$11 Million Goes Unclaimed in Louisiana

Louisiana state lottery players may be turning down a big payday, without even knowing it. According to Louisiana lottery officials, nearly $11 million went unclaimed in the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Prizes for draw style games, such as Mega Millions and Powerball, must be claimed within six months. After that six month period, wins are forfeited and the money is returned to the state lottery.

Bo Bernhard, executive director of the International Gaming Institute at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, has theorized that most of these unclaimed prizes stem from players losing tickets, or simply not checking them. People who see that they missed the first few numbers might throw the ticket away without bothering to check for smaller wins.

Most of the unclaimed prizes are smaller wins; however there are currently large prizes that are very close to being forfeited, such as a $3 million winning Mega Millions ticket, purchased at Murphy Express in Denham Springs, which must be claimed by October 7.

The odds of matching all six numbers in the Powerball or Mega Millions are slightly more than 1 in 175 million.

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Australian Lotto Pool Wins $1.5 Million

Three warehouse workers from Werribee, a suburb of Melbourne, have been buying lotto tickets together every week for 12 years. This week they won a $1.5 million share of the TattsLotto $22 Million Superdraw.

One of the three men checked the winning numbers on Monday night for the Saturday drawing and couldn’t believe the results. He first shared the good news with his wife then immediately went to tell the other guys in person.

Each of the three men will get a half million dollar share of the prize. All of them say their plan is to pay off their mortgages, buy new cars, take their wives out to celebrate, and then use the rest to invest in their retirement.

There were 14 winning tickets in total for the $22 million Superdraw with the winning numbers 1, 19, 45, 34, 17 and 32. The supplementary numbers were 38 and 22. The trio purchased their 12 game quick pick in Hoppers Crossing.

The warehouse syndicate has chosen to remain anonymous and will not release their names to the press.

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Cancer Survivor Gives Back

Nick Ruth, 19, claimed a $250,000.00 Mega Millions win this past Monday, September 24th. His take away after taxes ended up being about $165,000.00.

The youngMarylandresident plans to use his newfound wealth to give back to some of the organizations that helped him and his family when he battled childhood leukemia–including Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Believe in Tomorrow, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which sent him and his family on a cruise.

Nick has been in remission for five years. He plans to keep his current job as a dishwasher at a bar in Towson, MD but has aspirations of joining the police force.

Erica Palmisano, a spokesperson for theMarylandlottery told reporters, “He’s a nice young man. He’s a hard worker, and he’s a cancer survivor willing to give back, so he’s really an exceptional winner, and we’re thrilled that he won.”

Nick had been purchasing lottery tickets twice a week since the day he turned 18.

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Pregnant With Luck

The birth of a baby is always a blessing, but for one family inNorwaythe blessings associated with these babies have been even greater. As luck would have it, Hege Jeanette Oksnes, 29, has had three children in the last six years and, each time, a family member has won the lottery.

The most recent lottery win was Hege’s brother Tord, 19, who won 12.2 million Norwegien kroner in the Norwegian National Lottery last week.

Prior to Tord’s win, Hege herself won a jackpot of 8.2 million kroner just 2 days before the birth of her second child. In 2006, just a day before the birth of her first child, Hege’s father Leif won 4.2 million kroner in the lottery.

Each of the wins took place when Hege was pregnant or had recently given birth, and two of the three lottery wins happened within hours of her babies being born.

Hege has three other brothers who have yet to win the lottery and are encouraging her to keep having babies. “They’re urging me to have at least 10 children,” she said.

The Oksnes family, who live nearBergenin southwestNorway, have used a random quick pick selection for each of their lucky wins and say they really don’t play the lottery very often. When asked the secret to their luck, the answer was obvious: “Getting pregnant!”

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Odd Numbers Drawn, 98 Split the Cash

On Tuesday, August 28th, the winning numbers drawn in the Florida Fantasy 5 game were a sequence of odd numbers, 1-3-5-7-9. A total of 98 players played those exact numbers and they will have to share the prize money. Only one of the tickets was a Quick Pick. Each winner will end up taking home $1,995.32.

Florida Lottery representative Shelly Safford said that 1-3-5-7-9 is the second most picked set of numbers, after 1-2-3-4-5. Because people regularly play numerical patterns and birthdays, jackpots are often split when winning numbers are all under 31.

Fantasy 5 jackpots usually range from $50,000.00 to $250,000.00, depending on the numbers of winners. Prior to this win the highest number of winners to share a jackpot in the current version of the Fantasy 5 game, where players pick 5 of 36 numbers, were 47 winners who each won about $4,500.00.


Massachusetts Man Makes Million Dollar Mistake

A mistake made by a Massachusetts Lottery clerk paid off for Richard Brown of Taunton, Mass.

