Top 9 Biggest Unclaimed Lottery Jackpots

If you won a $1.5 billion jackpot, or any jackpot for that matter, you wouldn't want to miss the deadline for collecting your prize!

On 4 March 2019, the lucky winner of an incredible $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot came forward to claim their prize. The draw for the second biggest jackpot in U.S. history was held in October 2018 and the winner, whose ticket was purchased in South Carolina, hadn't claimed their prize for almost 5 months, using up 132 of the 180 days they had to claim it!

The anonymous winner, whose identity we will never know, came forward just in time to take their lottery winnings in a one-time cash payment of $877 million.

Unlike this lucky winner who managed to snag their sweet $1.5 billion jackpot in the nick of time, other lottery winners were not so fortunate and ended up losing their entire prize. Here’s a list of the biggest unclaimed lottery tickets in history to remind you to make sure to keep your tickets safe and check them twice before throwing them away!

The Biggest Unclaimed Lottery Tickets in History

unclaimed lottery prizes

1. EuroMillions - £64 million - Hertfordshire, U.K.

The biggest jackpot in the world left unclaimed is from the U.K. and is also the highest ever unclaimed EuroMillions lottery prize. The winning ticket was purchased from a shop in the Stevenage and Hitchin area and despite numerous appeals, including a billboard campaign to encourage the player to come forward, nobody ever claimed the prize. The £64 million jackpot, unfortunately, expired on Wednesday, 5 December 2012 after it had passed the 180 days limit. This incredible grand prize was actually won by two winning tickets in the 8 June draw, and was worth an outstanding £127 million! Fortunately, the owner of the second winning ticket from Belgium claimed their half of the prize. As for the ticket sold in England, the unlucky person's prize winnings were contributed to the National Lottery Good Causes which gives the unclaimed money to various charities around the U.K.

2. Powerball - $77 million – Georgia, U.S.

One Georgia player may not feel so peachy if they ever find out that they missed out on a $77 million Powerball jackpot prize! The unlucky winner purchased Powerball tickets at a truck stop in Tallapoosa, Georgia for the 29 June 2011 draw. Apparently, 180 days just wasn’t enough, and the ticket ultimately expired in December of 2011. This missed jackpot set a record, as it became the state’s biggest unclaimed jackpot since Georgia’s lottery was established in 1993.

3. Mega Millions - $68 million – New York, U.S.

The winning Mega Millions ticket worth $68 million was purchased in Queens, New York for a draw on being held on 24 December 2002. Unfortunately, this lottery prize was left unclaimed until it passed expiration date.

The story doesn’t end there though. An entire year later in 2003, a man by the name of Fritzner Bechette came forward to lottery officials claiming that he was the lucky winner from the previous year’s Christmas Eve Mega Millions draw. Fritzner filed a lawsuit in the Queens Supreme Court against the New York State Lottery saying that he’d been trying to claim his $68 million jackpot prize since the day after the results were announced in December 2002. He consequently sued the New York Lottery for the $63 million jackpot he lost (which officials clarified was $68 million) plus interest, of course. His reason for not being able to claim it? His winning lottery ticket conveniently went missing in a “non-retrievable situation”. Sure.

expired lottery tickets

While you may want to root for the underdog who just wants to retrieve their prize winnings, don’t be too hasty. After carrying out a lengthy investigation, officials didn't find a ticket matching Fritzner's description in the New York State lottery’s archive or at the place where he claimed that he bought the $68 million ticket. Maybe next time he can do some research and learn how to win a Mega Millions jackpot without resorting to claiming tickets that aren’t his, or fabricating such a story.

Fun Fact

3 out of 4 of the unclaimed Mega Millions jackpot winning tickets were purchased in the New York boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. The prizes were worth $68 million, $46 million and $31 million. Coincidence? We’ll let you decide.

4. SuperLotto Plus - $63 million – California, U.S.

In February 2016, a $63 million SuperLotto Plus ticket was left to rot after the 180-day deadline for claiming a lottery prize had passed. Eventually, a Los Angeles, California resident claiming to be the lucky winner did come forward to collect his prize. Brandy Milliner claimed that he bought the winning ticket on 8 August, 2015. After submitting his winning ticket to lottery officials he received a congratulatory note.

The second time he was contacted, instead of receiving his $63 million jackpot prize, Lottery officials told him that a payout would be impossible due to the condition of the ticket. At the time of Milliner's complaint, lottery officials said that they’d never received a claim from Milliner to begin with. They also said that after investigating the situation, they had found that Milliner's ticket didn’t match the winning ticket whatsoever, as it was purchased on a different date and at a different 7-11 convenience store. Nice try though!

