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What happens to unclaimed lottery prizes and where do they go?

Whenever their lottery ticket fails to match the winning line, many players feel like they’re throwing their cash down the drain, but that’s not entirely true. When it comes to lottery, your loss is usually someone else’s victory because all that money is used to fund good causes all over the world. 

One of the best examples of good distribution of unclaimed prizes comes from the UK, where the National Lottery works tirelessly to find the winners and put the money to some good use if they eventually don’t come forward. They do their best to create the buzz and get the media talking about the unclaimed cash in order to get the players to check their tickets in the right time. The local media is always keen to talk about the winners in their area who hadn’t come forward yet, and local celebrities or sports teams often join in to increase the interest of the public and help the search. The internet is also used to remind players of the money that’s yet to be claimed – prize details are shared via social media and National Lottery website where visitors can see the list of all the prizes that are still waiting for their rightful owners.

If all of this fails, the money is distributed to one of the amazing projects across the UK, that changes the lives of individuals and local communities all over the country. National Lottery raises over £33.000.000 for this projects every week, which is given out by 12 independent organisations, each with specialist knowledge of their sectors. Since 1994, more than £35.000.000.000 has been raised for good causes, funding over 500.000 projects in the arts, sport, heritage, charity, voluntary, health, education and environmental sectors. You’ve already had the opportunity to read about some of them – from 5 lottery-funded movies released last year, to the many heritage sites that received a £48.000.000 boost last month.

When it comes to the unclaimed prizes won by playing the games from the US, such as Mega Millions and Powerball, their distribution differs from state to state. Unclaimed prizes are kept by the lottery jurisdiction – half of the state lotteries are required to put the money back into a game, while the others must turn it over to the state’s general fund. When the money is given back to the community, there’s one specific area that benefits the most from it – education. For example, California Lottery prides itself in giving 95% of its funds back into the community, and one of the way they do it are their contributions to public education. They yearly send over $1.000.000.0000 to public schools and colleges all over the state, and some of that money helped in creation of computer labs, essential accelerated reading programs, arts and music programs and advanced placement classes.

Many lottery prizes go unclaimed because players don’t feel the need to check their tickets after realizing they didn’t hit the jackpot. Majority of the tickets are worth about $2 or $4, but there are plenty of them worth thousands or even millions, like a $63.000.000 SuperLotto Plus prize that went unclaimed last year, becoming one of the largest jackpots in history that wasn’t collected by its rightful owner. Don’t let this happen to you – play Powerball and check your ticket in time to find out if you scooped a $293.000.000 windfall!

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