$250,000 lottery ticket goes unclaimed in Virginia

Matching five of the six numbers for a lottery jackpot is no small feat — only one ticket in Virginia accomplished that on Dec. 23 and now the $250,000 prize is out of reach for the unlucky winner.

The ticket owner’s claim for the prize money expired Wednesday, six months after the drawing.

The cash that goes with the ticket, purchased in Virginia Beach in December, will not go to waste. The Virginia Literary Fund, a division of the state’s Department of Education, receives unclaimed prizes as donations.

Typically, prizes never claimed are for just $2 or $5, Virginia Lottery spokesman John Hagerty said, but a couple times each year, they can be worth $100,000 or more.

In fiscal 2011, more than $10 million in Virginia Lottery prizes went unclaimed, including three $250,000 prizes.

The largest-ever unclaimed prize in Virginia, worth $11.6 million, was a ticket purchased at the Virginia State Fair. The winner’s claim to the jackpot expired in March 2003.

Winning tickets expire in 180 days.While people sometimes try to claim the prize after a ticketexpires, the only exception made is if the ticket holder is deployed on active duty with the military.

In Maryland,unclaimed prize fundsmust be spent on lottery players, so they often are repurposed as new prizes, according to the Maryland Lottery. Estimates of how much money is left unclaimed were not available.

In the District, unclaimed prizes wind up in the general fund, said Buddy Roogow, director of the D.C. Lottery. This could amount to between$3 million and $4 milliona year, he said.

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