Even with all the evidence against him, Milliner is still adamant that the jackpot rightfully belongs to him. In 2017, he said in an interview that he will continue to pursue legal action in any way possible to get the jackpot that he claims is his. Unfortunately, this “unclaimed” lottery ticket will probably never find its rightful owner.

unclaimed jackpots

5. Lotto Max - CA$70 million - Ontario, Canada

Well this is one way to set a record- the winning ticket for a CA$70 million (US$52.85 million) Lotto Max jackpot eventually expired, making it the largest unclaimed prize in Canadian lottery history. Despite the fact that this winning ticket was purchased at a retailer in Scarborough, Ontario, it was never validated at an OLG lottery terminal. As part of its awareness campaign, the Ontario Lottery attempted to somehow prompt the owner of the ticket to come forward or perhaps jog their memory of it. Despite the fact that the winner may never see their $70 million prize, OLG's Customer Care Center received more than 1,100 calls from people who claimed they had lost the ticket due to the awareness campaign.

6. Powerball - $51.7 million – Indiana, U.S.

In September 2002, a $51.7 million Powerball jackpot prize was won by an Indiana player who purchased their ticket near the Indianapolis International airport. This would be the first time since US Powerball was established in 1992, that a jackpot would go unclaimed. The winning ticket was half of a $103 million jackpot. The other half was fortunately claimed by a lucky player from Pennsylvania. In an effort to find the winner, the Indiana Lottery office aired commercials and held events at the store where the ticket was bought to get the winner to come forward. No such luck. The lucky (or unlucky) winning ticket finally expired before anyone could claim it.

7. Mega Millions - $46 million – New York, U.S.

Either there’s a conspiracy or something in the water because some of the biggest unclaimed prizes seem to come from the state of New York! In this case, a very unlucky Brooklynite missed out on an extraordinary jackpot of $46 million in a Mega Millions draw that took place on 25 April, 2006. In New York, unclaimed prize money is returned to the state’s prize pool. On occasion, unclaimed lottery prizes are used to subsidize prizes for larger jackpots, promotions and special one-time games.

8. Mega Millions - $44 million – Florida, U.S.

An (un)lucky player from the state of Florida forfeited their early Christmas gift after their winning Mega Millions, purchased in a Kissimmee gas station for the 14 June 2023 draw, ticket expired on 11 December 2023.

While unfortunate for the unknowing winner, students in Florida and scored big! The state allocates 80% of the prize funds to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund, while the remaining 20% of the prize money is added back to the prize pool for the benefit of future winners.

9. Mega Millions - $36 million – Florida, U.S.

Another Florida lottery player bites the dust! Just a few months after the $44 million jackpot went unclaimed, another Mega Millions ticket sold in the Sunshine State expired on 11 February 2024.

On August 15 2023, a single ticketholder bought home more than just groceries from a Jacksonville supermarket - they also purchased a Mega Millions ticket worth $36 million with the winning numbers 18 39 42 57 63, and the Mega Ball number was 7. Sadly, instead of ending the summer swimming in millions, they are most probably blissfully unaware of their missed winnings.

expired lottery prizes

Why Billions in Prize Winnings Go Unclaimed Every Year

Every year, figures of enormous sums of unclaimed lottery winnings are published around the world. Americans for example, lose around $2 billion every year in unclaimed prizes with $103 million lost in New York alone in 2015. Camelot claimed that between 2017 and 2018, roughly £122.5 million in lottery winnings went unclaimed by UK citizens. One begs to ask, why aren’t people claiming their lottery prizes?

One of the most common reasons prizes go unclaimed is that when people see that they didn’t win the jackpot, they automatically assume they didn’t win any lottery prize. Even if you match only a few numbers, you’re still eligible for incredible secondary prizes! Also, when people see that somebody else won the jackpot, they are more likely to feel discouraged enough that they won’t even check if they won smaller prizes. We think this is a huge mistake because secondary prizes can be worth anywhere from thousands to millions!

Another reason why billions of dollars in prize winnings are lost every year is people losing or mistakenly throwing out their tickets! This happens way more often than you would think. With our busy lives, people barely remember when the draw is, much less where they placed their ticket. This point brings up the advantage of playing through a lottery website such as theLotter which will scan your ticket into your personal account. This means that you won’t even be able to lose your ticket if you wanted to. You can also get reminders via e-mail and SMS of draw times, results and if you’ve won any lottery prizes.

expired lottery ticket

Now that you’ve seen how much money you can miss out on, maybe you’ll think twice before throwing away “scrap paper” and make sure to write a reminder for yourself of the draw date. Or, you can simply play your favourite lotteries online at theLotter where you can just sit back and if you're lucky, we'll assist you in getting your prize. The choice is yours!