Casino players are like fishermen. Almost every one has a hard luck story story to share. The one that got away. The big one that they just missed.

But sometimes, just occasionally, lady luck is on your side. And you pluck victory from the jaws of defeat. A story I heard about one lucky couple from Indiana who almost missed out on a $2.5 million lottery win is the perfect example.

Hoosier Lottery

The story plays out in 2010. It may seem odd to be writing about something that happened 9 years earlier but I heard about it during a recent trip to Indiana (it’s a beautiful place and I would strongly recommend a visit). As the events were recollected to me they made the palms of hands sweat! So I thought it was worth sharing.

I was picking up some groceries at a Meijer convenience store in Indianapolis when the local lottery caught my eye. I think it was the name “Hoosier” that grabbed my attention (this was early in my trip and I later spotted the word absolutely everywhere!). Anyway, I proceeded to buy a ticket and chatted to the cashier about the lottery and my poor memory, which prompted her to recall the subject of this post.

$2.5 Million Prize Unclaimed

It turns out that a prize of $2.5 million had been won by someone who had bought a lottery ticket in a Meijer store in August 2009 but hadn’t claimed it.

As the 6 month deadline for claims approached the lottery ramped up their search for the winners. The publicity prompted Lori White, an Indianapolis resident, to ask her husband, Eric, to check if he had any old tickets laying around his office.

He did exactly as she asked. But like all good husbands (I’m speaking from experience) he followed his wife’s instructions a little later than requested. And without him realising it, the 6 month deadline expired.

Big deal. What are they chances that he would have the winning ticket sitting among his piles of books? You can guess the answer, can’t you? He found a ticket for the draw on 19 August 2009 with the winning numbers 4-5-17-30-38-43. Calamity.

At this point things weren’t looking too good. However, we’re all human, right? And right about now the White’s enjoyed a second huge chunk of luck. The good folks over at the lottery had made a slight miscalculation. The 180 days hadn’t expired. They still had a couple of days to claim the prize.

Lori and Eric claimed their prize and opted for the cash option. Unlike the UK lottery, in the States lottery prizes are subject to various levels of taxation which left the couple with a net total of $697,000. They set aside cash for their children’s education and made a sizable donation to their church.

The news had a ripple effect and Meijer stores saw an flurry of people carrying old lottery tickets asking for them to be checked for any winnings.

At this point, I’m thinking that there might be a moral to the story. But I can’t find one. It’s just nice to hear of a couple enjoy up a massive slice of luck and defying the odds – twice!

Bigger Unclaimed Wins

A bit of research shows that the $2.5 million that the White’s almost missed would not have been anywhere near to the biggest unclaimed lottery prize amounts.

The Hoosier lottery has experienced an unclaimed prize of $5 million in 2004. But that’s chicken feed compared to the colossal $63 million prize that was left unclaimed from the California lottery in 2016. The case is still tangled up in some unresolved legal action but at present it remains the largest unclaimed lottery prize in US history.

Closer to home, the record for an unclaimed UK lottery prize is a whopping £63 million (approximately $90 million). The prize was the jackpot for a Euro Millions draw from 2016. The unclaimed sum was added to the National Lottery Good Causes fund.

So when you miss out on a slot win as a result of a dodgy Wild or an unlucky reel, remember the poor person who missed out a life-changing £63 million and count your lucky blessings!

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