Watch Out For Lottery Cut-off Deadlines That Could Rob You Of Your Prize

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Ronnie Martin and wife Shirley won their $1 million-dollar Mega Millions prize with an old fortune cookie. PHOTO: NJ Lottery

Deadlines don’t mean much when you’re using a fortune cookie to choose your lottery ticket numbers.

Longtime lottery enthusiast Ronnie Martin played the numbers he found in a local restaurant’s fortune cookie years earlier, and bought three Mega Millions tickets.

To his surprise, the Long Pond, Pa., resident won a chunk of the July 24 Mega Millions $543 million jackpot with the long-expired prediction.

You can’t delay the deadlines for claiming your tickets in the same way. And they are vastly different for the lottery and scratch cards.

Two brothers from central New York claimed a $5 million scratch-off ticket from a game 6 YEARS earlier. They had just 11 days before the cut-off point to claim it for the "$500 million Extravaganza" game.

While most lotteries like Mega Millions and NY Lotto expire up to one year after the draw, scratch-off tickets usually expire a year after the game is retired. But always check with the game’s organizers first.

It's important to have your tickets checked as early as possible.

READ MORE: For more information on ticket deadlines and checking, see these posts: