CHART: Just how many lottery prizes go unclaimed?

In August, Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway’s office released a report on the Missouri State Lottery Commission. The audit reviewed the state lottery’s internal controls, efficiency of certain management practices and compliance with certain legal provisions. In those areas, the lottery’s performance was rated as “excellent.”

The performance of lottery winners when it comes to collecting their prizes, however, is something less than excellent.

Buried within that report on the state lottery commission is a figure showing unclaimed lottery prizes over the last several years. The lottery had more than $18 million in unclaimed prizes in 2018, which marked the third time in four years that unclaimed winnings eclipsed $15 million. That total was a slight decrease compared with $19.7 million in 2017.

The agency retains prize money if the winner does not claim a prize within 180 days.

According to the lottery’s financial report for fiscal years 2017 and 2018, unclaimed prize money “fluctuates considerably from year to year, depending on the timing of Scratchers game closings and the unpredictability of prizes going unclaimed.”

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