The numbers are remarkably consistent. Marylanders leave about $20 million a year on the table in unclaimed lottery winnings, according to records from the state Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.
While unclaimed Mega Millions and Powerball prizes get the headlines, the smaller games generate more of the forfeited cash.
The Baltimore Sun obtained statistics from the past three fiscal years of what the lottery agency calls "reversions" — money not claimed by the lottery deadline. The deadline is 182 days to claim prizes in such games as Mega Millions, Powerball, Pick 3 and Pick 4.
In the last three years (minus June 2016, which was not yet available), Marylanders failed to claim $62.6 million. The money goes into the Unclaimed Prize Fund, which is used to supplement players' prizes in Keno and other lottery games.
Of the unclaimed winnings, $26.1 million, or 42 percent, came from instant games, or "scratch-offs." Lottery officials say instant game winnings — as small as $1 — are more easily forgotten than big jackpots.
After instant games, the next highest figures for unclaimed winnings are for Pick 4 ($8.9 million), Powerball ($6.2 million), Pick 3 ($5.5 million) and Mega Millions ($4.7 million).
"Scratch-offs" also likely lead in unclaimed winnings because there are so many more winning tickets. In one popular instant game, The Price is Right, there are more than 508,000 $5 prizes. In another, Blingo Bingo, there are more than 157,000 $10 prizes.
More puzzling was the case last week of a $1 million Mega Millions ticket buyer who missed Friday's deadline to claim the prize. The ticket was purchased in January from a Royal Farms in Dundalk.
The owner of a $1 million Powerball ticket purchased in Bladensburg has until Wednesday afternoon to show up at lottery headquarters or — like the Dundalk player — forfeit the money.
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