Unclaimed lottery prizes could be yours

Published 01/15 2013 06:34PM

Updated 01/18 2013 10:53AM

SPRINGFIELD -- If you have played the lottery recently, you could be a winner and not even know it. 

There are millions of dollars in prizes the state is waiting to hand out but nobody to give it to. Every month about $2 million goes unclaimed. That means the prize sat too long and expired. Most of the time it's a dollar here or a free ticket there. But there are some bigger prizes too that are still sitting out there. 

Everyone dreams of winning lotto. It could be closer than you think. Hiding in a junk drawer, in a messy purse or even in the trash can. 

Right now there is a $150,000 winning ticket floating around Springfield. It was sold at the Wabash Ave. Shop n' Save last year, and no one has cashed it in.

The Illinois Lottery says most of the time people simply don't know they have the ticket, threw it away or didn't realize it was a winner. Die hard lottery players say it's hard to imagine that happening though. 

Prizes expire after one year if no one comes forward. The money then goes back to the state instead of in your wallet. The Illinois Lottery says big jackpots are rare, but not impossible. A few years ago a $14 million winner went unclaimed. 

The unclaimed ticket in Springfield is part of the Lucky Day Lotto game. There is also a $50,000 prize in Tolono and a $100,000 winner in Lincoln. Those tickets are also from the Lucky Day Lotto. 

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