During these times of austerity and the “cost of living crisis” (as the Labour party have dubbed it) in the UK, one of the most frustrating and head-shakingly maddening pages on the internet must be Camelot’s list of unclaimed lottery prizes – literally millions of pounds going unclaimed that could change people’s lives.
November 2013 saw a £12 million lottery prize seemingly go unclaimed, second only to the £64 million Euromillions prize which went unclaimed in December 2012. It spurred GBGC to research just how much goes unclaimed in lottery prizes.
Looking at data from 1999 to 2013 there is a curious consistency in the amount of money that is unclaimed at the time of reporting (winners have 180 days to claim a prize, so a prize could be deemed “unclaimed” at the time of reporting but then a winner subsequently comes forward).
Even as total lottery ticket sales have fluctuated over the 14 years under review, the amount of unclaimed prizes remains within the range of 3% – 4% of available prizes.
After 180 days unclaimed prizes go into the pot for good causes, helping to fund a variety of projects – some worthy, others somewhat woollier in their benefits to society. Lottery players should have a duty not to let their rightful winnings fall into this pot.
One is put in mind of the late George Best: “I spent a lot of money on booze, birds, and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.”