen, see the Lost Lottery Tickets page.
How to Claim a Prize With a Damaged Ticket
If you have bought a lottery ticket from a retailer, it is your responsibility to keep it safe and come forward to claim any prizes you win. The National Lottery is not obliged to pay prize money out if a ticket cannot be validated, and rules state that entries must not be mutilated, altered, incomplete or unreadable.
If your lottery ticket won't scan but looks undamaged, you should query the matter with the retailer. They may be able to resolve the issue or give you advice, and they always have to return a non-winning ticket if you ask. The next course of action is to submit a claim to the National Lottery.
You must submit claims no later than 5.00pm on the 30th day after the winning draw date for a claim to be considered.
Any investigation into the validity of your claim is undertaken at the discretion of the National Lottery, but if you fail to appeal within 30 days of the draw you will not be considered. There are a couple of different ways to claim:
Claims must be made either by post to:
Player Services Department,
The National Lottery,
PO Box 287,
Or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can download a ‘search form’ - where you answer various questions about your ticket so that the National Lottery can carry out a search of their official records based on the information you provide. Alternatively, you can email or write your own message, but it must include the following information:
- The date and exact time where you bought the ticket
- The location and name of the store where you played
- The name of the game, for example EuroMillions or Lotto, and the draw date(s) the ticket was valid for
- The draw date on which you believe a prize was won
- How many entries you bought and the numbers selected
- What has happened to the ticket
You should include as much specific information as possible to help the National Lottery. If it is decided that the details you have provided are useful enough for an investigation to be launched, the National Lottery will look into whether your claim is valid.
If your claim is deemed to be valid, you may receive the prize after the 180-day claim period for that draw has come to an end. If someone else comes forward in the meantime and they are in possession of the winning ticket that is under investigation, they shall be regarded as the rightful winner subject to passing their own validation checks.
Play Online to Keep Entries Safe
A guaranteed way to keep your numbers safe is to take part online, as there is no paper entry that could get ripped in half, destroyed in the washing machine or accidentally thrown in the bin.
When you play online, you don’t have to remember to check the results as you will be notified by email if you win. You will be paid out automatically in most cases or informed how you should proceed if you need to claim your prize in person.
A Damaged £57 Million Ticket
The National Lottery will assess claims for prizes of all values, even big jackpots. In July 2019, a couple from Scotland were paid out £57.9 million despite having a torn lottery ticket, after it was determined that their claim was genuine.
Fred and Lesley Higgins from Aberdeenshire saw their winning EuroMillions entry ripped in half by a shop worker. The store employee had mistakenly thought it was not a winner when he ran it through the machine, only for a message to appear moments later saying that the ticket holder should contact the National Lottery.
Fred was handed the two halves of the ticket and he got in touch with the National Lottery immediately. A security team investigated what had happened, speaking to the couple and even watching CCTV footage from the store. They were satisfied that the ticket was a winner and the Higgins’ were able to receive their money.
Damaged Health Lottery Tickets
The Health Lottery states in its terms and conditions that it will not pay out prizes on any damaged tickets. However, you have a right to complain if you believe you are due a prize - you need to contact the Health Lottery directly regarding any such issues. Go to the page on claiming Health Lottery prizes for more information.