What To Do If You Lose A Lottery Ticket
Last Updated: Wednesday 19th June 2019, 13:36
Whether you have forgotten where you put it, think you may have thrown it away by mistake or fear it may have stolen, you may well have lost a National Lottery ticket at some stage. Learn about the steps you should take if your entry goes missing, why it is important to act in the first 30 days and what you can do in the future to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
When you realise that you have lost a ticket, the first feeling that may come over you is that it could have been a big winner. This is especially likely if there is a large unclaimed prize out there. However, the National Lottery does reveal the area in which big awards such as jackpots and Millionaire Maker prizes were won. This happens two weeks after a draw if the prize remains unclaimed, so you can check to see if you bought an entry in the same region.
If you purchased a ticket in an area where there is an outstanding prize and you cannot find it, or even if you have lost an entry somewhere else and want to know if you are a winner of a smaller award, you must lodge an appeal within 30 days of the draw taking place.
National Lottery operator Camelot will decide at its own discretion whether to investigate claims, and then whether to pay out any prizes as a result, as having a valid ticket is the only way to prove you are a winner.
What To Include In Your Claim
You should certainly say which game you played and the numbers you entered, if you can remember. However, if there is a big unclaimed prize around, the winning numbers are very easy to find online and your appeal will not be considered unless you can provide much more information about your lost ticket.
You must include the name and address of the shop where you purchased the ticket, along with the date and time you bought it. It is important to be as accurate as you can with the time, as the National Lottery’s records will show exactly when a winning entry was bought. You should also state the number of lines you played, the draw date(s) you entered and any further information that may be helpful, such as how and when you think you lost the ticket.
If your ticket has been damaged rather than lost, you should submit an appeal with the same information, but also keep hold of your entry as it may still be possible for the National Lottery to verify certain aspects of the ticket. Whether your ticket has been lost or damaged, the information you provide must match the lottery’s records. If the National Lottery is satisfied you are a winner, you may then be paid out after the 180-day window for claiming prizes has closed.
The reason you may have to wait so long is that if anyone else comes forward in that time to claim the same prize, it would throw doubt on your own claim, and the National Lottery would have to evaluate both claims carefully before paying the prize money out.
Once 30 days have passed, you can only claim prizes if you have a valid winning ticket. Anyone who comes forward with a bona fide ticket after 30 days will be paid out over someone who has lodged an earlier appeal over a lost entry, unless there is sufficient evidence to warrant further investigation.
How To Avoid Losing Lottery Tickets
A lottery ticket should be regarded as a potentially very valuable slip of paper, rather like a bank note, until such a time as you are sure that you have not won. If you lose it, you have no rights to claim any prizes the entry might be due.
However, there is space on the back of your entry to put your name, address and signature. If you fill this in and end up losing your ticket, it is still possible that you will be reunited with your entry. At the very least, it makes it much more difficult for someone else to claim a prize using that ticket.
It is a good idea to think of one particular safe place to keep your lottery tickets before you need them. Whether it is a drawer in the bedroom, the glove compartment of your car or somewhere else, decide on a secure spot that you can easily remember.
You should also remember to check your tickets regularly. It may not be something you get round to every week, but if you do it quite often you will be able to see more easily if you are a winner. If you find that any have gone missing, you can still lodge an appeal as long as 30 days haven’t gone by. You should check your tickets carefully, including any raffle codes that might be present, as well as the main numbers.
The best way to avoid losing a ticket, though, is to play online. Your numbers are stored safely and linked to your name electronically, while you will also be notified of any wins so there is no danger of missing out on a prize. You will be paid smaller prizes automatically and guided through what to do if you win a larger award such as a jackpot.