iowa lottery second chance

Iowans get second shot a $1M lottery prize

Winning ticket sold in Central Iowa was never claimed

CLIVE — Iowa Lottery officials believe in second chances — at least for winning prize money that went unclaimed.

Over the past year, lottery officials issued repeated reminders to Powerball players to check their numbers to see if they won a $1 million prize in an April 2018 drawing on a ticket purchased at a store in Nevada in Central Iowa.

No one came forward to claim the prize by last week’s deadline. So the yearlong wait is over and lottery officials announced plans Monday for a spring promotion aimed at giving away the prize — marking the first time they believe a $1 million prize went unclaimed in the lottery’s 34-year history.

“Iowa law makes clear that unclaimed money from lottery prizes goes into our prize pools for future games and promotions,” said Iowa Lottery Chief Executive Officer Matt Strawn, “and that’s exactly what we’re doing with this one-time, $1 million giveaway.”

In an effort to ensure the unclaimed prize money makes its way to a new winner, Strawn announced that from May 29 through June 18 Iowa Lottery players will be able to enter a promotion called the “Woo Hoo A Million For You Giveaway” for a chance to win the prize.

Any Powerball ticket purchased in Iowa during that three-week period will be eligible for entry. The drawing for the promotion’s $1 million prize will be held June 19, he said. Details and the promotion’s rules will be available on the lottery’s website at

When a jackpot prize in Powerball expires without being claimed, the money is returned to the states in the game in proportion to the percentage of sales that came from each state, Iowa officials noted. But because the $1 million prize that expired was at Powerball’s Match 5 level, the entire $1 million will remain in Iowa to be given away as a prize.


The $1 million prize was won in the Powerball drawing April 11, 2018, with a ticket purchased at Casey’s, 1800 S. B Ave., in Nevada. It came close to winning that night’s $89.7 million jackpot, matching the first five numbers but missing the Powerball. The winning numbers that night were: 16-18-27-55-67 and Powerball 18.

The winner or winners had until 4 p.m. April 11 to claim the $1 million prize at lottery headquarters in Clive.

Casey’s received a $1,000 bonus from the lottery for selling the ticket.

In fiscal 2018, more than $1.4 million in lottery prizes went unclaimed in Iowa.

Players in Iowa have up to 365 days from the date of the drawing to claim prizes in Powerball, Mega Millions, Lucky for Life and Lotto America. Players have up to 90 days from the date of the drawing to claim prizes in the Iowa Lottery’s Pick 3, Pick 4 and InstaPlay games. If the expiration date falls on a weekend or holiday when the lottery’s offices are closed, the winner has until the close of business on the next business day.

Since the lottery’s start in 1985, participating players have won more than $4.3 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $1.9 billion for state programs.

Iowans get second shot a $1M lottery prize Winning ticket sold in Central Iowa was never claimed CLIVE — Iowa Lottery officials believe in second chances — at least for winning prize money

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October 30, 2020

Player Question: Do I Need To Keep My Ticket After I Enter It In the Promotion?

We’ve gotten the same question from a few different players about our “Winner Wonderland” promotion, so I’ll answer it here to give the details to everyone. And, while the question is specifically about the holiday promotion, the specifics apply to any ticket you’ve entered into a promotion through your VIP Club account.

The question is pretty basic: Do I need to keep my ticket after I enter it into the promotion? As in, will I need to present that ticket to claim any prize I might win in the promotion?

The short answer is no, you don’t need to keep the ticket. Here’s the backstory: Entering an eligible ticket into one of our promotions meets the requirement of presenting that ticket to the lottery. So, you do not need to keep the ticket after entering it to claim a prize through the promotion. That detail is spelled out in the rules for the Winner Wonderland promotion, but I’m happy to provide the info. here as well.

Only nonwinning scratch tickets from this year’s eligible holiday-themed games can be entered into Winner Wonderland, but if you ever enter one of our promotions that involves tickets in lotto or InstaPlay games, be sure to check the results of the tickets themselves before you discard them. If you win a cash prize on the ticket itself rather than in the promotion, you would need to present the ticket to the lottery to claim that prize.

