Lottery And Quik Trip Officials Remind Players To Double-Check Their Tickets
DES MOINES, Iowa - A month has passed since a $16.5 million Hot Lotto jackpot was won in central Iowa, but the lucky ticket remains unclaimed and lottery players are being reminded to double-check their tickets.
"People really enjoy winning money from us," Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich said with a chuckle during a news conference Friday to call attention to the unclaimed prize. "It's unusual that we still haven't heard anything about this winner or group of winners and we want to remind people to check any tickets they may have."
Rich said that the jackpot-winning ticket has never been scanned at a lottery terminal in Iowa.
"Our big winners often wait a bit before claiming their prizes to make financial and legal arrangements for handling a life-changing amount of money," Rich said. "But I believe it is now possible this is someone who still doesn't know they won the big prize. Our computer system shows the ticket has never been checked at one of our terminals."
The jackpot-winning ticket was purchased at Quik Trip, 4801 N.E. 14th St. in Des Moines. The lucky ticket matched all six numbers selected in the Dec. 29 Hot Lotto drawing to win the grand prize. The winning numbers that night were: 3-12-16-26-33 and Hot Ball 11. Quik Trip received a $5,000 bonus for selling the jackpot-winning ticket.
Tom Gehrke, Quik Trip division manager, said Friday that the north-side location where the winning ticket was sold has enjoyed being a "lucky store" since news of the jackpot win. Store personnel and customers are growing more and more curious about the unclaimed prize, he said.
"People are wondering if the ticket is still in someone's wallet or out there right now clipped to the sun visor in someone's automobile," Gehrke said. "Our store has a lot of local customers, but it's also a popular stop for over-the-road interstate traffic. We hope that by spreading the word, we can help reach the big winner."
The $16.5 million jackpot is the third-largest prize ever offered in the game, and the seventh-largest Iowa Lottery prize won to date.
Rich said that the lottery does not release a ticket's date or time of sale for security reasons, but some other details can be provided. The jackpot-winning play was on a ticket that spanned five Hot Lotto drawings from Dec. 25 to Jan. 8, he said.
Hot Lotto tickets in Iowa expire a year from the date of the drawing in which a prize is won, so Rich emphasized there's still plenty of time for the jackpot to be claimed. It's just unusual that the lottery hasn't heard from anyone yet, he said.
"Someone legitimately has won this prize and we want to show them the money," Rich said. "And as a security reminder, we encourage whoever has this ticket to sign it right away if they haven't already done so. That way, it is identified as their ticket."
The jackpot can be claimed in annual, annuitized payments totaling $16.5 million over 25 years or as a one-time, lump-sum payment of nearly $10.8 million.
Iowa's six previous Hot Lotto jackpot winners are:
The Hot Lotto game began in April 2002, offering Powerball-style play but with easier odds. Hot Lotto players choose five numbers from a pool of 39 and another number, called the Hot Ball, from a pool of 19. The Hot Lotto jackpot starts at $1 million and grows until someone wins it. Tickets in the game cost $1. Hot Lotto drawings are held at about 9:40 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays, just before the Powerball drawings. Hot Lotto tickets are sold in Iowa, 13 other states and the District of Columbia.