A missing lottery winner from Texas could soon lose out on the fortune of a lifetime if they don’t act quickly.
On January 1, someone in the League City-area bought a Texas state lottery ticket that matched all six numbers for the winning jackpot. The lucky winner is holding onto a ticket worth $12 million, but has only hours remaining to claim the prize before it’s lost forever.
The Texas Lottery Commission allows winners just 180 days to claim prizes, otherwise any money won is forfeited. With the ticket being sold on New Year’s Day, that means the person has until July 1 to come forward and claim the prize.
State officials are urging people to check old tickets to see if they match the winning numbers — 15, 17, 43, 45, 47 and 50.
“We encourage our players to take another look at their ticket, check the numbers again and if your numbers match, sign the back of the ticket and contact us,” said Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas Lottery, in a press release.
Lottery officials say unclaimed prizes are an all-too-common occurrence. Over the last two decades there have been $837 million in unclaimed prizes that ended up going back to the state.
There is already one big winner from the lottery ticket, however. the South Shore Shell gas stations where it was sold has already gotten its prize, with the state commission awarding a check for $121,385.34 back in March.
The story is similar to another strange lottery tale. Recently two men from New York sued the New Jersey Lottery after they accidentally threw away a $1 million winning ticket thinking it was worthless. The men filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the state lottery failed to “quickly post the accurate winning numbers from the March 23 drawing online.”
The men claimed they checked the website shortly after the 11 pm drawing, then threw away the ticket when they saw it didn’t win. By the time they realized the results were outdated and that they had indeed won $1 million, the ticket was long gone.
There could be one ray of hope for the missing lottery winner in Texas. The state’s lottery commission grants exemptions to the 180-day policy for people who are gone on military duty. So if there is someone stationed out there holding onto a ticket they bought on New Year’s Day, they might want to get acting on it.