Your Stories: Did you know scratch-off tickets can expire?
Posted: Jan 2, 2017 / 06:33 PM EST / Updated: Jan 4, 2017 / 02:00 PM EST
Scratch-off lottery tickets are a popular gift to give around the holidays, but one NewsChannel 9 viewer went to cash in his tickets and was told they were expired and couldn’t be redeemed.
While there isn’t a standard expiration date like you see on food products, the back of every scratch-off ticket does say “all cash prizes must be claimed within one year of announced end of game”.
So how do you know when a game ends?
You can click here to find the instant game reports page.
On the instant game reports page you can look up your game and your game number which is found on the back of the scratch-off ticket.
Players have until the listed cash deadline to claim any prizes.
Newschannel 9 did find that holiday specific tickets have deadlines that approach faster than your staple, all year-round ticket.
For example, a “Baa Humbucks” ticket that was purchased a year ago was found to be expired when it was checked on the game reports page.
A look at an “Instant Take 5” ticket which was purchased a year ago is still open, according to the lottery site, so you would have at least another year to cash it in.
If you have a question for the Your Stories team, give us a call at 446-9900, or e-mail us at [email protected]
Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.Scratch-off lottery tickets are a popular gift to give around the holidays, but one NewsChannel 9 viewer went to cash in his tickets and was told they were expired and couldn’t be redeemed.
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Staying Anonymous After Winning the Lottery
All good things must come to an end, so they say, and that includes winning lottery tickets. The state agencies that regulate lotteries and other forms of gambling will set expiration dates on when the ticket can be redeemed. Keep the ticket safe, and whatever you do, turn it in on time.
If you win a smaller amount in a lottery drawing, you can claim your prize at the store or outlet where you bought the ticket. If the winnings are more than $600, in most cases you must redeem the ticket through the state lottery agency. Most convenience stores do not carry a large amount of cash, and any win over $600 needs to be documented on a Form W-2G for federal tax purposes. There’s also a deadline involved, set by state law.
Lottery tickets expire, and state law sets the time frame. This can range from 90 days to a year. Some lottery tickets will carry this information in the fine print on the back. Others don’t, but you can always access this information through the lottery agency website. In Minnesota, for example, the expiration date is one year from the date of the drawing. For scratch-off tickets, the deadline is one year from the official end of the game. Minnesota’s lottery website posts a list of the current lottery games and the number of unclaimed prizes in each.
The Fate of the Unclaimed
If you buy a lottery ticket, sign it immediately and keep it safe. If the ticket is lost or stolen without a signature, then anyone who finds it can turn it in. If a prize goes unclaimed, then state law sets down the next step. Either the lottery agency returns the money to the cash pool for another game, or turns the money over to the attorney general of the state. A multi-state lottery will return the money to each state lottery agency in proportion to their ticket sales.
Strange as it may seem, a healthy number of winning lottery tickets do expire. According to a CNN report, $800 million in lottery money never found its legitimate owner in 2011, out of nearly $40 billion in total prize money. A common reason is that many lottery players don’t realize they’re holding “secondary” winners, which matched some, not all, of the numbers. Another reason may be that the news of a jackpot winner in another state discourages people from even checking their tickets for the smaller prize. Unclaimed jackpots, understandably, are rarer.
Does More Lost Than Won at Casinos Affect the IRS? →
What Is the Tax on Lotto Winnings in California? →
Are Lottery Annuity Payments Transferable? →
- Powerball.com: FAQ
- Minnesota State Lottery: Unclaimed Prizes
- CNN Money: $800 Million in Lottery Prizes Go Unclaimed
Founder/president of the innovative reference publisher The Archive LLC, Tom Streissguth has been a self-employed business owner, independent bookseller and freelance author in the school/library market. Holding a bachelor’s degree from Yale, Streissguth has published more than 100 works of history, biography, current affairs and geography for young readers.All good things must come to an end, so they say, and that includes winning lottery tickets. The state agencies that regulate lotteries and other forms of gambling will set expiration dates on when the ticket can be redeemed. Keep the ticket safe, and whatever you do, turn it in on time. ]]>