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Could You Be a Missing Lotto Winner?

Last Updated: Friday 26th February 2016, 10:20 am

For many, winning a huge Lotto prize would be a dream come true. The notion of seeing a significant sum of money suddenly appearing in your bank account is enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention - but what happens if you don’t realise that you’ve won?

Lotto lavishes hundreds of thousands of players with prizes in every draw, most of which are claimed immediately either online or via an authorised retailer. There are, however, some ticket holders that do not realise that they have won and it’s the job of the National Lottery to unite players with their prizes as soon as possible. Officials will wait for two weeks after the draw before releasing information about where the ticket was purchased in order to give players adequate time to get in touch, after which steps will be taken to track down the unassuming winner. For players who have lost their ticket and think they’ve won a prize, contact must be made in writing before the 30th day after the draw.

There are a number of tactics that the National Lottery employs in order to track down a winner. The first step is to publish the details of the unclaimed prize online, often via posts on social media, and hope that they generate interest and stir the memories of players. The pressure can be intensified for larger prize amounts, with local celebrities and sports teams drafted in to spread the word as well as stunts being organised in the area, all of which are designed to really get people talking.

It is possible for all tickets to be traced to the area in which they were purchased, so often a quick word to the local or national media can help spread the news. The line is drawn, however,  at releasing the name of the shop in which the ticket was bought, simply to allow players a chance to remain anonymous should they wish to do so.

From the date of the draw, players have a total of 180 days to claim any prizes that they have won, after which time the money, as well as any interest that the sum has generated, will go to projects funded by the National Lottery across the country. Each of these good causes benefits from an astonishing £34 million every week thanks to the money raised by Lotto players.

With this Saturday’s jackpot worth an estimated £6.5 million, it’s definitely worth checking and double checking your Lotto ticket just to be certain. Who knows - you could have won a life-changing amount and not even know it. Good luck!

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