Brian Salinas, the manager of the Valero gas station in Taunton, was busy stocking cigarettes when Brown asked for his usual $5 Blue Ice 7’s scratch-off lottery ticket. The distracted convenience store worker handed him a $5 Sizzlin’ 7’s ticket instead. Salinas quickly realized his mistake and offered to exchange it for the correct ticket, but Brown decided to test his fate.

When Salinas saw the picture of Richard Brown in the newspaper, he discovered that the ‘wrong’ ticket was a $1,000,000 winner. Brown chose to receive his winnings as one lump sum and will be taking home a total of $650,000 before taxes. A Massachusetts lottery spokesperson reported that Brown intends to use this money for home renovations and a vacation to San Francisco.

“I’m kind of happy about that, to know someone actually won a million dollars,” Salinas said. “He can go out and buy himself a new vehicle take care of bills and his family.”

Salinas’ mistake also proved to be good fortune for the owner of the convenience store, as he will be receiving a $10,000 commission from the winning ticket.

The odds of winning the $1,000,000 prize on a Sizzlin 7’s ticket are estimated at 1 in 4,200,000.


British Winners Change Lives With Prize Money

Chris and Colin Weir won a £161,653,000 Euromillions jackpot in December 2011, the largest jackpot in European history. The couple from Ayrshire, Scotland, has since become well-known for their charitable donations.
The Weirs have donated £50,000 to a young talented artist to fund his continued education in Italy. They’ve paid for a young boy’s prosthetic leg when he lost his to cancer. Now, the Weirs will pay for a life-changing operation for a four year old little girl named Isabel Wallis, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy.

Isabel’s parents, Kate Horne and Rory Wallis, had been trying to raise funds for the past six months to pay for a surgery that will hopefully enable Isabel to live without having to use a wheelchair. When the Weirs heard about Kate and Rory’s efforts, they offered to pay for the surgery which is now scheduled for November in America. The £15,000 Isabel’s parents have already raised with the help of family, friends, and coworkers will go towards her physiotherapy and rehabilitation post-surgery.

The amount the Weirs are donating for the surgery had not been disclosed but they have said that they “hope that the operation will give Isabel the chance of an active life. We wish her well.”


Lucky Swedish Winner Walks Away With $100,000.00 Prize

FreeLotto.com Awards 2nd $100,000.00 Jackpot in Sweden This Year

Anders Svensson, 57, from Kristdala, Sweden has recently won $100,000.00 from FreeLotto.com. He discovered the website in February of 2011 and quickly became a F.A.S.T. subscriber electing to have his self-selected numbers automatically played in six daily drawings, seven days a week.

When Svensson received his first prize installment of his $100,000.00 jackpot win, he told the FreeLotto Prize Team, “I don’t consider myself a lucky guy…15 months after I started I got lucky.” He may not have considered himself lucky but Svensson actually won small cash prizes ten times before he hit the jackpot. He donated the $1.00 prizes to a handful of different charities that participate in FreeLotto’s Click2Give program including: ACTION for Child Protection, Cancer Treatment Research Foundation, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Child Welfare Fund International.

Though he hasn’t yet decided how he will spend the prize money, Svensson and his three kids, 19 year old triplets, are very excited. “This win isn’t going to change anything, really, but me and my children can now spoil ourselves a little more,” Svensson said.

Earlier this year another player from Sweden, Johan Wallen, also claimed a $100,000.00 jackpot prize from FreeLotto.


Lucky Summer For One Maryland Resident

Maryland lottery player Donald Cole III, 52, has beaten the odds on four separate occasions this summer alone. His first win came on June 26th, when he bought a $20.00 Big Money Mega Play scratch off ticket at the Shell gas station in Olney, Maryland, where he buys lottery tickets almost every day. That ticket was worth $50,000.00. Cole was stunned and very happy with his win -previously he had only won small prizes. His second big win came only a month later on July 25th, when he won another $50,000.00 on a $20.00 Silver & Gold scratch off ticket purchased from the same gas station where he purchased the first winning ticket. This time, the store manager, Zack Lakhani, was more excited than Cole was.

The chances of two jackpot winning tickets being sold from the same store were “something like 20 million to 1,” said Cole, and that’s not factoring in the odds of both tickets being sold to the same person. Carole Everett, Director of Maryland Lottery Communications said, “We get lots of winners, but to win two $50,000 prizes in less than a month is truly unusual.”

Cole didn’t stop after two jackpot prizes. He and his wife, Cheryl, both continue to buy tickets almost every day. This month, Cole has had two winning Pick 3 tickets each worth $500.00. That brings the total of his prizes won this summer to $101,000.00.

