Somebody out there has a $1 million lottery ticket they bought earlier this year on the Eastside, but their luck is about to run out.
The Washington State Lottery says the $1 million Powerball ticket was sold in Bellevue on Jan. 18. The winning numbers are 13-14-19-31-38, with the Powerball of 25.
“The person who made this purchase has not come in to claim the prize yet, so we’re hoping to get some information and call attention to this,” says Jana Jones with the Washington State Lottery.
It’s far from unusual, even with such a large prize. On average, over $5 million in prizes go uncollected each year. Many times, people simply forgot they even bought a ticket, or bought it on their way out of the state and never check the results.
If the winner doesn’t claim the jackpot by July 17, two-thirds of the money will go into the lottery’s unclaimed prize fund: distributed to players of other games, second chance drawings and other promotions.
The other one-third goes to a special fund called the Economic Strategic Reserve. The money, controlled by the governor, goes to grants for things like small business expansion.
“We would just greatly prefer to pay the prize money and we try to get as much information out there as possible to those players who may have tucked it under their pillows at some point,” she says.
The $1 million ticket is just one of 17 unclaimed prizes of $10,000 or more set to expire by the end of the year, Jones says. The lottery keeps a list on its website.
Nationwide, an estimated $800 million worth of lottery prizes goes unclaimed every year, CNNMoney reports. At least two $1 million tickets in a $587.6 million Powerball drawing in 2012 were never claimed. In New York State alone, $65 million in prizes went unclaimed in the 2013 fiscal year.
The unclaimed prizes have some wondering if state gaming agencies should do more to allow players to register their tickets so they can be notified if they win. But Jones says it would be unreasonably burdensome to the retailers that sell them to request ID. And she says the tickets are considered much like cash.
“Who we actually sold it to is not of concern to the lottery, but rather who possesses it when they come in to make the claim,” she says.
So where is the missing $1 million ticket? Jones hopes the winner figures it out before it’s too late.