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NJ Lottery Unclaimed Prizes: Are You An Unsuspecting Millionaire?

Here’s how to check if you have a winning NJ Lottery ticket, Brick.

    Karen Wall , Patch Staff

Are you a millionaire that doesn’t know it?

According to the NJ Lottery’s 2014 Annual Report, there were about $39 million in “forfeited prizes” last year, the same as 2013.

So how do you find out if that old ticket in your wallet is worth a million dollars?

“Winning ticketholders from draw games such as Pick-3, Pick-4, Jersey Cash 5, CASH4LIFE, Pick-6, Powerball and Mega Millions, have one year from the date of the drawing to claim their prize,” NJ Lottery spokeswoman Judy Drucker told Patch.

The expiration date for instant games is slightly different, Drucker said.

“Due to the ongoing release of instant games, there are no predetermined dates for a game end. … Claimants have one year from the game end date to claim an instant ticket prize,” Drucker said.

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According to the NJ Lottery website, there are a significant amount of unclaimed instant win game tickets floating around. The lottery’s most recent tally of unclaimed instant tickets includes:

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  • $5 Million Cash Extravaganza – two $5 million tickets
  • Holiday Gold – one $1 million ticket
  • Double Diamond Spectacular – three $2 million tickets
  • $2 Million Mega Cash – seven $2 million tickets
  • Super Cash Spectacular – nine $250,000 tickets

WHERE DO THE UNCLAIMED PRIZES GO?

“Expired prizes fund the unclaimed prize reserves and may only be used to fund either future prizes or state contributions,” Drucker told Patch. “So, even if a prize goes unclaimed by the ticketholder the money still goes back to the public through additional prize offerings or to benefit the good causes and institutions funded by the Lottery.”

“The State Lottery Law requires that prizes not claimed within one year from the date of the drawing for machine games and within one year from the date of the game’s closing for instant games be forfeited. Effective November 21, 1991, the Commission authorized that 70 percent of forfeited prizes are to be maintained restricted for prize awards and are available to augment future prize awards or, at the discretion of the executive director, to augment the Division of State Lottery’s contribution for state aid for education and state institutions. The remaining 30 percent goes directly to contributions to aid education and institutions to be consistent with the 30 percent minimum contribution requirement of the State Lottery Law.”

NJ Lottery Unclaimed Prizes: Are You An Unsuspecting Millionaire? – Brick, NJ – Here's how to check if you have a winning NJ Lottery ticket, Brick.

Your Old Lottery Scratch Off Tickets Could Be Worth Millions

I admit that I’m a procrastinator which sometimes manifests with a small collection of New Jersey Lottery scratch-off tickets that haven’t been cashed in yet.

Today, I learned the hard way that they do expire.

When I went to get lunch at the Beachwood QuickChek, I figured I’d bring the tickets with me. I thought if it wasn’t too busy maybe it could pay for my lunch with my small hoard.

When the clerk scanned them, though, they were all expired and now worthless.

I was only out a few bucks, but hey, free money is free money, right?

While it was disappointing to lose a few bucks, don’t let yourself lose considerably more than just lunch money.

According to the New Jersey Lottery, there are millions of dollars out there in scratch-off tickets whose games have ended but the tickets haven’t expired yet.

You have a year from the time that the games end until the tickets expire.

When you take a look at the NJ Lottery’s page of ended (but not yet expired) scratch-off games, you can see that there are hundreds of tickets out there that are worth $100 or more, including at least 4 one-million dollar tickets.

There’s even one unclaimed “Win for Life” scratch-off ticket that pays the winner $5,000 a month for life out in the wild.

Here are the million dollar tickets and when they expire:

  • 1,000,000 Spectacular – Expires 2/4/2020 (that’s tomorrow, everybody!)
  • Million Dollar Multiplier – Expires 4/29/2020
  • 50x The Bucks – Expires 7/28/2020
  • 1,000,000 Lucky 7s – Expires 11/3/2020

The Win For Life ticket, by the way, expires on 4/29/2020.

You can click here for a full list of the New Jersey Lottery’s ended but not yet expired scratch-off games. Click on the individual games to see when they each expire.

There are millions of dollars worth of ended but not yet expired New Jersey Lottery scratch-off tickets out there! ]]>