January 2016 saw Powerball hysteria in the States, really worldwide. One of the two premier lottery draws in the US, the Powerball rose to an astronomical $1.5 billion by the January 2016 draw which saw three winning tickets hit all 5 numbers (4-8-19-27-34) and the Powerball, 10, to split the historic jackpot.
Following the record setting draw, two of the three winning ticket owners came forward to claim their prize and all the media that follows. But as of writing, one of the three winning tickets, sold out of a small town in the state of Florida, has yet to be claimed.
In order to have a record-setting ticket go unclaimed, you need a record-setting jackpot. The Powerball, prior to the January draw, didn't hold the top lottery jackpot of all time or even the second largest jackpot. The Powerball, prior to the $1.5 billion jackpot, had only reached a little under $600 million which was the third largest jackpot ever and was claimed in 2013.
Then, in October 2015, the Powerball rule changes went into effect which shifted the jackpot odds from around 1 in 175,000,000 to 1 in 290,000,000 - the rule change also did shift the smaller prize odds from around 1 in 32 down to 1 in 25. The big odds shift is what pushed the jackpot well over it's own record and on towards the top overall record.
The largest lottery jackpot ever claimed prior to January was a $656 million Mega Million jackpot claimed in 2012. Mega Millions also held the number two spot on the coveted list with a $648 million jackpot claimed a year later in 2013. The $1.5 billion jackpot almost tripled these previous records, a testament to rule change.
The jackpot was claimed by three lucky Americans. Confirmation of the winning ticket sales revealed the tickets were sold in the states Tennessee, California, and Florida. The California and Tennessee tickets have been claimed with the lone unclaimed ticket being sold out of the small town of Melbourne, Florida.
The three winners are set to split the $1.5 billion jackpot $528 million each. The winning ticket yet to be claimed has an expiration of 180 days. The Florida Lottery spokesman, Shelly Gerteisen, confirmed the winner who has yet to step forward has ample time to claim the prize but the form in which they receive the prize might be limited when it's finally claimed.
According to Gerteisen, the winner has 60 days from the draw, 13 January 2016, to claim if they want the lump some cash but following the 60 days, the winner can only accept the annual payments:
"The winner has to come forward within 60 days to get the cash. After that, you would default to an annuity. They also have a total of 180 days to claim the prize."
It's not uncommon for lotteries to struggle with tracking down the winning tickets. Some players forget to check the results of the draw while others lose their ticket or render it destroyed. Finding out if you won isn't all that hard and despite the stereotype, claiming your prize isn't all that difficult either.
The California SuperLotto Plus saw a $63 million jackpot go unclaimed, a sad sight for lottery enthusiats looking to take home a measly $500 let alone $63 million. The Florida Lottery understands a $1.5 billion jackpot tends to produce unusual circumstances so the fact that the winner hasn't stepped forward doesn't worry them:
"We’re kind of guessing along with everyone else. It is not unusual, however, for this amount of money, for the winner to get their affairs in order, or seek an attorney. It’s a life changing amount of money, so (the winner) just may be seeking legal counsel or maybe waiting for media interest to die down,” Gerteisen said.
Don't let borders hold you back from being the next record-setting winner, play the Powerball with TheLotter from anywhere in the world!
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