Can You Claim Your Lottery Winnings If You Lose Your Winning Ticket?

Can You Claim Your Lottery Winnings If You Lose Your Winning Ticket?

Imagine putting your hard-earned money into one of your favorite lotteries draws and checking the numbers a few days later only to find you’ve won! Most of us can only imagine what that feeling is like. But what about finding out you’ve won big and then discovering you’ve actually lost your ticket? Believe it or not, this has happened to a lot of people and worse is that most don’t know what to do in such a situation. Can you claim your lottery winnings if you lose your winning ticket? Here’s all you need to know.

Lost Lottery Money

It’s a strange but true fact that unclaimed lottery winnings are much more common than many people think. If we look back through the last 20 years of lottery draws, focussing on the United Kingdom in particular, it’s believed that during the Spring and Summer of 2006 a figure in the region of £5,313,852.50 worth of lottery money had actually gone unclaimed by people who had not come forward to pick up their winnings.

In fact, every single week, it’s likely that as much as £2 million of lottery winnings goes unclaimed – simply from lottery players who forget they’ve played, lose their tickets or simply forget to check their numbers. With the chances of winning the lottery so slim anyway, it’s a real conundrum why people forget to check – or don’t keep their tickets somewhere safe!

More often than not, this is because the person has lost their ticket, or has simply just forgotten to check it. In most cases, and with most lottery draws there is a six-month time frame after winning in which to come forward and claim any prize money due. After this, the tickets are considered null and void and the money is then redirected to charities and good causes, that rightfully benefit from the people who haven’t come forward to stake their claim.

What to Do If You Lose Your Winning Ticket?

What is the best course of action to take if a player has discovered they have won but seemingly lost their ticket? Well, although every lottery company across the world will have slightly different rules and regulations, the main advice to adhere to in cases like these runs as follows:

Generally, there is no moral obligation on the part of the lottery operator to pay up any monies won, if the ticket has been lost, misplaced, or stolen. But it is always worth making a case to see if your claim can be considered appropriate.

If a player finds they have matched any winning numbers, but has lost their ticket a claim can only be made within 30 days of the draw for which the tickets were purchased for.

Players will need to have certain information to hand to give to lottery officials so they can make the decision on whether or not a claim can be made and money can be paid out. Firstly, they’ll need to know where the ticket was purchased and the time, the draw it was bought for, and the location of the place of purchase. Players should also be prepared to divulge how many lines they played, the numbers are chosen as well as any potential idea there is about the whereabouts of the ticket, or where it may have gone missing.

There are also rules about what to do if members of the public find a lost (and winning) ticket too – if a person happens upon a ticket that has winning numbers on it, or even for a draw that hasn’t yet taken place,  it should be sent to the correct lottery operator. With the ticket should be included the name, address and telephone number of the person who found it with an explanation of where you found the ticket and the time. If, at some point in the future no one has come forward to claim any monies then whoever found the ticket may in fact be eligible for the prize themselves. The only condition to this is that the ticket should be sent back within 30 days for any claim to be considered.

Real-Life Lost Ticket Drama

Martyn and Kay Tott

When Martyn and Kay Tott celebrated their first wedding anniversary, they decided to put a lucky lottery ticket on, to see if they could win a little money as a treat. However, they hadn’t checked their numbers and forgot about their ticket.

It was only sometime later when a TV appeal was made regarding an unclaimed jackpot in the area they lived in, that they recognized the lottery numbers given as their own and realized they’d missed out on claiming the jackpot.

The couple turned their house upside down in a bid to try and locate the missing ticket, but without any success.

In a state of anxiety, the couple contacted Camelot the UK Lottery operator, and explained their predicament. The company undertook an investigation into their claims and found that although they were the rightful winners of the money, they couldn’t pay up as more than 7 weeks had passed since the draw, and it contravened their 30-day limit to make a claim for a lost ticket.

When Chief of Security for Camelot, Martin Challis visited the couple, they verified all the correct information needed to make the claim, including proof that they’d selected the same numbers week after week for the draw. The Central Computer at Camelot’s headquarters proved this to be true. Further documentation, including birth certificates, passports, and even a photograph of Mr. Tott’s grandmother’s front door were all used to help the couple’s claim.
But it was all to no avail as it was decided that the company would not override the 30-day rule. When asked for a comment a Spokesman for the Lottery Operator said:  “The rules stand. The game and the Lottery must abide by them. Both Camelot and the National Lottery Commission have concluded they have no discretion”

The couple said that this unfortunate event puts an untold strain on their marriage and that it had been the “cruelest torture imaginable”

Kay Tott spoke of the loss and said: “Thinking you’re going to have all that money is really liberating. Having it taken away has the opposite effect. It drains the life from you and puts a terrible strain on your marriage”

It pays to keep your lottery ticket in a safe place and not let it out of your sight – no matter how slim the chances of winning are, there is always the opportunity to win big money. Keep an eye on your ticket and know where it is at all times!

  1. Similar situation as myself, I misplaced my (guaranteed) millionaires raffle ticket a few years back. I still know where my ticket is to this day but never received any help from Camelot to trace it or offered any help from them to claim it due to the 30 day unrealistic rule that some people don’t realize until it’s too late. Sad to say the money went unclaimed, Despite my plea.


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