LAW REGARDING PRIZE CLAIM PERIOD GOES INTO EFFECT
Starting July 1, Missouri Lottery players will have 180 days instead of one year to claim Lottery prizes, as a result of a law change during the past legislative session. The shorter claim period will allow the Lottery to finalize game reports more quickly.
"This shouldn’t be a major change for most players, since 95 percent of winning tickets are cashed within 30 days," said Gary Gonder, director of communications for the Missouri Lottery. "Only about 2 percent of prizes go unclaimed annually."
Gonder noted that the majority of United States lotteries use a 180-day or less claim period. Some lotteries offer an even shorter redemption window, such as a 90-day claim period.
To help players determine what date is exactly 180 days from a purchase date, the Lottery has added a date calculator on its Web site at http://www.molottery.com/app/aboutourgames/winningnumbers/180days.jsp. Players can also call any one of the Lottery’s four offices for assistance.
Scratchers games 416, "Fun & Fortune," and 419, "Super Lucky 7s," which officially go on sale on June 22, will be the first two games to have a redemption date of 180 days after the official game end date, which is based on the ticket’s sales levels. All Scratchers games from 419 on will have the 180-day redemption period printed on the back.
"Whatever is printed on the back of the ticket is what we will honor," Gonder said. "If the ticket states 180 days, then the player has that long from the game’s official ending date. If the ticket states one year, then that is how long the player will have."
Numbers Game ticket stock (paper), play slips and game information will be replaced with new language to reflect the law change during the next few months as they run out, rather than throwing away and reprinting the current inventory. All Numbers Game tickets for drawings on and after July 1, 2002, will have a 180-day redemption period with the exception of those tickets printed on old paper stock stating a one-year redemption period.
Pull-Tab games, sold in liquor-by-the-drink establishments, must be redeemed on the same day of purchase at the place of purchase, with the exception of $500 and $1,000 prizes, which had a one-year redemption time frame. Those prizes will also be subject to the new law of 180 days, unless stated otherwise on the ticket.
Players with winning Numbers Game tickets that state the old one-year redemption on back will have to mail their tickets and an accompanying claim form to the Missouri Lottery for redemption if it is past the 180-day period.
"Starting July 1, the Numbers Game terminals and Check-A-Ticket machines will read all redemption deadlines as 180 days," Gonder said. "They will read any ticket that is past 180 days as if it were ’not a winner,’ and a retailer will not be able to cash that
ticket. These tickets must be redeemed by sending the ticket and a claim form to the Missouri Lottery for manual validation."
Gonder said players who have questions should call the Missouri Lottery’s headquarters at (573) 751-4050.
"Most players will never have to worry about determining the date, because they cash their tickets promptly," Gonder said.