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Powerball winner: Here’s what happens to the money if it goes unclaimed

Tuesday’s sole R232m Powerball winner is yet to claim their prize. But the clock is ticking, and the money will eventually go elsewhere.

(Sugarbloom Bev / Flickr)

South Africa was abuzz with the news that one lucky Powerball winner had scooped the record-breaking R232 million jackpot on Tuesday evening: The prize was the largest in African Powerball history.

But that collective excitement is slowly turning into anxiety. It’s been three days since this anonymous citizen struck gold, but they have not yet got in contact with the National Lottery Commission to claim their prize. The unsuspecting multi-millionaire is yet to come forward, and the ticket won’t remain valid forever.

Like many other South Africans, we’ve been wondering what happens if a jackpot goes unclaimed. We spoke with Busi Koloi – a spokesperson for the National Lottery – who explained how long claimants have to strike it rich before the window of opportunity slams shut.

Phanda, Pusha, Delay – Here’s what happens when a lottery jackpot goes unclaimed

Who is the R232 million Powerball winner and have they claimed their money?

On Wednesday, we learned a bit more about the person who bought the tickets. But apart from their location in Cape Town and how much they spent on the draw, information remains scant. Koloi told us that the commission is doing everything they can to find the nonchalant victor:

“We are yet to hear from the person who won this jackpot. We have been advertising this draw so much, and we’re still calling for more ticket checks and waiting on the winner to come forward. There has been so much hype and media attention here, and the whole of Africa is just sitting and waiting!”

How long does a Powerball winner have to claim their winnings?

According to Koloi, people have exactly 365 days from the date of the draw to claim their winnings. There is no other protocol for those who miss this deadline – if you leave it more than a year, the commission will not recognise your numbers as a winning ticket. So it’s best not to dawdle.

However, there have apparently been some instances of people only speaking up about their winnings just days before the deadline: Some players will put their stakes on once or twice a week, but then only check their numbers every six-to-twelve months. It’s a strange method, but it works for a handful of South Africans.

Where the money goes if no-one claims their lottery winnings

Any money that’s not claimed after a year goes towards the charitable causes that the National Lottery Commission fund. So if no-one comes for this R232 million, that’ll be the donation of a lifetime for the organisation. The money goes nowhere else and is distributed to a wide range of worthy causes.

The last unclaimed Lotto win in South Africa

It happened very recently. Some poor schmuck – who spent R15 on a ticket at a Shoprite Checkers in Parow, Cape Town – failed to claim a R28 million jackpot before the cut-off point of 13 February 2019.

Winners who have not claimed their prizes are urged to contact the lottery offices on 0800 484 822.

Tuesday's sole R232m Powerball winner is yet to claim their prize. But the clock is ticking, and the money will eventually go elsewhere…

What happens to unclaimed lottery tickets?

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — The winner of a $50,000 Powerball ticket in Green Bay is still out there. However, if no one claims it, the Wisconsin Lottery said that money doesn’t just disappear.

If the winner doesn’t claim their prize by July 9, state officials said the money will go into the property tax relief fund in Wisconsin. But state officials add it’s not too common there is an unclaimed prize; only about 1 percent of tickets are unclaimed which equals about $3.3 million every year.

“When I say $3 million in lotto, unclaimed in a year, it’s a small amount compared to the overall larger winnings,” said Kailey Bender with Wisconsin Lottery.

This year the Wisconsin Lottery is expected to reach about $703 million for their fiscal year. This money is divided up and goes toward homeowners relief, winners, retailers, and lottery operations. Bender said to think of it as dividing up a dollar: about 57 cents goes toward prizes; about 30 cents would go toward property relief; about 7 cents to operations; and 6 cents to retailers.

As for the winner of the January 11 Powerball, here are those winning numbers: 3, 21, 23, 31, 59, with a Powerball number of 3. The ticket was sold at Main Street Mini Mart; Bender said they’ll receive 2 percent of the winnings unclaimed or not.

Someone has yet to claim a $50,000 Powerball ticket in Green Bay. ]]>