February 19, 2024 2 min read


$36M Jackpot Goes Unclaimed in Florida, Money to Be Returned

Somebody missed out on a life-changing Mega Millions prize

A $36 million Mega Millions jackpot has gone unclaimed after the winner never showed up. The winning ticket was sold months ago but no one turned up to collect it.

According to Florida Lottery officials, the winning ticket was sold at a grocery store in Jacksonville. The customer, according to the lottery, had matched all six winning numbers for the August 15 drawing, including the Mega Ball.

For reference, the winning combination was 18, 39, 42, 57 and 63, plus a Mega Ball of 7. The game consists of 70 white numbered balls and 25 Mega Balls, making it very difficult to match all six numbers. Despite doing just that, the lucky client never showed up to claim the jackpot.

Under the rules of the Florida Lottery, all winnings should be redeemed within 180 days. In this case, the period within which the prize had to be redeemed ended on February 11.

Unclaimed Money Are Donated or Returned to the Lottery

Under normal circumstances, 80% of the unredeemed lottery money in Florida goes to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund. The rest is returned to the lottery prize pool. However, since Mega Millions is an interstate game, the money will be split between the states where the Mega Millions game is available.

The money that will be sent back is $17.5 million since this is the actual cash value of the unclaimed jackpot. For reference, the customer could have claimed the $36 million instead if agreeing for the jackpot to be paid out in installments over a 30-year period.

In order to avoid unclaimed winnings, many lotteries across the US have introduced online safeguards, linking winnings to players’ accounts. However, retail tickets still carry certain risks, sometimes resulting in unclaimed prizes.

Speaking of jackpot games, Powerball and the DC Lottery are now facing a lawsuit over an alleged winning numbers error. This stems from a case where a Washington DC man was sure that he had won the Powerball prize but was later told that he didn’t hit the jackpot because of a mistake in the announced winning numbers.


Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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