Always get your tickets checked! Ontario couple JoAnn and Gaetan Champagne collected their Lotto Max win thinking it was just $50,000. It turned out to be $50 million.
That tiny ticket you've just collected from the lotto store could be worth millions.
So why do most players casually tuck it into their purse or a household jar and disregard it until the play date comes round?
Every ticket should be treated as being a potential jackpot winning IOU from the lottery organisation, until proven otherwise.
So here's a few tips about treating your ticket right:
TIP #1. You can write on your ticket without worry. Do you circle or highlight the numbers on your lottery ticket as they are announced in the draw? Do you worry it might affect your chances when you hand the ticket in to claim your prize?
Don't worry - the store lotto machine only scans the barcode on your ticket, not the numbers or anything you may written on the ticket above the code.
TIP #2. Write your name on the back of a winning ticket as soon as you can. This gives you legal ownership in case of it being stolen. Each time I visit my local lottery store to check my tickets, I slip a pen into my pocket for that reason so I can complete the legal signing immediately.
By signing the back of your Lottery ticket, you make the ticket officially 'yours'. Only the person whose name matches the signature on the ticket may claim its winnings.
TIP #3. Double check your tickets by machine. The couple above thought they had won $50,000 on Lotto Max. Instead, it was actually $50 million.
Get your tickets checked at a lottery scanner machine at your lottery story to make doubly sure, even tickets which haven't won. It's possible you could miss a valuable number by mistake.
Tip #4. Buy your tickets within the deadline. It took only 7 seconds for a Montreal lottery player to lose the $27 million jackpot on his ticket. He had the correct numbers in the old Loto-Quebec Super 7* jackpot, and his ticket was correct in every detail.
Except one. He bought it too late. In fact, 7 seconds too late. And of course he lost. He took the matter to court, but so far the lottery has refused to settle the case. Always check the cutoff time for your lottery so you don't have this problem.
Tip #5. Never iron your lottery tickets. If you mistakenly screwed up your tickets then wondered if you had checked them, don't apply any heat to straighten them out - the tickets will turn black in most cases and be void and useless.
They turn black because the tickets are actually made from thermal paper – the same found in till receipt machines. This means that tickets are printed by applying heat to the paper rather than ink, and heat will also destroy them.