Apr 4, 2016, 8:03 pm
The Powerball ticket could be at the bottom of a garbage can. Or wedged into a glove compartment. Perhaps it went through the laundry, never to be seen again.
Regardless, the unknown holder of the ticket lost a lot of money. The ticket, purchased in Eau Claire in September, was worth a cool $1 million, but since it wasn't redeemed by the March deadline, the money goes toward property tax relief.
"The winner did not come forward," said Stephanie Marquis, communications director for the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. "I don't know why."
We'll probably never know why the ticket-buyer didn't collect the money. But the most obvious reason is that the ticket was lost, or the buyer never knew it was a winner. The odds of capturing a $1 million Powerball prize are 1 in 5,153,633.
"It's not very common to have a $1 million winner not come forward," said Marquis.
Marquis said the Department of Revenue posted notices that the deadline for redeeming the ticket, which was purchased Sept. 23 from a Kwik Trip in Eau Claire. The deadline for redeeming it was March 21. By law, winners of lotto games in Wisconsin have 180 days to claim their prizes.
Unclaimed winnings are nothing new in Wisconsin.
Since 1997, more than $57 million has gone unclaimed, according to figures supplied by Wisconsin Lottery officials and the Department of Revenue. The amount typically falls between $2 and $4 million annually.
In fiscal year 2015, more than $2.2 million went unclaimed, Marquis said previously. That total included Powerball, Mega Millions, Megabucks, Supercash, Badger 5, Pick 3 and Pick 4 — but not scratch-off tickets.
Most of the unclaimed winnings are due to lost tickets or a disinterest in redeeming smaller cash prizes.
But failing to redeem a $1 million winner is stunning.
"It's pretty rare," Marquis said.
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