Someone has won the Powerball, and they don’t know it.
A Circle K in Slidell, Louisiana sold a $10,000 winning Louisiana Lottery Powerball ticket to someone on February 14, 2015, and no one has yet to turn the ticket in.
Time is running out, because in less than a month, the winnings expire. If not claimed before August 13 at 5 p.m., the $10,000 will be deposited into the Lottery’s unclaimed prize fund, which is returned to players in the form of increased payouts on scratch-off games and player promotions.
Now, if the prize was to be claimed, the winner would get it as a lump sum, but those who win big time have another option before them. They could either choose an annuity, which would provide 30 annual payments that increase over time, or choose to receive it all as a lump sum.
What’s interesting is the fact that this sort of thing happens all the time. About $2 billion in lottery prizes go unclaimed every year. Sure, a lot of people miss out on cashing in their $1 or $5 winners, but — as unlikely as it sounds — more than 300 prizes worth at least $1 million went unclaimed in 2013.
“People don’t even realize there are secondary prizes,” said Brett Jacobson, who developed an app called Lotto Lotto that alerts lottery players if they have a winning ticket.
If someone were to collect all the unclaimed lottery winnings, there are some pretty amazing things that could be purchased with that kind of money. They could get 921 Bugatti Veyron 6.4 Grand Sport Vitesse sports cars valued at $2.17 million a piece, four Airbus A380 Custom planes valued at $500 million a piece, or 2.65 million Big Mac burgers from McDonald’s in Switzerland, where they’re valued at $7.54 a piece.
So the next time you think you haven’t won the lottery, double check. You may have almost thrown away 10 grand, as some poor, unfortunate soul in Louisiana might have done on Valentine’s Day.