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Record-setting $12.2 million Washington Lotto prize remains unclaimed

A $12.2 million prize remains unclaimed. (Washington State Lottery Commission)

It might be smart to check on any old Washington lotto tickets you have in your wallet — you could have won over $12 million without even knowing it. According to the Washington State Lottery Commission, someone who bought a ticket at Brier Grocery store on July 3 won the jackpot, but has yet to claim their prize.

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To see a prize go unclaimed after a drawing isn’t something that’s seen all that often.

“It is uncommon,” Kristi Weeks with the Lottery Commission told KIRO Radio.

Weeks noted that no one at the commission right now can recall an instance where a jackpot of this size went entirely unclaimed. That said, there is a separate winner of a $225,000 jackpot who is quickly running out of time to claim that prize as well.

As for theories as to why it this latest winner has yet to surface, it could be any number of things.

“We always encourage people when they win a large jackpot to check with a financial planner, check with a lawyer — plan ahead for what you’re going to do with this kind of money,” Weeks said. “So it may be they’re engaging in that kind of pre-planning before they actually present the winning ticket.”

The $12.2 million prize is the biggest Washington state jackpot in a decade, not to be confused with a recent record-setting $1.6 billion Mega Millions prize, that was available nationally.

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“This is a record for the Lotto game — it is our own home-grown game. Sometimes you’ll hear of a really big jackpot for Powerball or Mega Millions, but those are multi-state games,” Weeks described.

The prize is funded entirely from ticket revenue. State law requires at least 45 percent of sales go toward that jackpot, but typically the Lottery Commission will devote between 60 and 65 percent.

This latest prize has been growing since November 2018, with the amount increasing each time a winner wasn’t drawn over the last few months.

The winner has until December 30 to turn in the ticket. If it remains unclaimed after then, the money will go to education funds, helping pay for the Seahawks’ stadium, and other predetermined state funds.

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