Cole plans to donate a portion of his winnings to animal rescue organizations. With the rest, Cole plans to treat himself and his wife to whatever catches their eye. “I bought a $125 door knocker in the shape of a crab, just because I could,” Cole said.


U.K. Teen Wins £1 Million in EuroMillions Olympic Draw

Olympic TorchA nineteen year-old, from Hampshire, England, is one of 100 lottery players to have won £1 Million in the EuroMillions Olympic Draw. The lucky teen was sitting in a pub with his parents watching the Olympic opening ceremonies when he remembered he had purchased a ticket for the Euromillions Olympic Draw and checked the results on his cell phone. He was completely stunned when he read the results. What was already a memorable night turned into an unforgettable one.

Euromillions officials are still waiting on 21 additional winners to come forward and claim their £1 Million wins. The drawing was a record breaker for the Euromillions lottery, beating the past recoded of 25 millionaires created in one night on December 23rd of last year. A lottery spokesperson encouraged players to “check their tickets to help us push this record even higher.”


Big Cash Win for Mom-to-Be

Pregnant belly wins JackpotDana Harchuck, pregnant with her second child, was spending the day with her mother and aunt when she picked up the winning scratch ticket. They were driving away from a Brooklyn convenience store when Dana scratched off the word “LIFE” on a Win for Life ticket and started screaming. Both Dana’s mother and aunt were worried she had gone into early labor and were ecstatic to find out she was not in labor but had in fact won a lot of money.

Dana will receive 19 annual payments of $520,000 and an additional payout of $120,000. She plans to use the money to support her family including the newest member due in August. She also hopes to take a long vacation in Tahiti.


Record Breaking Powerball Win Claimed 7/21/12

Jackpot winnerIowa Lottery officials were waiting a few weeks for the winner of the $241 million Powerball jackpot to come forward. The winning ticket with the numbers 7, 10, 14, 33, 57 and Powerball 18 belongs to a group of Quaker Oats factory workers. The pool is made up of 18 men and two women who all work in the shipping department of the factory. The reason they waited to come forward is because they are fighting to keep their last names out of the press. It is possible that the group could remain anonymous if the injunction they have filled with the court is deemed legal.

Iowa attorney general Tom Miller and Iowa Lottery CEO, Terry Rich, believe the winner’s names should be released to the public. “It is our position that they should be made public, and we’re giving them what we believed is rights under the Iowa Code to have the chance to go to court and cite something different.”

The $241 million prize is the largest Powerball jackpot ever won in the state’s history and the 15th largest Powerball jackpot ever.

The pool has chosen the lump-sum cash option worth $160.3 million before taxes, and each winner will receive roughly $5.6 million after taxes. At least 11 of the 20 have said they plan to retire as soon as they receive their share.


North Carolina Man’s Lottery Winnings Multiplied to $1 Million

Filling out a Lottery ticketFrank Castillo is a seafood salesman in Surry County, North Carolina who recently matched all five balls in a Mega Millions drawing on July 20, 2012. Getting all five numbers correct would usually win someone $250,000, but because Castillo paid an extra dollar for the Megaplier option, his winnings were multiplied to $1,000,000.00.

Castillo verified his win at Jonestown Family Fare, the store where he had initially purchased the ticket in Winston-Salem. When the clerk told him how much he had won, Castillo nearly fainted. He hadn’t realized that his win would be multiplied four times. “I’m still pinching myself,” Castillo told the North Carolina Lottery Representative.

The cash payout ends up being approximately $680,000 after taxes. Castillo plans to use the money to pay off outstanding loans on his house and car. He also plans to start his own business and begin saving for his children’s college educations.


Friday the 13th Turns Out Lucky for Retired Navy Submarine Sailor

Harold Million FreeLotto FastCash winnerHarold Miller, 65, has been playing the same set of numbers since 2010, a compilation of his family’s birthdays. On Friday, April 13th, Miller matched 6 out of 6 and won a $10,000.00 cash jackpot on FreeLotto.com, an online lottery style sweepstakes.

Miller has been a long time daily player of the free game. For nearly a month after he won, he continued to play the game daily but did not bother checking the winning numbers from the previous day’s drawings. On May 9th, Miller sat down at his computer and remembered that it had been a while since he last checked the winning numbers, so he visited the FreeLotto results page. Lucky for Miller he did because he had less than a week left to claim his prize.
“Not in my wildest imagination did I believe that I would win,” Miller told the Prize Team, “I had to look at it twice!” Miller immediately picked up the phone to call his wife and together they shared the good news with their fourteen children, eight of whom are adopted. The whole family is very excited.

The Millers have incurred some debt moving their family from the Philippines and both have had to continue working part time at Nellis Air Force base since retiring. “A real relief,” is how Harold Miller described the win. It will enable him to pay off some debt and afford a second car for the family.