A Michigan lottery player is missing out a being a millionaire. Last year, the player bought a Powerball ticket worth $1 million. As of Thursday afternoon, that ticket isn’t worth the paper it was printed on thanks to Michigan Lottery rules.
Marathon gas station in Ionia sold the winning ticket. Per lottery rules, a player holding a winning ticket must claim the prize within one year.
The story, however, still has a happy ending. Thanks to the oversight, the Michigan School Aid fund became $1 million richer this past week.
Billions of lottery prizes left unclaimed
It’s hard to understand an unclaimed $5 lottery ticket, much less a $1 million one.
Believe it or not, another six-figure prize went unclaimed this year. A player failed to cash in on a $519,456 Fast Cash Jackpot Slots ticket in July. And in August, a woman nearly tossed a $50,000 winning Powerball ticket in the trash.
According to lottery expert Brett Jacobson, unclaimed lottery prizes total in the billions across the US. Jacobson collects data from every state lottery, and for the year ending June 2017, players failed to claim nearly $3 billion worth of prizes.
There were 167 prizes of at least $1 million that players forfeited because they didn’t come forward in time. In fact, many secondary prizes remain unclaimed because most players only check their numbers against the jackpot.
“People don’t even realize there are secondary prizes,” said Jacobson to CNN Money.
The largest unclaimed lottery prize in Michigan dates back to 1998 when a Michigan Lotto game ticket purchased in East Lansing worth $34 million was forgotten.
According to the Michigan Lottery website, there are three substantial winning tickets set to expire soon:
- $50,000Powerball bought at Cordial Party Shoppe in Taylor expires on Nov. 15, 2018, at 4:45 p.m.
- $209,815 Fantasy 5 ticket bought at A&G Market in Flint expires on Dec. 4, 2018, at 4:45 p.m.
- $50,000 Powerball bought at Saginaw Fuel South in Grand Blanc expires on Dec. 10, 2018, at 4:45 p.m.
Michigan School Aid Fund
In Michigan, not only does $0.28 of every dollar benefit the Michigan School Aid Fund, so does all unclaimed lottery prize money.
Since 1972, the Michigan Lottery contributed over $21 billion to support public education.
The Michigan State School Aid Fund is money specifically designated to support public schools, school districts, higher education and school employee retirement programs.
While donating $1 million to the Michigan School Aid fund is a noble thing to do, one should be a willing participant.
Hold on tight to those lottery tickets and check those numbers twice. The advice could literally be worth a million bucks.