How long can I wait to claim my lottery prize?
Although not everyone knows it, most lotteries have a maximum time limit to claim a prize. Find out how long you can wait to collect your prize without missing the deadline.
Although it may seem incredible, it happens more than we imagine: in the history of the lottery, there are several anecdotes of millionaire prizes that have never been claimed. Some of the most famous were the £64 million Euromillions prize won in Hertfordshire, U.K., which, after 180 days of waiting and campaigns to find the winner, was declared void on December 5, 2012. Also popular was the case of the $77 million Powerball won in Georgia, US, which expired in December 2011 after its winner failed to appear.
Like these, there are hundreds of other similar stories, in which winners failed to claim their millionaire prizes after the deadline expired. So much so that it is estimated that, depending on the lottery, between 30 and 70% of the prizes are never claimed.
But what can lead a new multimillionaire to miss out on his or her prize? There are many reasons: the most common is that the winner has lost his or her ticket, is unaware that he or she is the winner, or is simply unaware of the deadline for claiming the prize.
That's right: most lotteries have a maximum time limit to claim a prize after announcing the winning numbers. Let's find out what they are, so that the same thing doesn't happen to you in case you are the new lucky winner!
As we already know, the famous European lottery Euromillions is played in several countries at the same time. And, in each of these, it is regulated by the corresponding national lottery administration, which is the one that manages the deadlines to collect the prize in each country. Thus, the deadlines may vary depending on the country where your ticket comes from:
- 60 days: France and Luxembourg
- 90 days: Spain, Belgium, Ireland and Portugal.
- 180 days: United Kingdom and Switzerland
- 3 years: Austria
Powerball and Mega Millions
Similar to what happens in the case of Euromillions, also in US lotteries such as Powerball and Mega Millions, the deadline to claim a prize varies according to the State where each ticket comes from.
This period can last up to 90 days (3 months) or up to 1 year, depending on each State. But, in addition, the winner must take into account that these deadlines may also vary depending on how he/she wants to collect his/her prize. In many cases, if the winner wants to collect the prize in a single payment, the deadline to do so is up to 60 days (2 months) after the date of the drawing. But after that time, you can only claim the option to collect it in installments.
Here is the list of the deadlines for each of the States:
- 90 days: New Mexico
- 180 days: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Washington DC, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Virgin Islands and California (smaller prizes).
- 182 days: Maryland
- 1 year: Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and California (jackpot only).
In the case of the famous Italian lottery, the calculation of the deadline is simpler, since all players, regardless of where they bought their tickets, have a single period of 90 days (3 months) to claim the prize after the date of the draw.
La Primitiva, Quiniela, Bonoloto, El Gordo and National Lottery
For all these Spanish lotteries, which are administered by Loterías y Apuestas del Estado, the deadline is also the same: 90 days (3 months) to claim the prize after the date of the draw.
Also in the case of the German lottery the prizes do not last forever: after the drawing where the winner is announced, the winner will have a period of 13 weeks to claim the prize.
As in the case of Euromillions, the European Eurojackpot lottery is also played in several countries of the continent and, in each one, the deadlines and rules to collect the prize are different.
Thus, depending on the country where your ticket comes from, you will have the following deadlines to collect it:
- 30 days: Spain, Italy (prizes between 1 and 10 million euros) and Latvia.
- 35 days: Czech Republic and Slovakia
- 60 days: Croatia, Italy (prizes less than €1 million), Lithuania and Poland
- 90 days: Denmark (prizes under 200 Kr), Estonia, Norway, Slovenia and Sweden
- 180 days: Hungary
- 1 year: Denmark (prizes over 200 Kr), Finland, Iceland and the Netherlands
- 3 years: Germany and Italy (jackpots over €10 million)
In the case of the famous Brazilian lottery Mega-Sena, both for its normal year-round draws and for its special Mega da Virada (or Mega-Sena da Virada) edition, the deadline to claim a prize after the date of the draw is 90 days (3 months).