damaged scratch off ticket

Damaged Lottery Tickets

If your ticket or scratchcard barcode cannot be scanned by your local retailer, and there are no visible signs of damage, then you should first ensure there are no issues with the lottery terminal. An employee should be able to advice you on any error messages displayed, or if there is another lottery retailer nearby you can see if you can successfully claim your prize there instead.

The most commonly reported damages are:

  • Rips and Tears – tickets can get caught in bags or pockets causing the numbers or barcode to become torn.
  • Water Damage – typically caused by a trip through the washing machine. This can be more severe as the ink can run making the text unreadable, or in worst case scenarios the ticket will be destroyed completely.

If your ticket has been lost or stolen rather than damaged, then you can get more information on what to do next here.

How to Claim Prizes

Even if your ticket is damaged or destroyed, you may still be able to make a valid claim by filing an appeal within 30 days of the draw date.

You will need to provide the following information:

  • The date, time and location where the ticket was purchased.
  • The game e.g. EuroMillions or Lotto, and draw date, the ticket was purchased for
  • The date you believe a prize was won
  • How many entries you purchased and the numbers included in each
  • How you think the ticket was damaged/destroyed

The appeal can be sent via post or email.

Postal Address

Player Services Department
The National Lottery
PO Box 287
WD18 9TT

Email Address

If requested, you may also be required to send the damaged ticket to the postal address above. It is advised that you do so using a recorded service.

Keep Your Numbers Safe

You can avoid any worries by entering lotteries online, as then entries cannot be lost, stolen or damaged. If you win a prize, you’ll be notified via email so that you never miss out on a claim. Find out more about playing online.

Folding your ticket, or writing your signature as proof of ownership, should not cause any damage. It is recommended though that you avoid placing your signature over the barcode.

Please note, the Health Lottery state in their terms and conditions that they do not pay out prizes for damaged tickets.

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Players must be 18 or over to participate in online lotteries.

The content and operations of this website have not been approved or endorsed by Camelot UK Lotteries Limited, the National Lottery Commission, SLE or People’s Postcode Lottery.

Find out to do if your winning lottery ticket or scratchcard won’t scan, or has been ripped, washed, or otherwise damaged. Appeals for claims on damaged tickets must be made within 30 days of the draw date.

Damaged Lottery Tickets

You may still be able to claim prizes with a damaged lottery ticket or scratchcard, even if the retailer cannot scan the barcode. There’s a strict process in place for claiming prizes with damaged tickets – find out exactly how it works on this page.

To find out what happens if you lose a lottery ticket or you believe a winning entry has been stolen, see the Lost Lottery Tickets page.

How to Claim a Prize With a Damaged Ticket

If you have bought a lottery ticket from a retailer, it is your responsibility to keep it safe and come forward to claim any prizes you win. The National Lottery is not obliged to pay prize money out if a ticket cannot be validated, and rules state that entries must not be mutilated, altered, incomplete or unreadable.

If your lottery ticket won’t scan but looks undamaged, you should query the matter with the retailer. They may be able to resolve the issue or give you advice, and they always have to return a non-winning ticket if you ask. The next course of action is to submit a claim to the National Lottery.

You must submit claims no later than 5.00pm on the 30th day after the winning draw date for a claim to be considered.

Any investigation into the validity of your claim is undertaken at the discretion of the National Lottery, but if you fail to appeal within 30 days of the draw you will not be considered. There are a couple of different ways to claim:

Claims must be made either by post to:

Player Services Department,
The National Lottery,
PO Box 287,
WD18 9TT

Or by email to: [email protected]

You can download a ‘search form’ – where you answer various questions about your ticket so that the National Lottery can carry out a search of their official records based on the information you provide. Alternatively, you can email or write your own message, but it must include the following information:

  • The date and exact time where you bought the ticket
  • The location and name of the store where you played
  • The name of the game, for example EuroMillions or Lotto, and the draw date(s) the ticket was valid for
  • The draw date on which you believe a prize was won
  • How many entries you bought and the numbers selected
  • What has happened to the ticket

You should include as much specific information as possible to help the National Lottery. If it is decided that the details you have provided are useful enough for an investigation to be launched, the National Lottery will look into whether your claim is valid.

If your claim is deemed to be valid, you may receive the prize after the 180-day claim period for that draw has come to an end. If someone else comes forward in the meantime and they are in possession of the winning ticket that is under investigation, they shall be regarded as the rightful winner subject to passing their own validation checks.

Play Online to Keep Entries Safe

A guaranteed way to keep your numbers safe is to take part online, as there is no paper entry that could get ripped in half, destroyed in the washing machine or accidentally thrown in the bin.

When you play online, you don’t have to remember to check the results as you will be notified by email if you win. You will be paid out automatically in most cases or informed how you should proceed if you need to claim your prize in person.

Damaged lottery tickets may still be used to claim prizes, even if the barcode cannot be scanned by a retailer or has been torn. Find out what steps you must take here.