What happens to unclaimed National Lottery cash prizes?

LOTTERY playing Brits will usually be hot on claiming any cash they've won through the national game.

But on occasion, players have been known to miss out on MILLIONS after failing to come forward for their winnings.

The National Lottery has been running for more than 20 years.

In that time it's made more than 5,500 millionaires across the UK and has awarded £71 billion in prize money.

Just last night’s Lotto draw gave Brits a chance to get their hands on a whopping £4.1 million in cash.

According to the Lotto website someone has won that mega prize though, and there is one winning ticket out there for the jackpot.

But we don't know just yet whether the winner has come forward.

Players are urged to check their tickets now and save missing out on the colossal reward.

But what happens to the cash if they do miss out?

Some like to cut it fine, as back in 2019, a player in Manchester claimed their £1 million prize just hours before the deadline.

But in some instances, the owner of the winning ticket will never come forward.

The UK's biggest unclaimed total was from June 2012, when a Euromillions prize worth £63.8 million was never picked up by its winner.

Last year alone, the National Lottery saw ticket sales of £7,905.1 million.

As a result £4.5 billion was paid to players in prizes.

But in the year before, £125.1 million worth of prizes were never claimed and went on instead to charitable causes.

When there is a winning lottery ticket though, and no one claims the prize, where exactly does the unclaimed prize money go? 

What happens to the unclaimed cash prizes?

Any cash that isn't claimed after a total of 180 daysfrom a game played in the UK goes to National Lottery projects across the country.

Folks in Ireland have just half that time to claim too, with only 90 days before the prize money is off the table.

Once the claim period is over, the ticket officially expires and the owner of the lottery ticket will no longer be able to claim anyof their winnings.

But after that time has expired, any unclaimed prizes, plus any interest they might have accumulated in that time, are allocated to the National Lottery’s Good Causes fund instead.

This will usually then go on to help fund things like sport programmes or local community buildings or other projects.

They can range from the small to the big aids, like when funding goes towards training up Olympic athletes.

Closer to home though, if you are unlucky enough to miss the 180 day period then unfortunately it's officially gone, and you'll have to retry your luck the next time a big cash prize comes around.

 

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