MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin Lottery players have failed to claim more than $50 million in prizes since 1997.
According to Appleton Post-Crescent Media, $2.8 million in prize money went unclaimed in the last fiscal year alone – and that’s just for computer lotto games like Powerball. It does not include the winning instant scratch tickets that get thrown away.
State lottery spokesman Andrew Bohage says $2 to $4 million in prizes go unclaimed during a normal year. He says the amount tends to rise when jackpots like Powerball skyrocket. That attracts new players who may not realize there are lots of smaller prizes.
For example, there were 14,144 winners in last Saturday night’s Powerball drawing – and all but two of them won $200 or less. Almost 7,000 of those players won $4 just by matching the Powerball.
Bohage says a lot of people don’t think it’s worth it to cash in such a small prize.
Winners have 180 days to collect their prizes. Whatever is not claimed goes to Wisconsin homeowners for property tax relief.
By the way, Tuesday night’s Mega Millions jackpot is $85 million. Powerball is at $169 million for Wednesday night.