Good luck on your Winner Wonderland entries, and thank you for playing!

October 05, 2020

‘Winner Wonderland’ Promotion Has Started Today, With $640,000 In Prizes

The biggest prize pool ever offered in one of our holiday promotions is up for grabs in our “Winner Wonderland®” promotion that just opened for entries today.

The promotion features 181 cash prizes totaling $640,000, including a grand prize of $250,000. We’re applying the “max bet” concept in the promotion, meaning that the size of the prize players can win increases along with the purchase price of the scratch ticket they’ve entered.

Players could start making entries in Winner Wonderland at 9 a.m. today, and the promotion runs through early January, with its final drawing date on Jan. 7.

Players can enter the promotion using non-winning tickets in the 13 holiday-themed scratch tickets we’ll have available this year. Tickets in six of those games started sales last week, and they’ll be followed by five more on Oct. 5 and the final two on Nov. 2.

In each of the promotion’s three initial drawings, 60 prizes will be awarded: 20 prizes of $500 from among the $1 and $2 entries; 20 prizes of $1,000 from among the $3 and $5 entries; and 20 prizes of $5,000 from among the $10 and $20 entries.

The initial drawings will be on Nov. 5, Dec. 3 and Jan. 7, with the $250,000 grand-prize drawing also on Jan. 7.

Entries will not carry over from one drawing to the next, except for the grand-prize drawing.
All entries submitted over the course of the promotion that are not selected as a winner in one of the initial drawings will automatically be eligible for the grand-prize drawing.

November 20, 2019

Player Mail: Do I Need To Keep The Tickets I Enter In The Holiday Promotion?

As the entries continue to climb in the “Ho Ho Dough” promotion, we’ve gotten the same question from numerous players: Do I need to keep the tickets after I enter them in this promotion? The short answer is no, you don’t need to keep them.

When you successfully enter an eligible ticket in the holiday promotion, the entry itself provides the information we’ll need in the Ho Ho Dough drawings. And if one of your entries is selected as a winner in a Ho Ho Dough drawing, you won’t need to present the ticket you entered in the promotion to claim your prize. The entry itself will serve as the record involved.

Years ago, people did have to keep the actual tickets they entered into our promotions, but with advances in technology, we’ve been able to update our process to make it easier.

Good luck in the promotion to everyone who has entered!

October 22, 2019

Lottery App: The Results Screen For Winning Tickets Is Now Green

We’ve made an update to our lottery app after a player suggestion that we change the results screen that comes up when a winning ticket is scanned.

Back in May, we updated our app so it displays the prize amount when you use it to scan a winning ticket. The results screen for both winning and nonwinning tickets at the time was yellow, but a player reached out and said he thought the screen for winning tickets should be green. (I’m guessing the choice has to do with the color of money, right?)

We did the behind-the-scenes work on the app, and I’m happy to let you know we’ve come through with it: The results screen for winning tickets is now green! It definitely draws a distinction between winning and nonwinning tickets, helping to make it even more obvious when you’ve won a prize!

If you already have our app (it’s called the Iowa Lottery’s LotteryPlus) on your device, there’s nothing you need to do to receive the update. It happens automatically, so you already have the new feature available. If you don’t yet have the app, feel free to install it from the Google Play Store® or Apples iTunes Store® as appropriate for your particular device.

In addition to the details about what you’ve won, you can also use the app to enter tickets into our promotions and learn details about our games and the locations where you can buy lottery tickets in Iowa.

Thank you for playing, and we hope you like the change to our app!

October 11, 2019

Player Mail: What About The Odds In Your Holiday Games?

Now that our holiday-themed scratch games have hit store shelves for the year, we’ve gotten a couple player questions about the number of prizes available in them and the odds of winning those prizes. I always tell people that lottery players pay attention to detail – and our player mail has proven that point!

