Market Insider By Peggy Chan 2935 Views

Growing Number of Unclaimed Lottery Millions in Canada

An unidentified player in Guelph has won a Lottery ticket worth a massive CAD $1 million. The winner who bought this ticket has remained unidentified not because he/she requested for anonymity, but because the winnings have not yet been claimed by anyone.

The lucky winner for the ticket—which was purchased for the October 1st, 2018 draw—has yet to step forward and lay claim to the winnings.

Unfortunately, this current incident is not an isolated one as in fact, there are two CAD$1 million Lottery prizes that have remained unclaimed in Canada. However, according to the rules, both sets of prize money will eventually be "prescribed" if not claimed by the rightful holders of the winning tickets.

Typically, the prescription period is generally pegged at 52 weeks and failure to claim one’s winnings within this specified time period will ultimately lead to forfeiture.

Despite the amount of luck required to win the lottery—for example, the chances of winning the Powerball is 1 in almost 175,000,000, which is about 60,000 times less likely to happen than being struck by lightning in a lifetime—a lot of winnings have been forfeited in the past, since they went by unclaimed.

Since Canadians can now play the lottery online from Canada, in 2017 alone, more than CAD$46 million in prize money elapsed its expiration period in Canada alone, according to data provided by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC).

It is almost impossible to think that anyone playing the Lottery would fail to ensure that winnings are claimed, and especially since the prize money typically runs into the millions of dollars. However, the reasons behind why some players never step forward to claim their winnings are numerous.

These reasons could vary and could most likely be anything from forgetting about a ticket to losing the ticket. In some cases, the players even fail to check the winning Lottery numbers for the duration when their tickets were bought. According to the ALC, a large portion of the annual unclaimed winnings are usually made up of multiple smaller wins all summing up to a large total.

Nonetheless, there are instances where large sums of money remain unclaimed by the winner. In Ontario, the largest jackpot to have remained unclaimed was a 2006 CAD$14.9 million Lottery win.

In a bid to curb this problem, theOntario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) OLG has been providing constant reminders to ticket holders. The current move by the OLG is made in order to find the winners of any prize money running into the excess of $10,000. Whilst there is obviously not much that can be done in order to identify the winners of store-bought tickets, the corporation puts in a lot of effort into reminding players to constantly check their tickets. One way the OLG provides reminders is by publishing it in local newspapers in the regions where the winning tickets were bought.

However, despite the numerous various efforts made, some prizes are still never claimed.

Unclaimed money from lotteries are generally deposited back into the various prize pools, and various charities also get a share of the spoils as some of the funds are donated to various charities the Lotteries support.