There's been a lot of lucky lottery winners in the QCA but what happens if you don't claim your lottery winnings in Illinois?

We've seen Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots creep up into the billions before and just last fall, it took a hot minute for a winner to come forward. But what happens to those jackpots that have a winning ticket but no one comes forward to claim them?


Having a winning lottery ticket (even if it was like $5) isn't something I would just not notice. And lately, several QCA folks have been really cashing in on their luck. But often people can buy a scratch-off or a Powerball ticket and just leave it in their car and forget that they got it, and who knows, it could be a winner.

Illinois's Collection Deadline

According to NBC Chicago, a lottery winner has a year after the drawing date to collect their winnings. If they are not found and don't come forward with their winning ticket, the unclaimed money goes to a specific spot.

Where The Unclaimed Cash Goes

Illinois lottery law words it this way:

All unclaimed prize money not included in the prize pool of a special drawing shall be transferred to the Common School Fund.

So basically, it goes to help out the state's public schools, which is what the Illinois Lottery is designed to support anyway.

Illinois's Common School Fund can help kids in orphanages get tuition for school, provide summer school grants, help teachers with retirement, and help public schools with basic costs like taxes.

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