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Can Scratch Cards Go Out of Date?

Yes. Scratch cards don’t go off like a pint of milk sat in the hot sun. With that said, most scratch cards purchased have an expiry date on them. This is to limit the number of times players have to claim a prize. So how long do you have to redeem a scratch card prize? It all depends on the particular scratch card game that you’ve purchased.

Typically, you’ll have about 5 – 6 months to claim any of your wins on the cards that you’ve purchased. The National Lottery site advises, “Prizes must be claimed before the end of the 180th day after the closing date of the relevant game.


How Old Can a Lottery Ticket Be to Turn in to Win?

All good things do come to an end, so they say, and that also includes winning lottery tickets. The state agencies that are regulating lotteries and other forms of gambling set expiration dates on when the ticket can be redeemed. Keep your ticket safe, and whatever you do, try to turn it in on time.

The Fate of The Unclaimed

If you purchase a lottery ticket, make sure to sign it immediately and keep it safe. If the game ticket is lost or stolen without any signature, then anyone who finds it can turn it in. Should the prize goes unclaimed, then state law will set down the next step.

Either the lottery agency will return the money to the cash pool for another scratch card game or turn the cash over to the state’s attorney general. A multi-state lottery will then return the money to every state lottery agency in proportion to their ticket sales.

Why Scratch Cards Expire?

Strange as it might seem, a healthy number of winning lottery tickets do expire. According to a CNN report, $800 million in lottery cash never found its owner in 2011, out of close to $40 billion in total prize money. A common reason is that most lottery players don’t realize that they’re holding “secondary” winners, which matched some of the numbers. Another reason might be that the news of a jackpot winner in another state disheartens people from even checking their game tickets for the smaller prize.


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