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Lottery officials: $2 billion in winnings go unclaimed every year

Posted at 4:51 PM, Oct 16, 2018

If you bought tickets to try and win Tuesday night’s huge Mega Millions jackpot, don’t forget to check your tickets even if you don’t win the jackpot.

Americans don't claim about $2 billion worth of lotto winnings every year, according to research.

Jim Davidson always checks his tickets, even if he doesn't win big, and it's paid off.

“For the lotto, I think that one was like a $400 payout,” Davidson explains. “Wasn't millions, but it was a good hit.

Lottery officials say that's what all players should do after a drawing.  

Experts say Americans forego roughly $2 billion in lottery winnings every year. And the higher the drawing, the higher the likelihood of multiple smaller unclaimed prizes.

“Check your numbers. It's really important to check those numbers,” says Jennifer Churchill with the Colorado Lottery. “You may have won $100 bucks; you may have won $5,000 bucks.”

Often times, winners don’t realize they’ve won.

“People have carried around tickets for a length of time, not realizing that they have a winner either of a lower amount or even jackpots,” Churchill says. “We've actually had people hit jackpots and not come in for them.”

Machines that check tickets can be found in almost every store where you can purchase a ticket. With Mega Millions, it only takes two matching numbers to win something.