Millions in Lottery Winnings Go Unclaimed

The New York Times has an article today about the millions, and we do mean millions of lottery winnings that go unclaimed. In fact, if you won the Connecticut Classic Lotto from Valentine’s Day of last year, you’re now out of luck. Goodbye, $3.5 million.

The could-have-been club boasts a surprisingly large roster, with dozens of hefty jackpots left unclaimed around the country in recent years. There was $14 million in Illinois in 2005. In 2002, $4.6 million went wanting in Massachusetts. That same year, nobody stepped up to take $51.7 million in Indiana — apparently the largest forgone prize on record.

The article goes on to tell the sad tale of Clarence Jackson, who brought a winning lottery ticket in a few days late and has been trying to collect ever since…with no success.

“Mr. Jackson, who lives in Hamden and could not be reached for an interview this week, told local newspapers back then that he had been distracted by caring for his sick father, who owned the floor-cleaning business where he worked. By the time Mr. Jackson realized he had the winning numbers, it was 11:45 p.m. on a Sunday night and he figured lottery headquarters would be closed. The next day was Columbus Day, a holiday, so he thought it was impossible to contact a state official.

Poor Mr. Jackson. If you people play the lottery, check your tickets! Its bad enough to throw away one dollar on a ticket, don’t throw away millions.—MEGHANN MARCO

Millions in Lottery Prizes Go Unclaimed [NYT]