$14M in lottery money left unclaimed every year


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Every year, Tennessee winners lose out on millions of dollars in prize money because they do not come forward to claim their winnings.

The Tennessee Lottery reports around $14 million is left unclaimed annually, and the money is donated to after-school programs across the state.

“The lottery encourages players to check their numbers soon after the drawing,” spokeswoman Kym Gerlock wrote in an email. “It’s easier than ever to see if your ticket is a winner with the lottery’s new phone app (TN Lottery). You just scan your ticket to see if it’s a winner.”

Depending on what game you play, there is a different deadline to successfully claim your money.

If you win on a drawing-style game, not scratch off, you have 180 days from the date of the drawing to claim your prize.

For scratch off tickets, you get 90 days from the end of that game to claim your prize.

Many people miss out on smaller winnings because they assume that not hitting the jackpot means the ticket did not win.

For example, right now there are 15,041 winning “Hot $100s” tickets with a prize of $100.

There are two $3 million “$3,000,000 Mega Cash” winning tickets that have not been claimed. Read more here.

At the Shell Station on Smith Springs Road near Nashboro Village, a lot of people stop in to buy their lottery tickets.

Thaddeus Frazier told News 2 he plays the Powerball twice a week. He has not won yet but is hopeful.

“I have high hopes,” he said. “I know at some point I will win it. I go in with a positive note. If not, it is not worth playing.”

Frazier said if he wins the Powerball he plans to set up his children financially and travel the country in a Winnebago.

The Tennessee Lottery also has a “Play It Again!” program, which allows you to re-play non-winning instant win tickets for a second chance.

Jason Dietrich won $1 million by entering his losing ticket into the system.

To play “Play It Again!” you visit TNVIPsuite.com and become a VIP Players Suite member, which is free.

The Tennessee Lottery has raised more than $3.7 billion for education programs in Tennessee since it started in January 2004.Click here to learn how to claim your winnings.

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