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$14 Million Illinois Lottery Ticket Still Unclaimed

31 Jan 2005

ILLINOIS – (PRESS RELEASE) -- After weeks of trying to identify the person holding a $14 million grand prize winning Illinois Lottery ticket, the prize remains unclaimed and is set to expire tonight at midnight if no winner steps forward with the winning ticket. If the jackpot remains unclaimed, it will be the largest unclaimed prize in Illinois Lottery history. All Lottery players in the border states of Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, and Kentucky; as well as anyone that has traveled to Illinois and played the Lottery are urged to check for the winning ticket.

The winning Lotto numbers 14 - 23 - 24 - 36 - 37 - 50 were drawn on January 31, 2004 and the winning ticket was sold at Gas City #86 located at 855 Center Rd. in Frankfort, IL. According to Lottery rules, players have one year from the date of the drawing to claim their prize and must submit a claim form and the original winning ticket for verification before receiving their money.

"We have done everything we could to let our players know about this winning ticket," remarked Illinois Lottery Superintendent Carolyn Adams. "The response to these efforts has been tremendous with various local and national media outlets in more than 23 states covering the progression of this story. However, as of today, no one has come forward with a valid claim. We have no clue where this winner could be and I would hate to see one of our players lose out on such a huge jackpot."

Over the last year, and increasingly during the last month, the Lottery has been posting announcements on its Web site, sending informational flyers to the retailer that sold the winning ticket, issuing press releases, and conducting media interviews to talk about this jackpot as the expiration date has come down to the last day. If the prize does expire, the money will be added to the Lottery's contribution to the State Common School Fund. Last year, the Lottery contributed $570 million to this fund in support of K-12 education in Illinois.

"It has been amazing to hear some of the funny stories coming out of our claims office as people try to collect this prize," said Superintendent Adams. "For instance, we have received tons of calls from people listing all kinds of different situations where they claim to have bought the winning ticket and lost it. One person said it was blown away in the wind while leaving the store and another thinks they might have left the winning ticket in the pocket of a jacket they gave away. But until we receive that winning ticket for verification, the prize remains unclaimed."

Superintendent Adams also said that the Lottery is finding that a lot of people just aren't checking their tickets against the winning numbers, or are waiting until the last moment to do so.

"A lot of people have said they bought a ticket on the whim and just never checked the numbers. Others said they have hundreds of tickets sitting around the house that they never checked until now," added Superintendent Adams. "Hopefully situations like this will help to change this mentality. Could you imagine if someone finally decides to check their tickets tomorrow and finds out that they just lost $14 million?"

Having a Lottery jackpot this large remain unclaimed is rare, but not unheard-of. The largest unclaimed Illinois Lottery prize to date was a $6 million jackpot from September 9, 2000. The second largest was a $3 million unclaimed prize from November 11, 2000 and the third largest was a $2.5 million prize from May 5, 2003.

"We encourage all of our players to please be mindful of their ticket expiration dates," said Superintendent Adams. "Make sure to check your numbers regularly against the ones listed in your local newspaper or on our Web site. You can also watch live drawings at various times on WGN-TV, and if you have any questions about whether you have a winning ticket, you can call the Lottery Claims Office at 217-524-5150."

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