Categories
BLOG

mass lottery scratch tickets expire

How Old Can a Lottery Ticket Be to Turn in to Win?

How Do Multiple Winners Claim a Lottery Ticket?

All good things must come to an end, so they say, and that includes winning lottery tickets. The state agencies that regulate lotteries and other forms of gambling will set expiration dates on when the ticket can be redeemed. Keep the ticket safe, and whatever you do, turn it in on time.

Lottery Winnings

If you win a smaller amount in a lottery drawing, you can claim your prize at the store or outlet where you bought the ticket. If the winnings are more than $600, in most cases you must redeem the ticket through the state lottery agency. Most convenience stores do not carry a large amount of cash, and any win over $600 needs to be documented on a Form W-2G for federal tax purposes. There’s also a deadline involved, set by state law.

Expiration Dates

Lottery tickets expire, and state law sets the time frame. This can range from 90 days to a year. Some lottery tickets will carry this information in the fine print on the back. Others don’t, but you can always access this information through the lottery agency website. In Minnesota, for example, the expiration date is one year from the date of the drawing. For scratch-off tickets, the deadline is one year from the official end of the game. Minnesota’s lottery website posts a list of the current lottery games and the number of unclaimed prizes in each.

The Fate of the Unclaimed

If you buy a lottery ticket, sign it immediately and keep it safe. If the ticket is lost or stolen without a signature, then anyone who finds it can turn it in. If a prize goes unclaimed, then state law sets down the next step. Either the lottery agency returns the money to the cash pool for another game, or turns the money over to the attorney general of the state. A multi-state lottery will return the money to each state lottery agency in proportion to their ticket sales.

Why Expire?

Strange as it may seem, a healthy number of winning lottery tickets do expire. According to a CNN report, $800 million in lottery money never found its legitimate owner in 2011, out of nearly $40 billion in total prize money. A common reason is that many lottery players don’t realize they’re holding “secondary” winners, which matched some, not all, of the numbers. Another reason may be that the news of a jackpot winner in another state discourages people from even checking their tickets for the smaller prize. Unclaimed jackpots, understandably, are rarer.

More Articles

Are Gains from Arbitrage Betting Considered Taxable Income? →

All good things must come to an end, so they say, and that includes winning lottery tickets. The state agencies that regulate lotteries and other forms of gambling will set expiration dates on when the ticket can be redeemed. Keep the ticket safe, and whatever you do, turn it in on time.

Massachusetts Lottery

You can use this Massachusetts Lottery page to find the latest information for lottery games held in the Bay State.

Current MA lottery games include: Massachusetts Megabucks – Lucky for Life – Mass Cash – Numbers Evening – Numbers Midday – Powerball and MegaMillions.

– Latest Massachusetts Numbers

Massachusetts Lottery Draw Schedule

How late can you buy lottery tickets in MA? Find out in the table below, you can also find out the drawing times so you know when to check if you’re a winner!

Game Draw Days Draw Times* Ticket Sales Close At*
Powerball Wednesday & Saturday 10:59 PM 9:50 PM
Mega Millions Tuesday & Friday 11:00 PM 10:45 PM
Lucky for Life Monday & Thursday 10:38 PM 9:30 PM
Mass Cash Daily 10:00 PM 9:45 PM
Megabucks Doubler Wednesday & Saturday 11:20 PM 10:45 PM
The Numbers Game Daily 12:55 PM & 7:57 PM 12:45 PM & 7:45 PM
*Times are shown in ET. Lottery tickets are not on sale before 5:00 AM.

Megabucks Doubler

Megabucks Doubler is a 6/49 game that gives players a chance to win impressive jackpot prizes. Drawings take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and all you have to do is purchase a ticket for $1 per play and select six numbers from 1 to 49. Match all six numbers drawn and you’ll win the jackpot prize!

Numbers Matched Megabucks Prize Megabucks Doubler Prize Odds of Winning
Match 6 Jackpot Jackpot 1 in 13,983,816
Match 5 $2,500 $5,000 1 in 54,200
Match 4 $100 $200 1 in 1,032
Match 3 $2 $4 1 in 56
Overall odds are 1 in 54

Other Games

Other great Massachusetts Lottery draw games include Mass Cash, a Match 5 game which has a set jackpot of $100,000, and Numbers, a quick game that offers drawings twice a day.

Instant win games can be purchased at most major retailers and offer players the chance to experience the thrill of victory as soon as they scratch off the ticket cover. Games cost as little as $1 per play and the prizes available can rival those of some draw games. Why not pop into a store today and try one?

History of the Massachusetts Lottery

The Massachusetts Lottery sold its first ticket on April 6th, 1972, with seven people winning $50,000 each in “the Game” drawing.

The popular Mass Cash game was introduced in 1991 and the state joined Powerball in 1996. Massachusetts then joined Mega Millions in 2010 and launched the regional Lucky for Life game in 2012. The state introduced a keno game in 2013 that offers players the chance to pick up prizes every four minutes seven days a week!

Buying Tickets

Even if you don’t live in Massachusetts or the United States, you can still participate in lottery games such as Mega Millions and Powerball. Visit the Buy Tickets page for more information.

Claiming Your Prize

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, there have been some changes in the way you claim prizes in Massachusetts. You can find updates on our dedicated Coronavirus Lottery Updates page.

Winners may redeem prizes of $50,000 and below by mail – scroll down for details. Prizes worth $600 or less can also be redeemed at authorized retailers throughout Massachusetts, while any payout worth between $601 and $49,999 can be claimed at the regional offices in Boston, Braintree, New Bedford, West Springfield, Woburn or Worcester.

If you’re really lucky and win $50,000 or more, you’ll need to visit the offices in Braintree to make your claim.

You’ll have one year after the date of the drawing to come forward and pick up your winnings before the prize expires.

Massachusetts taxes of five percent are withheld on all prizes worth more than $600. If you win more than $5,000, both state taxes and a federal tax of 25 percent will be applicable to your prize.

Claim a prize by mail

If you’ve won $50,000 or less, you can mail your claim to the Lottery. Fill out a winner claim form and send it along with the original signed ticket.

In addition to the ticket and claim form, for prizes over $600 you’ll also need a copy of a government-issued photo ID and a copy of a document verifying your Social Security Number.

Massachusetts State Lottery
P.O. Box 859036
Braintree, MA 02185-9036

Rules

You must be at least 18 years old to play Massachusetts Lottery games.

Details on the Massachusetts Lottery games including draw days and times, game rules and how to claim prizes