Australian Lottery Winner Almost Misses Out on $26M Prize

Posted on: March 10, 2023, 07:03h. 

Last updated on: March 13, 2023, 05:08h.

A man in Western Australia had an AU$40 million (US$26.32 million) lottery ticket in his pocket for over a week before he realized it was a winner.

An Australian Lottery sign outside a retailer
An Australian Lottery sign outside a retailer. A $40M winner carried around a ticket in his pocket for a week without realizing he had won. (Image: South Western Times)

The man, identified only as a grandfather, purchased the ticket at a convenience store in Bennett Springs, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. The store owner told reporters that it had celebrated several AU$1-million (US$658,000) winners over the years, but nothing ever as big as this.

The new multimillionaire bought the ticket just an hour before last Saturday’s Powerball draw. He then apparently shoved the ticket in his pocket and forgot it.

He made another trip to the convenience store on Thursday and finally checked his ticket after hearing another person in the store discuss the recent lotto draw.

He says get doesn’t expect his newfound wealth to change his lifestyle significantly, however. In celebration of the windfall, he and his family dined on fish and chips. He does plan to take a trip to see the world, via business class, of course.

Not the Only One

The grandfather wasn’t the only big lottery winner in Australia recently. A couple in Victoria won AU$20 million (US$13.16 million) this past Tuesday in the Oz Lotto. On Thursday, a South Australian women won AU$4.6 million (US$3.02 million).

Lottery winners in Australia typically have 12 months to claim their prizes, although COVID-19 brought a 12-month extension to the window.

One winner, also from Western Australia, waited 22 months before coming forward.

Missed Chance

Each country has different rules outlining how long winners have to claim prizes. The limit is 180 days in the UK. In the US, winners typically have between three and 12 months, depending on the state.

These short windows sometimes mean big winners miss out.

In Georgia, someone won $77 million but never claimed the winnings. New York has had two big winners disappear. In 2002, a $68 million prize was left on the table, and in 2006, no one bothered coming forward to claim a $46 million lottery win. In both cases, the money went back to the prize pool.

In 2012, a British player won £64 million (US$76.46 million) but the prize wasn’t claimed within the six-month window. As a result, in accordance with the National Lottery charter, Camelot, the lottery operator at the time, donated the money to charitable organizations.