World Biggest Unclaimed Lottery Prize Expires Today

December 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Lottery News, Lottery Winners

The largest unclaimed lottery prize in the world is due to expire at 23.00 tonight, unless the rightful winner comes forward at the eleventh hour. The unclaimed prize is half of the jackpot for the Euromillions draw on 8th June 2012, which saw two ticket players share jackpot worth £158 / £127 million. The first winner from Belgium has already claimed their half, leaving £63.8 million for the other winner, a UK ticket holder. But, six months on, that winner has still not been found, and is at the risk of losing their prize.

According to Euromillions rules, players have 180 days from the draw date to claim their prize. After that, should the winner not come forward, the prize is distributed into the Good Causes fund. However, all that has been released about the winning ticket holder is that it was purchased from a shop in the Stevenage and Hitchin area, and despite billboards and calls for the winner to come forward, both in the area and at nearby Luton Airport, the winner has so far not been found.

Euromillions organisers are often criticised for not doing enough to help find unclaimed prize winners, especially when compared with the lengths that American lottery organisers go to in order to track down winners. Recently, the owner of an unclaimed prize of $23 million jackpot won on the California Super Lotto was found in California by lottery organisers releasing a CCTV picture of the person who was confirmed to have bought the ticket. The winner was recognised in the picture by her daughter, who then phoned her mother to check her ticket, which had been casually lying in the back of the car, forgotten about! The superb quality image of the winning Californian woman can be seen below:

A picture like this of the Euromillions winner would certainly help identify the rightful ticket owner, should Euromillions be able to pinpoint the exact time the ticket was purchased! However, in the US, most states require lottery winners to go public with their win, which Europe does not. This means the privacy of the winner is protected at all costs – even at risk of the prize. Whether you think Euromillions organisers should be doing more to find the winner is immaterial – as we know for certain that if you play any lottery, it is your responsibility to check your own tickets and claim your own win, not to rely on anyone else to do it for you!