For most people, the idea of winning the lottery is a dream. The notion of having millions, tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of pounds put into your bank account in exchange for the few pounds that you’ve had to spend on the ticket in the first place is incredible. It is why so many people play the likes of the Lotto, EuroMillions and Set For Life games on such a regular basis. In this day and age, the majority of people will choose to play online, such is the ease with which you can buy tickets or even set up regular ticket purchases using websites of lottery companies.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t buy a ticket in person, however. Indeed, it remains a popular way for many to engage with the National Lottery, whether that be because they enjoy the tradition of buying their ticket in person or they’ve simply chosen to buy one on a whim whilst they’ve been out and about. Buying your lottery ticket online means that it is all but impossible to lose the ticket, only the password to your account that you can reset if needs be. A physical ticket can be lost, however, so what happens if your ticket is a winner but you somehow manage to lose it?
How Do You Lose a Lottery Ticket?
There may be some amongst you who are wondering how on earth you could possibly lose a lottery ticket. Perhaps you have a system whereby you always put your ticket in a specific place at home, for example, or maybe you keep it in your wallet or purse and only take it out when you’re ready to check it. Whatever your personal manner of dealing with a lottery ticket might be, it is worth bearing in mind that not everyone treats their tickets in the same way. Not only that, but even the best system is still vulnerable to issues every now and then, no matter how secure they feel.
Imagine, for example, that your house has been broken into and someone has stolen your lottery ticket from its secure location. Equally, picture a scenario in which you have been mugged and your purse, handbag or wallet containing the ticket that you purchased has disappeared off with your other belongings. It is also not out of the realms of the possible that you’ve put it somewhere ‘safe,’ only to completely forget where that safe location was or a family member has moved it. Perhaps you have a cleaner and they have thrown your ticket away, thinking it to be rubbish.
Can you imagine a scenario in which you’ve left your lottery ticket in your jeans or the pocket of a jacket only for the jeans to be put into the wash or the jacket to be taken to the dry cleaners? It isn’t just a ticket literally being lost that can result in your needing to get in touch with the National Lottery in order to ask them to give you a claim form. Damaged tickets are essentially treated the same as lost tickets, given that the situation regarding them is one in which you are unable to use the actual ticket in order to make a claim direct with the National Lottery.
There are any number of scenarios in which a person can end up losing their lottery ticket, such as taking their wallet or purse out to pay for something and accidentally pulling the ticket out with it. Regardless of the reason, knowing what to do when your ticket goes missing can be a big step towards ensuring that you still manage to claim the winnings associated with the ticket that you’ve bought. It will always be the desire of the National Lottery for the winnings from a ticket to be paid out to the right person, rather than someone who ‘found’ a winning ticket that belongs to you.
Write Your Name on the Ticket
If you are concerned that you might well end up in a situation whereby you have lost a lottery ticket for some reason, the best thing that you can do is to write your name and address on the back of the ticket as soon as you have bought it. Literally, walk over to the counter where you filled in your ticket and use the pen to write your details on the reverse of the ticket. You aren’t going to invalidate provided you fill in your information properly, but you will put yourself in a situation whereby you’ll be able to tell the National Lottery investigators that you did just that.
Obviously it won’t make any difference if your ticket accidentally gets destroyed, but it very much will help if you have bought a winning ticket and you lose it. Firstly, you might find a good samaritan who is willing to return it to you once they’ve noticed your name and address on the back. Failing that, though, it will stop someone else from being able to fraudulently claim that the ticket is theirs if it has your name, address and signature on the back of it when they attempt to take it into the game provider and claim ‘their’ prize that is actually your prize.
The Lottery’s Response to Wins
If there is a big win in the United Kingdom that goes unclaimed for the two weeks, the National Lottery will reveal the location of where that ticket was bought. If you have lost your ticket, you obviously won’t be able to claim any prize associated with it, so a fortnight will pass and the prize will be unclaimed. You will likely see something on the television or hear it on the radio about the prize going unclaimed, though there is obviously no guarantee that you will know that it is your ticket unless you happen to know the numbers that you play off by heart.
