Every year billions of Euros worth of lottery prizes go unclaimed. The vast majority of these are smaller prizes, with the high value coming from the sheer number of prizes that are ignored, overlooked or forgotten about. But every now and then there are some huge unclaimed lotto jackpots that leave players speechless.
7. UK National Lottery, 2006 = £1.6 Million
What makes this win unusual is that it was split between two players and neither one of them came forward. The winners were based in Glasgow and Warwickshire, and the winnings they would have received later went to good causes.
It’s not the biggest unclaimed lottery jackpot in the UK, as that title goes to a staggering win on the EuroMillions that we have covered below, but it is one of the most unusual. It means that ticket-holders in both Scotland and England were deprived of a lottery win they had no doubt dreamed of. But on the plus side, they’ll probably never know that they owned the winning tickets and missed their chance of securing a fortune.
6. UK National Lotto, 2005 = £9.4 Million
This unclaimed lottery jackpot achieved a lot of press back in 2005 as the UK went in search of the winner. The lottery organization, Camelot, revealed that the ticket had been purchased in the Yorkshire town of Doncaster, which prompted news crews and journalists to do their own investigations in the town.
Even the town crier got involved as everyone tried to beat the six month deadline and ensure that the money went to its rightful owner. But, unfortunately, the winner was never found.
It has remained one of the biggest unclaimed lottery jackpots in European history, although it has since been eclipsed by an unclaimed win on the EuroMillions (see number 2).
5. Mega Millions, 2006 = $31 Million
A Mega Millions jackpot of $31 million went unclaimed in 2006 when a New York based winner failed to come forward. The organizers traced the winner down to the Queens area, but still weren’t able to find them.
This isn’t the only major unclaimed win in the Big Apple. In fact, several of the world’s biggest unclaimed lottery jackpot winners are from this state.
4. Mega Millions, 2003 = $46 Million
This jackpot was won by a New York based ticket-holder, but they never came forward to claim it. The state of New York has a rich and varied lottery history thanks to the New York State Lotto and their inclusion in the Powerball and Mega Millions. But they have also had more unclaimed jackpot winners than any other state, and probably any other region in the world.
3. SuperLotto Plus, 2016 = $63 Million
The US is home to lotteries like the Mega Millions and Powerball, which have both hit jackpots of more than $1 billion in the past. Thankfully, these jackpots, and all jackpots above $100 million, have been claimed, but the same can’t be said for a $63 million jackpot on the Californian based SuperLotto Plus.
The jackpot went unclaimed in 2016, but shortly afterwards a man named Brandy Milliner came forward to say that he had tried to cash the ticket but the lottery organization had told him it was too damaged. He proceeded to sue them, but his case was eventually dismissed, with the Californian lottery company submitting proof that Mr. Milliner bought the ticket at a different store to the one that had sold the winning ticket, and that he bought it at a different time.
2. EuroMillions, 2012 = £65 Million
The only thing we know about the winner of this EuroMillions jackpot in 2012 is that they were based in the towns of Stevenage or Hitchin in the United Kingdom. That accounts for around 110,000 possible winners—a relatively small number when you consider how many people play the EuroMillions—but despite this, they were never found.
They had 6 months to claim their money and when they didn’t—despite the best efforts of Camelot—the money was donated to the National Lottery Good Causes fund.
1. Mega Millions, 2002 = $68 Million
The Mega Millions seems to attract more unclaimed winners than any other lottery and in 2002 it saw its biggest ever when a sum of $68 million went unclaimed. The winning ticket was sold in the state of New York, as with the other major Mega Millions unclaimed wins, but the winner was never found.
In 2018, following a staggering $1.5 billion lottery win, many suspected that this record unclaimed jackpot win would be smashed when the winner failed to come forward after several months.
But the winner, a South Carolina resident, finally appeared just a few weeks before the deadline, claiming a cash prize of just under $900 million and becoming the biggest ever lottery winner in the history of the United States.
Sources: The Gaurdian, The Times Of New York