So You Lost Your Lottery Ticket – What Now?

Believe it or not, lottery prizes worth billions of dollars go unclaimed every year. Take the Oregon Megabucks lottery as an example: In 2015 alone, the game logged $5.9 million in unclaimed prizes.

Sure, most of the time, prizes go unclaimed simply because people don't bother checking their numbers. However, sometimes it’s a more serious and difficult situation: lost lottery tickets. Yes, it happens. So what should you do when you lose yours?



Next Draw Closes In:

Mega Millions

Next Draw Closes In:

Can You Win with a Lost Lottery Ticket?

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Different lotteries have different rules. But many have one rule in common: they'll tell you that they're not liable for lost tickets. If you lose your ticket, that’s on you — and the lottery isn't responsible for paying out on lost tickets.

But some lotteries (like the UK’s National Lottery) can make exceptions. Players who lose their tickets can lodge an appeal no longer than 30 days from the relevant draw. To prove that you own the ticket, many of these lotteries will ask you to correctly identify when and where you bought it. If possible, you can help your case by telling lottery officials the numbers you played. Finally, it’ll also help if you remember what other items you bought along with the ticket.

Here's the catch: an appeal is not a 100% guarantee that you’ll get your winnings.

Do Appeals Work?

Of course, there have been successful appeals.

Kathryn Jones - lost her winning lottery ticket

In 2012, for example, there was Kathryn Jones. The Toronto resident was the first ever winner to have been successfully identified by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s claims investigation process.

The winning ticket for the November 30, 2012 draw was bought at a Shoppers Drug Mart in Ontario, Canada. The winner would have been CAD$50 million richer.

The only problem? No one came to claim the prize!

Once word got out that nobody had claimed the jackpot, people bombarded the Ontario Lottery with claims. Funnily enough, Kathryn Jones was never one of those people. She didn't know she'd won! Jones had lost her ticket and forgotten about it.

Kathryn Jones receiving her prize

With 435 claims on their plate, Ontario Lottery officials decided to hunt for the rightful winner. Their search ultimately led to Kathryn Jones in 2013—but that was only the beginning.

Having identified a possible winner, the Ontario Lottery now needed to conduct a thorough verification process. They interviewed Jones, dug up credit card transactions, and even reviewed surveillance footage from the store!

Finally, in January of 2013, Kathryn Jones received her prize.


Play The Lottery Online!

How Do You Keep Your Lottery Tickets Safe?

Not everybody will have Kathryn Jones' luck, though. And not all lotteries will exert as much effort as the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation!

Prevention remains your best bet. If you don't want to chance a lengthy appeals process, follow these tips to secure your ticket:

  • Put your ticket somewhere it won't easily get lost, like a folder, box, or even a safe
  • Don't keep your ticket in your pocket for long periods of time
  • Sign the back of your ticket as soon as you get it

Careful storage protects your tickets from severe damage. The rules vary from lottery to lottery, but in most cases, you probably can't claim your winnings with a torn and drenched ticket that took a spin in your pants pocket on laundry day.

As for signing the back of your tickets, this helps prove that you own the tickets! Your signature won't guarantee that you'll get a lost ticket back, but it will keep strangers from cashing in on your loss. Otherwise, anyone can just pick up your unsigned ticket, sign it themselves, and laugh all the way to the bank!


Next Draw Closes In:

Mega Millions

Next Draw Closes In:


  1. I threw my pick 3 ticket in the garbage and found out I had won. if I know the date and time that I bought it can I go back to the store and they pull it up and give me the number on the ticket ?

    1. Unfortunately, they cannot. That’s bad luck. Always store your ticket or take a picture of it using the camera, after you sign it.

    1. Lost my lottery ticket for Sunday May 17 2020 mid day 1142 can anything be done about it pllease.

  2. Appreciate all the help given in locating this ticket .Reward to be given if the ticket has what might be worth a large sum.

  3. I purchase a Mega ticket from bruces Liquor store in Norwalk Ca., and misplaced or lost it .The ticket had numbers and letters printed on it. They were 949unknown last three letters,can you help me.

  4. Hello i brought my ticket from sainsburys Bridgnorth friday evening date 27/12/2019 but ive lost it. I remember looking up the winning numbers on the lottery app early hours saturday morning not sure but about 3am to 5am and i had a look at the results and because i use my birthday numbers and the date of my children which mine first 1-7-19-20-29-48 and my kids are 13-twins-23-my oldest- and 2nd son 28-then mine again 29- and 4. Ive been recovering from operations and need 3 more so i take alot of morphine pain killers which makes me have a bad memory but even so i have search all day and i cant find my ticket. I did my Birthdays and my childrens and also a Lucky dip. I remember there was 2 numbers 1-7 i think but i have know idea about the Lucky Dip.