One player noticed that holiday games don’t have as many top prizes as our regular games and wondered why. That’s because our holiday-themed games by design will only be on the market for a short period of time while many of our other games are sold for a year or more.

We order smaller quantities of tickets in our holiday games, which means there will be a smaller number of prizes involved. The key point, however, is that the odds of winning in our holiday-themed games are in line with those in our other games, and that’s what matters when it comes to the chance of winning a prize.

“Crossword” games are a perennial favorite for scratch players, so let’s compare the “$30,000 Holiday Crossword” game that’s available right now with the “Bonus Crossword” game. They’re both $3 versions of Crossword, and they have the same overall odds of winning: about 1 in 3.52.

That’s also the case with the $2 “Nutcracker Bingo” holiday game and the $2 “Wild Bingo” game. The overall odds of winning are the same in both: about 1 in 3.34.

Then there are the folks who tell us they like our non-holiday games and want to see them come back. Well, guess what? They will! Our holiday-themed games will only be on the market until early January, and then our other games will cycle back onto store shelves when the holidays are over.

The folks in our Storm Lake office say that it’s snowing there today, so I guess it IS starting to look like winter in Iowa!

October 07, 2019

Holiday Promo Starts Today! 93 Cash Prizes Totaling $200,000 On The Line

You’ve asked us to give you plenty of time to have a shot at winning cash for the holidays, so our holiday promotion this year is starting today! We’ll give away 93 cash prizes totaling $200,000 in our “Ho Ho Dough” promotion, with six drawing dates between now and early January.

We’re applying the “max bet” concept to this year’s promotion, meaning that the size of the prize you can win will increase along with the purchase price of the scratch ticket you’ve entered.

You can enter the promotion using nonwinning tickets in the 11 holiday-themed scratch games we’ll have available this year. Tickets in nine of those games are already in stores, and the final two games debut Nov. 4.

The promotion’s entry period began at 9 a.m. today and the first drawing date is two weeks from now, on Oct. 24. We’ll hold three prize drawings that day: one for five prizes of $1,000, one for five prizes of $1,500, and one for five prizes of $2,500.

The drawing for the $1,000 prizes can be entered with nonwinning tickets in our $1 and $2 holiday games, while nonwinning tickets in our $3 and $5 games can be entered in the $1,500 prize drawing, and nonwinning tickets in our $10 holiday games are eligible for the $2,500 prize drawing.

That same process will apply to the rest of the promotion’s preliminary drawings, through Jan. 9. Any entries that don’t win a prize in the preliminary drawings will remain eligible for the grand-prize round.

The Ho Ho Dough grand-prize drawings will be held on Thursday, Jan. 9. Again, the max-bet approach will be involved, with grand prizes of $10,000, $15,000 and $25,000 on the line in the applicable categories.

To enter the promotion, you’ll need to join or already be a member of our free VIP Club. And remember that you can enter by scanning your tickets on our app or through the VIP Club website.

Here’s the entire Ho Ho dough drawing schedule and the prizes that will be awarded:

September 27, 2019

Our VIP Club Newsletter Went Out Early & Here’s Why

August 20, 2019

Congrats To Our 3rd Silverado Winner

July 03, 2019

New Supply Of Tickets Added To Our ‘Silverado’ Game

Our “Silverado” scratch game is officially a summer hit – so much so that we’ve ordered more tickets in it!

The Silverado game went on sale here in Iowa on May 6 and it’s selling quickly. You likely know that the game is tied to our “Summer of Silverado” promotion where we’re giving away trucks and cash prizes in drawings that run through mid-September. But within the game’s first month of sales, five of its top prizes had already been claimed and with its tickets selling so fast, we were afraid the supply wouldn’t last as long as our promotion!

