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Do Lottery Tickets Expire? – All Answers Here

The initial shock of winning the lottery can make you slow down on claiming the prize due to overexcitement and disbelief. Maybe you’re making plans on what to do with the money before it comes, or you want to wait till exactly when you need the prize before claiming it. However, lottery tickets expire within 90-180 days after purchase. So, this guide will show you everything about lottery tickets expiring and what to do. Keep reading to ensure you claim the prize in time.

When Do Lottery Tickets Expire?

All lotery tickets are valid until their expiration date, which is usually 90-180 days after purchase. The time when your lottery ticket expires depends on the game. Most lotteries will give you at least three months (90 days) from the drawing date to claim the prize. The deadline can sometimes extend up to a year, although some lotteries allow three and more years to claim the reward. So check the rules of the lottery before leaving your ticket for too long.

Ticket validity is the financial mechanism lottery organizers use to ensure everything runs smoothly. It’s also a way of keeping the game transparent. The lotteries don’t want to risk having too many unclaimed tickets, and deadlines are the way to motivate the players to claim their rewards sooner.

Ticket Expiration by Lotteries

The best way to know when your ticket expires is to check the claiming deadline for the specific lottery. Here is a detailed table on ticket expiration for the major worldwide lotto games:

Lottery Ticket Expiration
US Powerball 90 days to 12 months (depending on the state)
US MegaMillions 90 days to 12 months (depending on the state)
EuroMillions 90 days to 12 months (depending on the country)
EuroJackpot 180 days
Italy Superenalotto 90 days
Brazil Mega Sena 90 days
Canada Lotto 6/49 12 months
Australia Oz Lotto 6 years
Note The usual countdown for the ticket expiration is from the drawing date. For some lotteries, it might be from the ticket purchase date, so make sure to check with your vendor.

Do Scratch-Off Lottery Tickets Expire?

Scratchers are fun games where you can instantly discover if you won. But what if you purchase a scratch card for a friend or the entire family and don’t want to scratch it immediately? If you win the lottery, please be aware that scratchers also have an expiration date.

Scratch-Off-Lottery

If you play scratch cards online, you should receive most winnings immediately. For large prizes, you’ll be informed to check in with the lottery and you can find out the deadline for claiming scratch prizes. If you bought the scratcher at the local vendor, you can check the back of the ticket. There should be information about the validity of the scratch card. It’s important to claim the prize before that date passes.

Examples of People Who Didn’t Claim Their Lottery Tickets

A jackpot winner was supposed to receive $87 million after playing EuroMillions in June 2012. It was only 50% of the grand reward since the prize was split among the users. But while the lottery immediately found one lucky winner in Belgium, the other prize remained unclaimed. EuroMillions even conducted a big campaign to inform the potential winner, but no one came forward in time.

There are also more examples of people who didn’t claim their tickets in time. Lerynne West left her ticket in another person’s vehicle. And she was lucky enough that her sister was the owner of that vehicle, and she noticed the ticket on time. The Powerball jackpot was $343 million at the time, and Lerynne ultimately claimed it.

How to Prevent My Lottery Ticket from Expiring

You can avoid becoming one of the people who loses their prize because of an expired ticket by using these tips:

  • Check the expiration date immediately after purchasing it: Most lotteries have a clear expiration date written on the back of the ticket. Make sure to check it immediately, and if you can’t find it, contact the lottery to get accurate information.
  • Keep the ticket safe: You can’t claim the prize without the ticket, that’s why you need to keep it in a safe place. If you purchased it online, print a physical copy, and never share your online account credentials with anyone. If you have a physical ticket, choose a safe place where it can’t suffer any accidental damage.
  • Save the draw date: If you purchased a ticket, it’s important to follow through and inform yourself of the drawing date.
  • You can check the results after the draw: You don’t have to watch the session live. It’s enough to check the lottery results online to know if you qualified for a prize.
  • Let a trustworthy person know you played the lottery: Tell them to remind you of the draw.
  • Add a reminder to your phone: You can also set the alarm to remind you one or two weeks before the deadline.

What Happens to Unclaimed Lottery Prizes?

If your ticket expires, the reward is officially considered unclaimed. Whatever happens to the prize depends on the lottery rules in the specific jurisdiction.

Some states, such as Florida, take the entire sum to use for public projects. Some lotteries might require the money to go to charities or specific projects, such as public education. There are even some games where retailers get to split the prize. It depends on the lottery, but the sure thing is that players can’t claim anything after the expiration date.

In Summary

Lottery tickets expire within 90 days or even up to three years after purchase. But the validity of a ticket is dependent on the game’s rules and you can find out everything by asking your vendor or checking onlne. If your ticket expires, you can’t claim the prize and it will go into public projects.

So ensure to keep a reminder to claim your prize in time.

FAQs

Do Lottery Tickets Go Out of Date?
Yes, each ticket has an expiration date. If you are late, the ticket is no longer valid, and you can’t claim the reward. It’s extremely important to honor the deadline since there are no exceptions.

What Is the Biggest Unclaimed Lottery Prize?
The biggest unclaimed lottery prize is $1.337 billion from a MegaMillions ticket bought in Illinois in 2022.

When Do MegaMillions Tickets Expire? 
The usual expiration date for MegaMillions lottery tickets is from 90 days to 12 months. It depends on the location, but you might find when your ticket will expire at the back.

Powerball Tickets Expire?
It depends on the state where you purchased the ticket. Ticket expiration can occur anywhere from three to 12 months. For example, the Florida Lottery considers Powerball tickets valid up to 180 days from the draw date. Make sure to check with the local or online vendor to get more information on when your ticket expires.

How Long Does It Take to Collect Lottery Winnings?
It always depends on the lottery. For smaller prizes claimed at your local vendor, you receive the money immediately. If you need to go to the lottery office, you might need to be patient. For large prizes, it can take from four to six weeks for the lottery company to pay out your prize.

Can I Use My Expired Lottery Ticket to Enter Another Draw?
While you can’t claim the prize on an expired lottery ticket, you can use it to enter a raffle draw. You can win amazing prizes without having to lose the money you spent on purchasing the ticket.

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