Unclaimed lottery prizes that go past strict deadline will be lost forever

National Lottery is currently on the hunt for a UK ticket holder to claim a whopping £7,440,150 prize money.

Organisers have narrowed down the area where the ticket was bought to the Midlands, and National Lottery is urging people in the area to check their tickets for June 18.

There are a number of unclaimed prizes on the National Lottery website, including several £1million Euromillions Millionaire Maker prizes.

If ticket holders don't claim their prizes within a certain period of time, they risk losing out on their winnings.

Players are urged to check their tickets now to not risk losing out – but what happens if a ticket goes unclaimed?

What happens to unclaimed National Lottery ticket prizes?

Players in the UK have around six months (180 days) of the draw date to claim their prize. The specific deadline, or last date to claim, is stated on the National Lottery website.

Once the period has passed the owner of the lottery ticket won't be able to claim any winnings.

If a lucky player down't come forward, the prize and any interest earned on it will go to benefit National Lottery Projects across the UK.

How often do lottery winnings go unclaimed?

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Most of the time winners do realise in time, but it does happen from time to time that tickets for huge prizes go unclaimed.

Some players leave it until the very last minute to claim the prize – sometimes because they have lost the ticket, or have just forgotten to check.

In July 2019, a player in Manchester waited just hours before the headline to claim their £1million prize.

Over the 2018/29 financial year, £125.1million was raised as a result of unclaimed lottery prizes. All unclaimed prizes were passed on to good causes.

During that year, £4.1billion was won by National Lottery participants.

A Camelot spokesperson told This is Money: "The vast majority of prizes that start as unclaimed do get claimed before the deadline, whether that be on the back of publicity activity we have undertaken to raise awareness of the prize or because a ticket-holder has claimed late for whatever reason (on holiday at the time of the draw and immediately after, busy lives, habitual checking etc)."

At the moment there are a total of 13 unclaimed prizes, so if you have played the lottery within the last six months, make sure you check.

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