The National Lottery will want the winner to be able to claim their prize. Any unclaimed prizes don’t get paid out to lottery staff, after all, instead being put towards good causes. As a result, it makes no difference to members of staff of the company that organises the lottery who gets the money, so they’ll do what they can to ensure that it goes to the rightful owner of the ticket. That is why the big press releases and media song and dance take place, so the second you hear of an unclaimed prize you should check to see if you know where your ticket is and follow the procedure if not.
What To Do If You’ve Lost Your Ticket
Whilst it is natural to think of the big cash prizes worth millions when you think of winning the lottery, there are, of course, countless much smaller prizes that you might still want to claim. Regardless of whether you think you’ve won the lowest prize going or you’ve hit the jackpot, the think that you’ll want to do when you realise that you’ve lost your ticket is to get in touch with the National Lottery and let them know. You need to do this within 30 days of the draw. If you haven’t even noticed it was missing until the post-fortnight announcement, remember you’ll only have 16 days.
The good news is that the National Lottery has a simple claim for that you fill in when you think your lost ticket might have been a winner. You can download it from the National Lottery website, or pick one up from one of the official retailers that exist up and down the country. If you’re in a position whereby you have lost more than one ticket, you simply fill in one claim form for each of the lost tickets. The same process is in place if you’ve got a damaged ticket or your ticket has been stolen, with appeal forms either being emailed to the lottery or sent in the post:
- Player Services, The National Lottery, PO Box 287, Tolpits Lane, Watford, WD18 9TT
The Information the Form Asks For
If you’ve lost your ticket, had it stolen, destroyed or something else has happened to mean that you’re unable to get your prize, you’ll want to ensure that you fill in the claim form that the National Lottery needs from you in order to process your claim to the prize. This form will ask you for specific details in order to verify your claim, which you should fill in as best you can. It is obviously entirely possible that you don’t remember everything, but the more accurate detail that you can give the better when it comes to helping them find out whether they ticket is yours.
The first thing that the National Lottery will want to know is the date and time that you bought your ticket. Again, this might end up being a little vague but if you can remember that sort of information then it will help investigators to narrow down a time period for when they’re looking. Next up, the date of the draw as well as the game that you bought the ticket for will be important information. How many entires for the draw or draws in question did you have on the lost ticket? You might not know exactly, but even if you are aware that it was ‘about five,’ for example, then that will help.
The official claim form also asks what you think happened to the ticket. You can say simply that it was lost, or that you believe that it was stolen or damaged or destroyed. You can then confirm you name, address and other information that might be helpful to the investigators who are likely to look at your claim. If you can remember the location that you bought the ticket, such as the name of the shop, then that will also be really helpful. If you happen to know that it’s got working CCTV then you can let them know about that, too, which will be useful for them to know.
If You Find a Winning Ticket, That Doesn’t Make It Yours
There is an old wives’ tale that ‘possession is nine-tenths of the law.’ Whilst that might work if you’re trying to explain to your child that you don’t have to give them back the chocolate you stole from them, it won’t really cut it if you’ve found a lottery ticket that rather clearly belongs to someone else. If they have written their name and address on the back of the ticket then you can obviously return it to them, either in person if they live close enough or through the post if they don’t. Sadly, though, the majority of people don’t write their information on lottery tickets.
As a result, you should send the ticket to the address listed above that people would send their claim forms to. Make sure that you attach a covering letter explaining that you found the ticket, giving your name and address as well as a contact number and information about where it was that you found the ticket. If you’ve already taken steps to try to find the owner of the ticket, let the National Lottery know about them too. You are extremely unlikely to get a prize for getting the ticket back to its rightful owner, but it is still the right thing to do and you can be comfortable in that knowledge.
Amanda Stacey found a ticket in a supermarket in Wiltshire. Her and her husband, Michael, decided that they would ignore the information about handing it in and instead claimed it as their own. They spent £30,000 on the likes of presents for their children and new carpets, as well as clearing debts. Sadly for them, the actual owner of the ticket, 61-year-old Dorothy McDonagh, got in touch with Camelot to let them know she’d lost her ticket. When the police got involved, Amanda admitted to theft and both confessed to false representation, being given an 11-month prison sentence.