      1. I lost my winning # of today which was 7081 at the 711 on Chelmsford st Lowell..I got proof by their camaras..Can some one Help.

      2. Hello, I have lost my lottery ticket and I was trying to see if it was still able for me to cash it seeing how I have the “PAY TO BEARER” receipt and the “OHIO LOTTERY CLAIM FORM”

  5. I bought a ticket for the Idaho lottery. I can’t seem to find it but I’ve registered the number on the app if that counts for anything?

  6. i am working in a liquir store on 8th sep i bought a tucket it worth 1000$ after that i took 2 pictures at the same time.after that i leave that ticket in my friends car because i m busy so after 2 days i check my ticket its not there somebody stole my ticket what should i doo i can tell date & time when i bought that ticket i have pictures also&a camera recording.too so can i claim that ticket please tell me.i just want to know who stole my ticket.

  7. I bought four tickets for the powerball tomorrow and the clerk accidentally handed me my old tickets back and threw away my new ones! What do I do if my numbers win? I have the old ones and know when and where I bought the tickets.

  8. Hi I lost my ticket scratcher or it was stolen
    I Just won 2500 dollar on a 20 tick
    I signed it took pictures and the number will also correspond to where it was bought in OJAI

    I also have pictures front and back and barcode

    What do I do

    1. Hi Veronica. Since you signed your ticket, you won’t have to worry about someone else claiming your prize. Your best bet now would be to visit your nearest California Lottery district office and provide as many details of the winning ticket as you can. Also make sure you bring the pictures you took with you. Alternatively, you can also reach their Security & Law Enforcement department by calling 800-568-8379.

      If they determine that your ticket is in fact a winner, they’ll assist you in claiming your prize. The actual ticket, on the other hand, might be lost forever.

      Hope this helps, and best of luck to you!

  9. I just one in KC and lost my ticket it’s 50 million I thought maybe I got it wrong but its been almost weeks and nobody’s came forward I no that was the winning ticket I can’t sleep all I keep doing is looking for that stupid ticket. I screwed myself right?

    1. Hey Jeremiah, keep looking for that ticket! Otherwise, check if there’s any other proof of ownership you can use. Good luck.

      1. Hi My Name is Reginah Thembi Tshoko on the 1 st of August i won R2100 i Played the following numbers at Sepels Best bet at Vereening The number i Have Played was as follow 10.15.21 I Didnt See My Number came when I Google It was lunch Time UK Lottery I have Destroy the Ticket until i found out I have won.The following Day i Went at Sepels early in the morning I Thought they Will Check on Reprint I was Told i need to Go to Police Station and make affidavity and bring ID Copy and i Must right on the Affidavity My Story and its going to Take 3 month. I went to Police Station i was told after submitting My Affidavity they are Going to Fax Them to there headoffice I waited and waited i Even went to check how is it Going Any news before That 3 month i was told 3 month is not finish yet. Today I went cause its full 3 month one of the Lady told me My case it ended just like that it was not attend because i Dont have a Valid Proof but On the affidavity i wrote everything the time when i Play the Cashiers name so I dont Understand what is Going On Pls Assist Me

    1. Hey Sean, that really depends on the lottery operator. The receipt is solid proof of purchase, though, so it can only help!

    1. Hi, Rakia. Your lottery operator might still be able to do something with that barcode! It’s best to stop by their closest office and ask.

  10. what happens if I lost my lottery ticket or it was stolen but, i have proof of purchase and also pictures of it on my phone, plus its signed on the back with name, address and number. ???

    1. Hey Luis, that depends on your lottery operator! Like we said, there are no guarantees. But you seem to have more than enough evidence for an appeal if you decide to file one.

  11. Hey I lost my mega millions ticket and the guy cashier took my information and finger print. Now I’m curious cause I purchased an ticket at deptford liquor store mega millions at that. Thanks

    1. Hey, Mia! That’s odd. You shouldn’t need to hand over information like your fingerprints. It’s best to go straight to your state lottery commission’s office and talk to officials there about your missing ticket. Hope that helps!

  12. I had a casino 8 scratch off ticket and it was a winner over 120,000 and should my brother put it up then went home as soon as I got home I was so happy with tears so I immediately wanted to show my roommate but was disappointed cause it was there I know he stole it his name is Richard Albert Diaz but goes by Ricky Diaz and my name is Stacy Diaz l

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