Mega Millions Jackpot Ticket Worth $36M Goes Unclaimed


Posted on: February 17, 2024, 06:19h. 

Last updated on: February 17, 2024, 06:19h.

A Mega Millions jackpot won in August has gone unclaimed.

Mega Millions jackpot unclaimed lottery
The lottery player who won the $36 million Mega Millions jackpot for the Aug. 15, 2023, drawing failed to redeem the prize within the Florida Lottery’s 180-day redemption window. The funds will be instead returned to the participating lotteries that fueled the jackpot. (Image: Mega Millions)

The Florida Lottery earlier this month notified Mega Millions players that a winning jackpot ticket worth $36 million remained outstanding. Lottery officials said at the time that the ticket had to be redeemed at a lottery office or validated at a Florida Lottery retailer by midnight EST on Sunday, Feb. 11.

The ticket was sold at a Publix grocery store in Jacksonville located at 4495 Roosevelt Blvd. Florida lottery laws require that wins be redeemed within 180 days. The Mega Millions ticket matched the six winning numbers during the Aug. 15 drawing. The numbers were 18, 39, 42, 57, and 63, and the gold Mega Ball was 7.

The odds of a ticket matching all five white numbers and the Mega Ball are just one in 302,575,350. Mega Millions consists of a pool of 70 white numbers and 25 Mega Balls.

The game is drawn twice a week at 11 pm EST from the WSB-TV studios in Atlanta. The drawings are supervised by the Georgia Lottery.

What Happens Now?

Florida Lottery officials explained that when a winning ticket isn’t redeemed within the 180-day timeframe, 80% of the unclaimed money goes to the state’s Educational Enhancement Trust Fund. The remaining 20% is returned to the prize pool from which future prizes are awarded or used for special promotions.

However, since this unclaimed prize was a Mega Millions jackpot ticket, which is an interstate lottery game played in 45 states plus DC and the US Virgin Islands, much of the $36 annuitized jackpot will be returned to the participating states where the sales were generated.

The unclaimed ticket was actually worth $17.5 million in cash, as the advertised $36 million jackpot was the full value paid out over a 30-year annuity. The $17.5 million will be sent back proportionally to the participating states.

If a jackpot prize is not claimed within the required time limit (which varies by state), each participating state in the Mega Millions game will get back all the money that state contributed to the unclaimed jackpot. Each state uses its unclaimed lottery prizes for different purposes,” the Mega Millions Consortium said in a statement.

Unclaimed lottery prizes aren’t a rarity, though most wins are minor. Powerball and Mega Millions states retain tens of millions of dollars a year meant for players who failed to redeem non-jackpot tickets in time.

Unclaimed money has been reduced in recent years, as more states have moved lottery operations online and winnings are instantly credited to players’ accounts. Courier services like Jackpocket provide similar security.

Another Mega Millions Ticket Needs Redeemed

Mega Millions officials say the clock is ticking on another winning ticket, though one far less valuable.

A ticket sold in Michigan for the Friday, March 17, 2023, drawing matched all five white numbers to win a $1 million prize. In Michigan, players have a full year to redeem a winning ticket.

The ticket in question was sold at a CVS located at 18130 West 10 Mile Road in Southfield. If the ticket isn’t claimed in time, the Michigan Lottery will pocket the full $1 million cash prize, as the win isn’t based on the jackpot. Michigan’s lottery also benefits public education through the School Aid Fund.

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