Millions In Lottery Prize Money Is Never Collected Each Year Because Of Lost Tickets

Lucky! Cathy and Dave Seiden found their lost ticket in time to claim the $1 million Mega Millions jackpot from the Illinois Lottery. PHOTO: Chuck Berman/Chicago Tribune

Cathy Seiden bought the ticket at her regular Jewel-Osco in nearby Woodridge, something she said she does every couple of weeks.

She gave the ticket to her husband, and they forgot about it until one of Cathy's co-workers told her that a winning ticket was sold at that Jewel.


"She called me right away and was like, 'We've got to find that ticket,'" Dave Seiden said.

The pair proceeded to "tear the house apart" for the ticket, which they still did not realize was a winner. They found it mixed up in some papers.

More than $2 million was never collected in 2015 by Wisconsin lottery players who threw out their tickets, or simply forgot to collect their prizes.

And more than $57 million has been lost in this way since 1997 in the state, and it's a familiar story for many other lotteries too.

Lottery officials have said they believe many of the winning lotto game tickets were accidentally thrown in the trash or tucked into pockets and forgotten.

They said some players may toss their tickets because they didn't win the jackpot and weren't interested in redeeming smaller cash prizes.

But there is an answer. An app called "Lotto-Lotto" makes sure that you will never miss another winning ticket again.

Brett Jacobson created the app which allows users to check tickets for every lottery in the United States. All you have to do is take a picture of the lottery ticket and the app does the rest.

The app allows you to see the drawing date, numbers, and results of the submitted lottery tickets as well as the lottery game.

The app even tells you the closest location to accept your winnings and track results of previous lotteries.