Millions of dollars in Michigan Lottery prizes go unclaimed in the state each year, but most of them are small potatoes.
The Lottery keeps a list of the currently available unclaimed prizes on its website – but only the largest ones.
Right now, there’s a $2 million prize and two $1 million prizes in Michigan that no one has claimed. Lottery prizes expire one year after the ticket sale or drawing date if they’re still unclaimed.
Look under your car seats and clean out your junk drawer, because one of these lottery prizes could belong to you!
- Powerball ticket from the 8/4/2021 drawing. Prize: $1 million. County: Ingham
- Fantasy 5 ticket from the 8/7/2021 drawing. Prize: $100,000. County: Oakland
- Lotto 47 ticket from the 9/25/2021 drawing. Prize: $2.05 million. County: Macomb
- Fantasy 5 ticket from the 10/8/2021 drawing. Prize: $117,053. County: Kent
- Powerball ticket from the 2/14/2022 drawing. Prize: $1 million. County: Macomb
How to make sure your lotto winner doesn’t go unclaimed
One way to make sure you don’t miss out on your rightful prize money is by buying your tickets online. When you buy tickets online, any prize under $600 is paid directly to your Michigan Lottery account. And if you hit it big, you’ll be notified by email and on your iLottery account.
Even if you don’t buy your ticket online, you can always use the ticket checker on the Michigan Lottery Mobile App to see if your ticket is a winner. In addition, every MI Lottery retailer has a ticket checker. It only takes a second, and it never hurts to check!
The Lottery lists each possible way to claim a prize on its website.
Why are lottery prizes left unclaimed?
Large prizes often go unclaimed for a period of time before the winner finally comes forward to claim it. For a big jackpot prize in the multiple millions of dollars, it’s not unusual for winners to take time to assemble a team of lawyers, financial advisors and accountants to assist them in managing and investing the windfall. Sometimes the winner will take time to form a trust or an LLC to claim the prize.
But some prizes go unclaimed or unnoticed for various reasons. Some people don’t realize there are secondary prizes on the multi-state games like Powerball and Mega Millions, or don’t bother to check their numbers once they hear no one hit the jackpot in their drawing. Other people just don’t take the time to return to the store to cash out their minor winnings or scratch-off prizes.
Don’t let those winning tickets expire!
This past May, another $1 million-winning ticket expired. The winning Powerball ticket was sold for the May 5, 2021 drawing at Warren Market on Mound Road in Warren. A year went by with no one producing the winning ticket. It ultimately expired at 4:45 p.m. on May 5, 2022.
A $150,000 winner from the April 24, 2021 drawing, expired on April 25. That ticket was purchased at Pine Knob Wine Shoppe in Clarkston.
What happens to all that unclaimed money?
On a national scale, unclaimed funds are in the billions of dollars every year – the biggest chunk contributed by the multi-state games. Every lottery has policies to deal with unclaimed lottery prizes.
Powerball has the following policy on its website:
“Unclaimed prizes are kept by the lottery jurisdiction. If a Grand Prize goes unclaimed, the money must be returned to all lotteries in proportion to their sales for the draw run. The lotteries then distribute the money, based on their own jurisdiction’s laws, to other lottery games or to their jurisdiction’s general fund, or otherwise as required by law.”
In Michigan, the unclaimed prize money is simply added to the Lottery’s profit which all goes to the School Aid Fund. In fiscal year 2021 the Michigan Lottery contributed over $1.419 billion to the fund, supporting children’s education in the state.