Lottery forgotten amounts reach R$ 2.5 billion between 2015 and 2021
Photo: Loterias Caixa/Reprodução

About 2.5 billion have not been requested by players in Caixa’s lotteries since 2015. Just last year, R$ 586.8 million were ‘forgotten’. The biggest single lottery prize ever forgotten in history was a player who didn’t show up and failed to pocket BRL 162.2 million. The bet made in São Paulo to hit the six numbers of Mega da Virada in 2020.

The gambler, whose identity was kept secret, sought out the São Paulo Procon to complain about the case, however, he was unable to receive the jackpot. This is because the deadline to seek Caixa Econômica Federal is 90 days after the draw and only the winner can request the release of the amount.

Forgotten Lottery Amounts

According to information announced by Caixa, around BRL 2.5 billion were not delivered between 2015 and 2021. The prizes correspond to the values ​​​​of Mega-Sena, Dupla-Sena, Quina, Lotofácil, Lotomania and Loteca:

  • 2021 – BRL 586.8 million
  • 2020 – BRL 311.9 million
  • 2019 – BRL 331.9 million
  • 2018 – BRL 332.2 million
  • 2017 – BRL 326 million
  • 2016 – BRL 320.4 million
  • 2015 – BRL 301.3 million

Fate of ‘forgotten’ lottery prizes

Whenever the amounts are not requested, the amount is fully allocated to the Student Financing Fund (Fies), a federal government program that helps low-income students to enter higher education in private institutions, as determined by Law 13,756/18.

A player from Minas Gerais had hit the dozens of a draw that would earn him 8 million reais – the prize pool was shared with another winner, reaching R$ 16 million. What he didn’t expect was for his wife to throw the note in the trash.

In 2010, in Novo Hamburgo, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, 40 participants in a sweepstakes matched the numbers on a Mega-Sena ticket. The amount was accumulated in R$ 53 million. But the lottery house employee forgot to register the bet. The gamblers, who did not request the voucher, tried to file a lawsuit against Caixa and the lottery, but they were unable to receive it.

Unlucky cases around the world

It is not just in Brazil that this situation occurs. A $5.3 million winner didn’t realize he had a winning ticket and missed the moment to claim the amount. This case happened in 1995 with Clarence Jackson, an American gambler from Connecticut.

With his father facing a terminal illness and his mother diabetic, the man, then 25, didn’t bother to check the result. His sister heard on the radio that the winner hadn’t shown up and that the deadline would expire at midnight that day. When checking the old tickets, he discovered that he was the winner. However, as it was Sunday, he was unable to validate the document at the lottery headquarters.

Another case took place in New York, United States. Erick Onyago had purchased three tickets from the biggest American lottery in March 2013. On the day of the result conference, he entered the website and saw that he had not won, discarding the paper. Days later, he realized that he had looked at the numbers from the previous contest, which were not updated in time. He would be entitled to $1 million.

While in the United Kingdom, a couple lost the winning ticket estimated at more than 3 million euros, corresponding to around R$ 16 million, at the current price. In 2001, Martyn and Kate Tott watched on TV as the lottery was looking for the winner that had not turned up. Knowing the dozens they had played, the couple carried out a home scan, however, they did not find the winning ticket.