So, we placed a re-order. There now are more Silverado tickets available to purchase and that also means there are more prizes to win! You may have noticed that the total number of top prizes in the game went up this week from the initial eight to the current 11. That’s due to the additional tickets that have been added to the mix. The prizes at the game’s other prize levels (ranging from $5 up to $1,000) also increased, but it’s the top prizes that generally catch the most attention.

Click here to see the list of remaining prizes in Silverado, our other scratch games, and our InstaPlay and pull-tab games.

So, game on! Thanks for playing, and good luck with your lottery tickets.

June 24, 2019

Iowa Co-Workers Celebrate $1 Million Win

Eleven members of the Cedar Rapids office pool sharing the $1 million prize in the “Woo Hoo A Million For You Giveaway” had fun celebrating today as they claimed the group’s winnings!

An Anamosa woman made the winning entry into the promotion on behalf of her office pool at Collins Aerospace in Cedar Rapids. The 34 co-workers in the office pool who call themselves The Dream Big Team each received about $29,000 before taxes.

Click on the video above to see the team members tell their story!

From May 29 through last Tuesday morning, lottery players could enter the Woo Hoo A Million For You Giveaway with any Powerball ticket they purchased in Iowa during that three-week timeframe. Players made a total of 165,265 entries into the promotion.

Laurie Ginder purchased the ticket that became the $1 million-winning entry at Casey’s, 500 E. Main St. in Anamosa. Casey’s will receive a $1,000 bonus from the lottery for selling that lucky ticket at one of its stores.

May 29, 2019

Only In Iowa: Powerball Players Have Chance At $1 Million Prize

Now is your chance: For the next three weeks, Powerball® players in Iowa can enter a promotion for a shot at a $1 million prize.

Any Powerball ticket purchased in Iowa from today through 8:59 a.m. on June 18 can be entered into the “Woo Hoo A Million For You Giveaway.” After the three-week entry period, we’ll hold a drawing on June 19 to determine the winner of the promotion’s $1 million prize.

Call it our version of recycling! Back in April, a $1 million Powerball prize expired in central Iowa without being claimed. Someone bought that ticket at a Casey’s store in Nevada for the Powerball drawing on April 11, 2018. But the prize was never claimed, so it expired on April 11 of this year.

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time a $1 million prize has ever gone unclaimed in Iowa. We repeatedly called attention to the prize to try to find the winner, and now we’re dedicating our efforts to ensuring that this prize money finds its way to a new Iowa Lottery winner.

This is a truly Iowa-made effort: Our leadership team at the Iowa Lottery thought through how we could give away this $1 million, one of the district sales representatives in our Cedar Rapids office came up with the promotion name, and only Powerball tickets purchased in Iowa can be entered into the promotion for a shot at the prize.

Please note this important detail: Simply buying a Powerball ticket during the next three weeks won’t automatically enter you into the promotion. You have to be a member of the lottery’s free VIP Club and enter your ticket in your VIP Club account to be entered. Click here for a direct link to the VIP Club homepage where you can find details about joining if you’re not already a member.

You’ve heard us say many times that the money from lottery prizes that expire without being claimed in Iowa goes into our prize pools for future games and promotions. Well, this big unclaimed prize gives us the chance to demonstrate that!

Each eligible Powerball ticket entered will count as one entry into the promotion, regardless of the number of plays on it or how many drawings the plays may span.

The lottery retailer that sells the promotion’s $1 million-winning ticket will receive a $1,000 bonus from the lottery. That also was the case with the $1 million ticket in Nevada: Even though it was never claimed, Casey’s still got a $1,000 bonus from the Iowa Lottery for selling that ticket at one of its stores. Our retailers work hard every day to sell our tickets, and this is one more way we can thank them.

We know that Iowa has faced some really challenging weather-related events this year, and folks in a large swath of our state are still finding their way through those difficulties. Maybe the buzz surrounding this unclaimed prize mystery and new promotion can give us all a short break to think about something else – and then as Iowans, we’ll get back to work to ensure our state recovers. And the Iowa Lottery will keep doing its best to raise proceeds to help with vital state causes right here at home.

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