- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 4, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - More than $2 million was left on the table by Wisconsin residents who had winning lottery tickets but failed to collect their cash in fiscal year 2015, state lottery and financial officials said.

Preliminary figures show that $2,230,267 went unclaimed during the fiscal year that ended June 30, said Stephanie Marquis, communications director for the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. That total includes winning tickets for popular games like Powerball and Mega Millions, as well as Megabucks, Supercash, Badger 5, Pick 3 and Pick 4. But it doesn’t include scratch-off tickets

According to data provided by the Wisconsin Lottery and the Department of Revenue, more than $57 million has gone unclaimed since 1997, Post-Crescent Media (https://post.cr/1E6caJE ) reported. Each year, the amount typically fell between $2 million and $4 million.

But those unclaimed winnings aren’t lost. They go toward property tax relief in Wisconsin, showing up as a gaming credit on property tax bills.

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 aren’t interested in redeeming smaller cash prizes.

Leroy Schneidewendowner owns Cellars Wine & Spirits in Neenah and has been selling lottery tickets for more than 20 years. He said he’s not surprised by the extent of the state’s unclaimed winnings, because many customers toss lotto tickets if they don’t win the jackpot, causing them to miss out on intermediate cash prizes.

Although Schneidewendowner’s store has a device that allows customers to scan lottery tickets to see if they’ve won, he said there’s still some confusion.

“I had one customer tell me (a ticket) was a $25 winner and it was actually a $500 winner,” Schneidewend said.

Although the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 175,223,510, players can collect lesser prizes for matching some of the six winning numbers.


Information from: Post-Crescent Media, https://www.postcrescent.com

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