One Iowa Lottery player’s luck might run out soon.
A $1 million Mega Millions ticket will expire on Sept. 6. As of this writing, the ticket remains unclaimed. The winner has less than a week to claim their $1 million payday.
The unclaimed ticket was purchased at The Filling Station in Ames. The ticket matched five white ball numbers: 6, 17, 46, 59 and 68, missing just the No. 2 Mega Ball.
Unclaimed lottery tickets no stranger to Iowa
Those winning $250,000 or more playing the Iowa Lottery cannot remain anonymous because of tax reasons. Winners can create a trust under a different name, however. If you’re a big winner and want to keep your name hidden in Iowa, do not sign the ticket. Contact a lawyer or financial advisor to help you set up a trust.
“If you build it, they will come” is the famous quote from the movie, “Field of Dreams,” about a baseball diamond being built in the middle of an Iowa cornfield. It seems that sentiment doesn’t always apply to lottery winners. There are currently more than 100 unclaimed Lottery tickets in the state.
A Powerball ticket bought at Floyd Food & Fuel in Sioux City won $150,000 last year. To date, nobody has claimed the winnings. The ticket expires on Oct. 30.
Similarly, a $150,000 winning Powerball ticket was purchased on Nov. 5, 2022, at a Hy-vee in Sheldon. That ticket also remains unclaimed.
Perhaps the juiciest “story,” quite literally, is this: Story County played host to Iowa’s first-ever unclaimed ticket worth $1 million or more. Should the unclaimed Mega Millions ticket expire on Sept. 6, it will be the second time a Story County winner failed to claim a $1 million prize.
Lottery is big in Iowa
Iowa boasts various gambling platforms, including sports betting and retail casinos. Even with competition, the Iowa Lottery consistently performs well in the state. In Fiscal Year 2023 (July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023), the Iowa Lottery saw record-breaking numbers in numerous categories:
- Total sales: $481.5 million
- Proceeds for state causes: $108.2 million
- Prizes for players: 305.3 million
- Commissions to participating businesses: $31.3 million
Despite Iowa’s significant growth, it’s still among the bottom third of states that offer lotteries. This has led some to speculate that Iowa could boost its lottery performance with the introduction of online sales.
Iowa’s biggest lottery jackpot winners
Iowa lottery players have been lucky in the past. Unlike the mystery Story County winner, many Iowans have come forward to claim massive prizes. Here are a few of the biggest winners from the state:
- Redfield’s Lerynne West won $343.9 million playing Powerball in 2018
- In 2012, The Shipping 20 (a group of co-workers at a Cedar Rapids plant) won $241 million playing Powerball
- Also in 2012, Brian and Mary Lohse nabbed a $202.1 Powerball jackpot in Bondurant
- The year 2006 brought Fort Dodge’s Tim and Kellie Guderia a $200.8 million Powerball payday
Why are so many Powerball wins in Iowa? The simplest explanation is that the odds of winning a Powerball prize are slightly better than Mega Millions.
How to claim winning tickets in Iowa
To avoid leaving your prize unclaimed, it helps to know how you can claim lottery prizes in Iowa. For draw games like Mega Millions or Powerball, prizes under $600 can be claimed at any participating lottery retailer.
Prizes between $600 and $250,000 require claims to be made at a state lottery office. They are available in Cedar Rapids, Clive, Storm Lake and Mason City. Alternatively, prizes in this range can be claimed by mail with a claim form, W-9, and copy of a photo ID.
Prizes above $250,000 require a visit to the Iowa Lottery Headquarters in Clive. The Iowa Lottery encourages winners to schedule an appointment instead of showing up unannounced.
Earlier this year, Iowa shortened the claim deadline on Mega Millions and Powerball prizes from 365 days to 180.