Report finds $50M goes unclaimed in Wisconsin lottery winnings

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Wisconsinites and Minnesotans who've crossed the border to buy lotto tickets should probably start digging through their old piles of tickets for some hidden treasure.

The Post-Crescent in Appleton, Wis., reports that more than $50 million in lottery winnings have gone unclaimed in the state dating back to 1997.

The paper says as of the fiscal year that ended June 30, unclaimed winnings in the past year totaled $2.8 million.

The unclaimed winnings are from the state's lotto games only, not from instant scratch-off games.

The lotto games with the unclaimed prizes include Powerball, Mega Millions, Megabucks, Supercash, Badger 5, Pick 3 and Pick 4.

Only the people who've purchased those types of lotto tickets in about the past six months will have any luck claiming their winnings. After 180 days, the unclaimed money goes to the lottery's property tax relief fund.

By contrast, the Minnesota State Lottery says winning lotto tickets must be claimed within one year of their respective drawings.

Wisconsin State Lottery spokesman Andrew Bohage said part of the reason there is so much unclaimed cash is because lottery players don't realize that there are lesser cash prizes to be won on the lotto tickets.

If they don't hit the jackpot, players can win, depending on their numbers, $4, $7, $100, $10,000 or $1 million.

The Post-Crescent says only one $1 million ticket has gone unclaimed in Wisconsin lottery history, and small number of $10,000 tickets have not been turned in.

Most of the ticket that have gone unclaimed fall in the $4 to 100 range, the paper says.

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